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It’s been just over twenty years since the first Dragonheart hit theaters, a surprise hit that featured a talking dragon (voiced by Sean Connery) bonded to an evil king with whom he shares a heart and an English knight (Dennis Quaid) who befriends him. A cult classic, that dragon, named Draco, has become one of the most beloved in cinema, a CGI creation from ILM that is considered one of the best ever rendered.
Naturally, there have been sequels, though surprisingly, far and few between and always direct to video – and you might need to take a breath – with the first in 2000, called Dragonheart: A New Beginning being a sequel to the original, and another in 2015 titled Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse, serving as a prequel to the first but not the second and now the fourth, Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire, which is a sequel to the prequel of the first. The real surprise is that there haven’t been more.
This one follows a dragon named Drago (voiced by Patrick Stewart) who is bonded by heartline to the ailing, childless king in a time when one dies both pass. Fearing no successor, the king’s men scramble for position but when the monarch gives up the ghost, Drago, who accepts his fate, doesn’t go along, realizing the man must have had children in secret. We already know of twins born twenty years ago, a boy and girl with the mark of the dragon hidden away at birth who now must be found. Drago does so and soon finds Edric (Tom Rhys Harries) first, a young man with incredible strength who is taken back and made king, only to find his long lost sister Meghan (Jessamine-Bliss Bell) on the battlefield, she of a rival clan of Vikings. To save the kingdom, Drago must forge a bond between them all in locating the Heartstone, the source of his power now stolen by a common enemy looking for absolute power.
Directed by Patrik Syversen, Dragonheart: Battle for Heartfire is a perfectly ordinary and therefore pleasant enough children’s fantasy with young handsome and beautiful protagonists and lots of breezy conflicts and action. The story taps into the current trend in entertainment that seems obsessed with super powers, basically making the young leads ancient superheroes with feats of great strength that certainly could inspire some imaginations (He has the power of many men and she can conjure fire with her hands). Nothing is taken all too seriously and the rivalry between the two is pretty standard stuff even if it is handled pretty well.
The relationships in the movie are actually fairly strong and the dynamic between Edric and Meghan are well payed with two good performances, even if the story has a lot absurdity and cartoonish action. There’s plenty of good dragon CGI and Stewart is also quite memorable upholding the tradition of mostly elder English actors in the dragon role (Connery originated, followed by Ben Kingsley with Robbie Benson filling in for the 2015 film).
Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire does what it intends and offers a safe, predictable children’s movie with some light emotional moments and a decent story. While it feels a little unnecessary there always something special about a dragon movie and while this one misses a bit of the wonder of the first, it’s good to see the name continuing on.
Movie description: Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire is a 2017 fantasy film about a dragon who must unite a kingdom with the help a long lost twins who share a unique bond.
Director(s): Patrik Syversen
Actor(s): Patrick Stewart, Tom Rhys Harries, Jessamine-Bliss Bell