Upon discovering there are four DragonHeart sequels, TV-VCR will be reviewing one a day until we’ve seen them all.
DragonHeart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse (2015)
The inexplicable second straight-to-video sequel to 1996’s DragonHeart, DragonHeart 3: The Sorcerer’s Course continues the franchise’s rich tradition of being unremarkably sub-mediocre. It’s kind of bad though not really enough to talk about, but since I’ve committed to this five-part conversation, here we go.
The first DragonHeart was an irretrievably dumb Hollywood production that looked immediately dated. Its follow-up, A New Beginning reinvented the franchise as a straightforward, cheap-as-dirt kiddie movie that looked like a ‘90s video game cutscene. The Sorceror’s Curse again shifts gears to give us DragonHeart as a Syfy pilot that doesn’t deserve an order.
The third entry is a vastly more competent effort than its predecessor, but it still maintains the series’ commitment to looking like dog shit in its own way. This one’s filtered into muddy oblivion and frequently underexposed into obscurity, but two decades removed from the original, at least the dragon again looks as acceptably unconvincing as it used to. For a straight-to-video DragonHeart sequel, the CGI is honestly pretty great.
DragonHeart 3 was announced back in 2014, and it couldn’t more perfectly embody that brief era when everyone was trying to make the next Game of Thrones. (Hey, remember The Shannara Chronicles?) Brazenly, the film sees an oft-shirtless, sword-wielding hunk journey north of The Wall, form a contentious romance with a Scottish, bow-sporting, ginger Wildling (technically and historically a “Pict” here), befriend a scholarly dope, form a rare blood-bond with a dragon, and takes down said wall’s cruel commander to himself take the position. This movie is Jon Snow’s CliffsNotes.
Starring English actor Julian Morris, the sequel daringly disrupts the DragonHeart tradition of its lead having an out-of-place American accent for absolutely no reason. But it does return to the franchise’s other vocal staple: forcing an iconic, knighted, Academy Award-winning actor to say some crap dialogue as a CGI lizard. This time Universal sprung for Sir Ben Kingsley! Thanks to the titular curse, Kingsley isn’t even forced to say all that much, though: the spell—cast in literally the first scene with the dragon—renders Kingsley’s Drago powerless and rarely seen by day, which is also pretty convenient for cutting how much money had to be spent on these improved visual effects.
It’s handy to look at the DragonHeart series like the Bible—a collection of sacred texts from different authors, each adding new, completely batshit nonsense to the larger, often disconnected story. The first saw Draco, our Christ dragon, sacrifice himself for mankind. That book gave us the now commonplace beliefs that dragons can plop half their heart into a man to unite their bodies in life and death; and that when dragons die, they dissolve into a piss-colored mist, waft into the stars, and become a part of the Draco constellation, which then explodes into even more stars. Amen.
A New Beginning was clearly the second coming, the egg of Draco reborn as Drake. This scripture brought us the revelation that a two-tailed comet is prophetic of coming evil; that dragons can also spit ice; and that if a dude shoves an entire dragon heart into his chest, he can apparently morph into a man-sized dragon. Hallelujah.
The Sorcerer’s Curse is Old Testament, the prequel bringing with it the ancient knowledge of how dragon eggs can alternately be used as grenades. Also, if you’re one of the lucky dragon-hearted, you can use shadows like portals, jumping into one and emerging from another. May bullshit be with you—and also with you.
Surprisingly, this one was probably the most even, less-conspicuously poor of the three. Can’t say it was really any more or less enjoyable for it, though. Another C-. Looking back with the clarity of going two days without watching a DragonHeart movie, A New Beginning probably deserves a harsher grade, but whatever. Like the series itself, we’ll just let the bad ideas continue to pile up.