Directed by Nick Lyon
SciFi Channel is worse than the monsters in the films it continues to pump out at a hypersonic rate. At least in their films, the monster dies at the end after killing off most of the cast. In reality, SciFi Channel cannot be stopped, and no matter how many of their films are taken down, the network remains strong and continues to send its armies against the good people of the world. Whenever the people are in danger, there will always be heroes who rise to the challenge to fight the monsters. Once again, the Dragon Slayers have mobilized to take on a creature sewing destruction upon the lands. In this case, that monster is Grendel, based on the epic poem Beowulf. Based on may be too kind of a word. Grendel shares some of the same character names as Beowulf, and some of the same plot. The details change, a lot. To the point that one wonders if they read the original poem, or even the Cliff Notes. Heck, had they watched the Star Trek Voyager episode about Beowulf they would have been more accurate. Instead, we have some sort of super-crossbow that fires explosive rockets.
A few brief notes on the literary wonder that is Beowulf. With events taking place in the late 5th through early 6th centuries A.D. Beowulf gives a glimpse into a period rich with battles, heroes and epic lore. One of the few surviving epics in Old English it is often referred to as, "The Oldest English Epic". Beloved by scholars it inspired Tolkien (who was an authority on the text) and many another author. It has, surprisingly seen little attention on film, the Christopher Lambert film of the name was a futuristic SciFi piece with little relation to the epic. 2005’s Beowulf & Grendel reworked the source material to tell a moralistic tale with Grendel as a misunderstood primitive. It received mixed reviews (Iain says, "I liked it for the most part"). A motion capture adaptation is to be released in 2007, this appears to be attempting to stick within the vein of epic.
TarsTarkas.NET and FantasyFilmscapes.com are doing another tag-team review. As usual, the opening segment is collaborative, after that, we will be alternating every 15 minutes of film between Tars Tarkas from here and Iain Norman from FantasyFilmscapes.com. Once you have gone through this version of the review, be sure to drop by FantasyFilmscapes.com’s version, with different pictures, different formatting, and plenty of other content on that site as well. Now let’s begin:
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 4, 2007 at 2:06 am
Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly Tags: Alexis Peters, Ben Cross, CGI trainwreck, Chris Bruno, Chuck Hittinger, giant snake movie, Grendel, Jack Minor, Marina Sirtis, Nick Lyon, SciFi Channel, Slaying the Dragon
Welcome to the second run of the team-up between TarsTarkas.NET and FantasyFilmscapes.com known as The Dragon Slayers. Today, we will be taking on the 2006 SciFi Channel original movie Dragon Dynasty, because we can. The original team-up was Dragon. Also, before we begin, check out this cool graphic whipped up to celebrate the event:
As usual, the beginning section is co-written between Tars Tarkas and Iain Norman, and then the movie is divided into 15 minute chunks, alternating between each other, where our contributions are color coded. Iain’s version on his site is located here
Dragon Dynasty is one of the more recent SciFi Channel Original movies to air. Like many of their other films this ones features some big CGI monsters and a basic chase and hunt monster scenario – in this case the settings range from China to Italy in the late 13th century A.D. Usually SciFi puts about $1 million USD each into their ‘originals’ and uses Bulgaria for locations because it costs next to nothing to produce a film there. While not sure of the exact nature of the Bulgarian tax setup it is probably made quite affordable for foreign products to use the country in their shoots by way of tax credits in return for employing local actors and related industries. They usually drag over a few actors who are looking to make house payments and sleepwalk through their roles, but the supplemental local actors have been known to do bang up jobs.
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 8, 2007 at 10:30 pm
Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly Tags: Aaron Hendry, CGI trainwreck, Dion Basco, dragons, Federico Castelluccio, James Hong, Matt Codd, Peter Kwong, SciFi Channel, Slaying the Dragon, Stana Katic, very accurate history, wizards and witches playing with wands
Amelia Jackson-Gray as Princess Alora Vanir
Eliza Swenson as Freja
Matthew Wolf as Sir Cador Bain
Jon-Paul Gates as Lord Artemir
Rachel Haines as Naga
Jessica Bork as Damara
Jeff Denton as Gareth Morholt
Jason DeParis as Sogomo
Directed by Leigh Scott
The Asylum is a movie production company that was known for low budget horror films, some of which were surprisingly good quality. All of that changed in the past two years or so, as Asylum slowly started producing “mockbusters”, which are movies that are amazingly similar to popular movies, even so far as having similar titles. Examples include Halloween Night, Da Vinci Treasure, When a Killer Calls, H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, and the immortal Snakes on a Train. They’ve struck again, and as the movie Eragon premiered at the box office, the DVD shelves of your local video store filled up with Dragon. Dragon seems like it would be a natural lock of just having Eragon‘s plot (which is just Star Wars, which is just Hidden Fortress, which is just 9000 other stories throughout history) but instead they mainly target Lord of the Rings for the beginning and end, and the middle reminds one of Dungeons & Dragons 2: Wrath of the Dragon God. Overall, the film not only misses its mark, but its mark doesn’t even seem to exist. Instead, we get fantasy name soup, dirty guys wandering around the forest, “Dark Elves”, and Playstation dragons.
To help slay Dragon, TarsTarkas.NET and FantasyFilmscapes.com are teaming up. It’s not an easy task, with many pitfalls, traps, and beasts of yore along the way. Okay, not really beasts so much as bad actors and shameful special effects. That’s something even a +2 Mace can’t help you with, even if you use it to smash the DVD into a million pieces, your brain is still traumatized and the repercussions will haunt you for the rest of your days. The introduction is co-written between Tars Tarkas and Iain Norman, and after that we’ll be alternating every 15 minutes, because too much exposure can cause headaches, vomiting, and even blindness. Once the darkness returns to take us, the reigns get passed on and a recovery period can begin. In the end, this Dragon will be dead, never to harm us villagers again. Join knights in armor Tars Tarkas and Iain Norman on our quest! Slay today.
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 15, 2007 at 8:59 pm
Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly Tags: Amelia Jackson-Gray, Asylum, CGI trainwreck, dragons, Eliza Swenson, Jeff Denton, Jessica Bork, Jon-Paul Gates, Leigh Scott, Matthew Wolf, mockbuster, Rachel Haines, Slaying the Dragon, wizards and witches playing with wands