Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer 2010
PG | 1h 33min | Adventure, Comedy, Family | 16 April 2010 (USA)
Branded as a ‘nerd’ and harassed by the school bully, 12-year-old Arthur is rescued by a magical alchemist/troll but is soon able to return the favor. Arthur’s loving mom, who struggles to keep her devious ex-husband from gaining custody of Arthur, dismisses her son’s ‘fantasies’ until she realizes their all-too-real immediate danger and joins forces with Arthur, the troll, the Knights of the Square Table (Arthur’s pals Natalie and Tim), and a dashing but washed up video-game master named Shane. Together, they hope to conquer an unleashed dragon and the wicked vice-principal who threaten civilization.
I think there are two target audiences for this movie: kids, and anyone who’s a bit of a fantasy geek. This movie succeeds in catering to those two groups, and quite well, in my opinion.
The acting in the movie is pretty good. It’s not quite at the level of some children actors I saw growing up–the Sandlot for instance–but it’s better than quite a few of the kids’ shows I’ve seen on television. The plot is basic enough: kid is bullied for being a geek, kid finds out that ‘fantasy’ stuff is real, kid goes on adventure to beat the evil bad guys. It’s also well-executed, and there are a few really good lines in the movie that had me chuckling.
On the down side… The troll in the movie sounds like someone trying (and just barely failing) to do an impersonation of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and that bothered me–but only a little. And the CG in the movie is… Well, it’s not horrible. On its own, it’s pretty good, especially for such a low-budget film. The “low-budget” part is obvious once you realize that the cg animations have to interact with real backgrounds/places/people, and then it’s just… Not as appealing. Not a big issue though, really.
Here’s the bottom line: If you’re a childless adult who’s never been into fantasy games, TCG’s, etc., then this probably isn’t for you. If you’re a parent who doesn’t mind watching a slightly cheesy movie with an 80’s adventure feel to it, then you’ll be okay with the movie–you probably won’t love it, but you’ll have had worse ways to spend an hour and a half with your kids. Kids will probably love this one–especially younger kids and tweens. Anyone who’s fond of fantasy, gaming culture, trading card games, etc. will probably get a kick out of this charming film–a fair amount of the humor and references are aimed at people like us.
Director: Andrew Lauer
Writer: Jamie Nash (screenplay)
Stars: Lea Thompson, Hunter Allan, Eric Lutes