Starring: Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Albert Salmi, Sydney Bromley, Chloe Salaman, Emrys James, Ian McDiarmid
Director: Matthew Robbins
MPAA Rating : PG (Best Guess: Intense fantasy action, some suggested nudity).
Plot: In this thrilling fantasy adventure, a sorcerer’s apprentice named Galen (voiced by Peter MacNicol) faces his biggest battle yet: A fire-breathing dragon wreaking havoc in the village and destroying everything in its wake. Does Galen have what it takes to save the citizens of the land? Or is he still a novice, unable to unleash the magic and wizardry the job requires? Matthew Robbins directs and co-writes. (Text from the description at netflix.com. Used without permission).
Notes: An interesting entry into the fantasy genre, though it is eclipsed by later movies that feature dragons, notably Dragonheart. The visual effects, relying mainly on composite shots, are not bad, given the film was produced in 1980-81. (It released in 1981).
Though the film is strong on many points, not the least of which is a positive portrayal of a crossdressing woman (she crossdresses to avoid a lottery and thus avoids getting fed to the dragon), it fails on many points.
One of these is the strong message, clearly illustrated at the end of the film that the lower classes do all the work, while those of the blood royal take all the credit. In short, Dragonslayeris a film about class struggle. By showing such, it reinforces the idea that the rich deserves the credit, while the working man deserves only what falls from his table.
It also showcases the struggle between the Old World (magic, and mystical creatures) embodied in the dragon itself and the arising power of Christianity.
In short, the film is an evangelicals wet dream, since it portrays the apprentice sorcerer, (MacNicol) as somewhat bumbling and not at all heroic, while the various priests and royalty are portrayed as having all the answers.
This movie was great when I was a kid. Now that I can recognize the message behind the movie, I say see it if you are a fantasy buff, but otherwise, skip it.
My Rating: Se it, but only if you like fantasy.Two Goons out of Five.