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Movie Review

Dragonheart

Reviewed by: Dawn Cole
STAFF WRITER

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
8 and older
Genre:
Drama
Year of Release:
1996

This special effects Medieval adventure is set in the 10th century. Dennis Quaid stars as Bowen, a chivalrous knight whose heart is set on living according to the “Code” set by King Arthur. He is training King Einon to be such a knight as he. King Einon is mortally wounded and then taken to a dragon for healing. The dragon gives King Einon a part of his heart, after Einon swears to become a good ruler. Needless to say Einon goes back on his word and is as ruthless as ever. Bowen is disheartened and feels embittered toward the dragon that saved Einon’s life. The Knight becomes a dragon slayer to hopefully get his revenge on the dragon that saved Einon’s life, however, Bowen is not paid for his dragon slaying as previously agreed by King Einon’s men.

The very last dragon is found by Bowen, and after a mighty struggle the two become pals. They team up and deceive the kings men and peasants in the area by staging the dragon’s death over and over for a bag of gold, paid in advance. (Hmmmm what happened to that code of honor??) Bowen names the dragon Draco (who has the voice and mannerisms of Sean Connery). Bowen and Draco tire of seeing the peasants assaulted by the powerful and wicked King Einon. They talk the peasants into a revolt against the king, and Bowen trains them in the skills of combat. The battle scenes are long and bloody. As the king is shot in the heart, the dragon falls out in the sky, showing that the two are entwined by sharing a heart. The dragon is captured, and Bowen realizes that to rid himself of the evil king, he must also destroy his beloved friend the dragon.

Several bloody battle scenes are shown with the peasants yielding axes, arrows, and swords, doing the kings knights in. One particularly offensive scene shows the priest quoting the 10 Commandments' “Thou shalt not kill,” as he releases an arrow intending to kill King Einon. In another violent scene a beautiful maiden is almost raped. To top it off the king kills his own mother by stabbing her to death in the shadows. God’s name is used in vain a few times.

This film was given a relatively high Moviemaking Quality rating due to the Academy Award-winning visual effects team (headed by Scott Squires, Industrial Light and Magic) that made Draco seem very believably alive. This is the same team of specialists that made the dinosaurs in “Jurrasic Park” come to life.

I gave “Dragonheart” a low Christian Rating, however, mostly because of the violence described above. The priest’s character seemed to be somewhat of a mockery of Christianity; he was portrayed as a silly poet that really didn’t have much use, except for an ability to shoot arrows as straight as Robin Hood. The language was offensive—using God’s name in vain. The whole plot had a non-Christian-like attitude that promoted the use of violence to resolve conflict.

Viewer Comments
In regards to the priest, Gilbert, quoting the Ten Commandments, I always took it to be showing his dilemma, being a priest and a Christian. Forced into a similar situation, what would most of us do? In the beginning of the battle, he does not want to kill anyone, and is confused until he realizes that he can shoot and be an aid withoutkilling. He is probably the only character in the whole battle that doesn’t kill anyone, though he is obviously capable, until Einon. Interspersed between the words of the commandment are scenes of the other characters in the battle, killing. They are shown at a distance, detached, like if he was withdrawn into himself, debating. Until, sick at heart, he sees it as the only way to end the killing. “Thou shalt not kill” isn’t him talking to Einon and exacting revenge, it’s a Christian remembering his values, and in an odd way, asking forgiveness for what he is about to do, though it is necessary. In a battle it is a lose-lose situation.
—Alison Purnell
Dragonheart is a great movie, and highly entertaining. Never before in a film has there been a plausible fight between a knight and a dragon. Be sure to watch this film in its original widescreen format…
—Rick, age 22
The person is upset about the priest in the tree mentioning the the Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” The only problem is there is no commandment stating that. Maybe in the NIV, but the original Hebrew says “Thou Shalt Not Murder.” Big difference. The king murdered his mother. The priest was in war trying to kill an enemy. If God wouldn’t let people “kill” then how could justice be served? Remember other verses like “Suffer not a witch to live”? How could that be upheld if we couldn’t “kill.”
—Dave Clark
To me Dragonheart was a movie talking maybe about the relationship between us and God. Let us recall of how the dragon “Draco” gave his heart to the dying prince hoping that his heart would turn the prince to a good ruler. It may look like, as when Jesus Christ came down to Earth with His father’s commands to atone for our sins.

Wasn’t God like Draco giving half of their hearts to us and I sense that maybe just like the prince we are answering to this graceful act by God to us with evil. Take for instance, not praying to Him daily or not giving Him the attention that He deserves as He is the ruler of our lives. Are we now still willing to recognize that all our time and effort is focused upon Him? Or are we living lives that are so comfortable that we just recognize that our commitment is just daily attending church and that’s all.

I think we must learn to not be like the prince who only thinks about himself and not the people or the dragon that gave him half his heart just to save an unworthy person like the prince. But we must stand firm and love the God who saved us not because we deserve it but He knowsthat we need it. Let’s stop thinking of our name but more of His that we will have to portray in our own lives . Let our lives be unto God a glorification.
—Chua Hui Kim, Singapore