First though, I gotta say, I tried the new 'Dr. Pepper - Red Fusion' today, and I am completely unimpressed. It tasted like something else, but couldn't really put my finger on it...but it wasn't good. Not a good aftertaste, either. My opinion: give it a miss.
Having not even heard of this movie until a week ago, I had no preconceived notions, which helped, actually. For those who don't know, bnasic premise is that a construction crew in London accidently woke up a hibernating dragon 30 years ago (1990), and the world is now pretty much at their mercy (2020). Mankind has been seriously hindered, and may be on the edge of dying out. A community in Northumberland (England) has holed up in an old castle/catacombs, headed up by the son of one of the original construction crewmembers (and the very first to see the dragon). Enter a former American soldier named Van Zan, with his roving band of men, who ask for a day's shelter on thier journey to London to kill the main dragon. The rest of the story left to you to see.
The first half of this flick kinda drags, but it turns out to be a good thing. First off, it makes the second half have a lot more 'punch' to it, in comparison, instead of making you feel like 'oh, and here's the climactic battle' in a jaded sort of way; it makes you sit back up and enjoy it. Beyond that, it allows the characters to really establish themselves and the story to round itself out.
I have to give props to the writers, for a lot of little things which made the flick that much more enjoyable. For instance, the 30-year history isn't playued out in scenes of dragons swooping in on major landmarks and torching them all to Hell, but rather in shots of newspaper and magazine articles, which is how you would really know about it anyway...made it more 'real'. Also, there wasn't a single pithy bon mot in the whole damn film. No heroic line just before striking...so sudden revelation said as the music stops and all gets quiet...no heads suddenly looking up and reacting to the as-yet-unseen terror. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy a movie without walking out quoting the same line everyone else will be. Hell, the DEATHS weren't even milked for screentime...something that died just fucking DIED.
As for the dragons themselves, you see very little of them until later in the film, which, as I said, makes it that much more enjoyable. And they ARE worth seeing: elegantly and 'realistically' CGI'ed, beautifully lit and painted (I'm a computer artist, I notice these things), and nicely done flames. Near the end, when this aforementioned dragon shows up, well, the film is all his. He makes the entire film worthwhile...and you are talking close, easily seen shots, not just swooping fly-bys. He looks like he is there, and that takes work. Props to "The Secret Lab" for their computer work.
All in all, a lot of fun to go watch, and worth the big screen.
Only downside to the day is that, while watching the movie, my whole arm tingled, them when numb, and then felt like it was being pierced by flaming swords...took 20 fucking minutes for it to quit...not groovy. I swear, if I wasn't right-handed, I'd have this damn thing surgically removed...