Dragon Rider is a spirited globe-trekking adventure. Unfortunately, though, it’s lacking that special touch.
Dragon Rider Synopsis
Based on Cornelia Funke’s novel of the same name, Dragon Rider tells the story of Firedrake, a young silver dragon determined to find the Rim of Heaven, a legendary sanctuary for dragons. He is accompanied in his adventures by Sorrel, a forest brownie and his best friend. Soon, he is also joined by Ben, a young street thief who manages to fool Firedrake into believing he is a dragon rider. Together, the motley gang evades various threats and the pursuit of Nettlebrand, a man-made dragon eater. Ben himself soon comes to terms with his past too, while Firedrake discovers his true purpose in life.
I’ll begin by addressing the question that’s probably on the minds of some movie-goers. Is this German animated fantasy film a clone of How to Train Your Dragon?
The straightforward answer is: not at all! However similar the official poster might look and feel, this is a wholly different story, one set in a strange modern world too. The dragons themselves are also markedly different from Toothless and family.
Not to mention, the producers went all out to denote the differences. The “How to Tame Your Dragon” parody/homage was one of the funniest segments of the show.
That done with, let me move on to the movie proper. As a whole, I found this a colourful, dazzling journey, the high points of which are the exotic landscapes and the appearances of various mythical creatures. Creatures that include a hysterical basilisk and a panicky Homunculus.
Captain Picard himself i.e. Sir Patrick Stewart also seduces with his majestic voice. And again shows how effortless it is for him to switch between threatening and comical.
On the downside, the actual journey trends toward the mundane. Not that action was missing, but the whole road trip just lacks the sort of interpersonal magic, or flair, that makes such adventures memorable. Dialogues are stale. There aren’t any poignant moments between Firedrake and Ben too, or between these two dudes and Sorrel.
Apart from Nettlebrand, there wasn’t any other threat too. Now, I know having otherwise might complicate the story, or make it too grim for younger audiences. Still, it would have been wonderful had the human element been more thoroughly explored.
As in, just how big a threat are humans to fantasy creatures? Is Nettlebrand, in turn, a physical manifestation of human greed?
Had that been done, IMO, this would have been a 5-star winner. Possibly one of the best animation features for this season too.
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