Friday, February 18, 2011

really bad movies --Dragon Wars

As a part of my on-going program to inflict my loyal readers with all of my Netflix experiences, I present a review of Dragon Wars. This is the kind of movie that I would normally love. I mean, it's got ancient prophesies, dragons, battles between mythological creatures and modern US military forces, a reincarnated hero, and a babe. What's not to love about this movie? Well, before I tell you that, let me add that the realistic animated scenes are terrific.

There are huge masterfully-done battle scenes between tanks and and giant Horned-toad-like creatures with ancient Korean rockets strapped to their backs. There are flying dragonets battling in the air with helicopters. There is a scene stolen from King Kong with a serpent-like dragon chasing a pair of people up a sky scraper instead of a giant ape carrying a girl up a sky scraper. Then the dragon goes tearing through the city ripping up the streets and bashing the cars to the side. The realistic 3D is absolutely amazing; it's A-movie special effects in a B movie.

So what makes it a B movie? The first hint is the scene stolen from King Kong. Half of the movie seems to have been stolen from other movies. Time and again as I watched it, I thought, "Oh, that scene was stolen from X" or "Oh, that plot element was stolen from Y".

Still, the derivative screenplay wouldn't necessarily make it a bad movie if it not for the terrible, unendurable, worse-than-Chuck-Norris-in-his-first-few-movies bad acting. And it was not just the hero, but almost all of the American actors who just stunk up the screen whenever we weren't watching those titanic special-effects scenes. Oddly enough, the first twenty minutes or so of the movie takes place in ancient Korea and the Korean actors seemed to be pretty good (it's a little harder to judge since it was in Korean with subtitles) but the American actors were awful.

Yet in all fairness to the American actors --the dialog that they had to work with was pound-your-head-against the wall horrible. No one could have done anything non-humiliating with that dialog. It was beyond bad; it was ... well ... really, really bad. Words have failed me.

My advice on this movie: if you are a fan of realistic 3D animation involving mythological creatures getting shot up by modern auto cannons, and you have great tolerance for really, really bad movies, it is worth your time. If you are a fan of realistic 3D and don't have the requisite tolerance then Netflix has a way to skip forward; just watch the battle scenes. If you aren't any particular fan of 3D animations then I recommend that you watch something else.

UPDATE: Oh! Oh! I forgot! The most annoying thing about the movie? The "hero" does absolutely nothing effective through the whole film. Everything he tries to do fails and someone always has to rescue him. This pattern hold all the way through to the climax where the hero tries something to defeat the evil dragon, fails, and is then rescued one more time. The hero accomplishes nothing. No victory over his external enemies, no victory over internal struggles, no victories, no growth, no accomplishment.

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