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June 2010

George And The Dragon

cast: James Purefoy, Piper Perabo, Patrick Swayze, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Simon Callow

director: Tom Reeve

89 minutes (PG) 2004
widescreen ratio 1.77:1
Centurion DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
review by William N. Dyer

George And The Dragon

Prologue: don't look for historical accuracy or slavish following of established versions of the George and the dragon tale. See this as an entertaining re-imagining of the soul underlying the mythology of George.

Plot: disillusioned knight, George (James Purefoy), returns from the Crusades wanting only to reconnect with his family, get himself a small but commodious farm, and ultimately a wife and children. His father, Sir Robert (Paul Freeman), is a knight apparently crippled by a dragon though George is sceptical of his father's claim. George is given a dragon claw horn which allegedly only a dragon can hear. Sir Robert tells George to go off and see King Edgar, an old friend of Sir Robert's and to use the dragon claw horn as his introduction to the king.

George travels to King Edgar's realm and is aided by Lord Garth (Patrick Swayze), Princess Lunna's (Piper Perabo) betrothed, to evade an attempted robbery and to be introduced to the King. The King recognises the dragon claw horn and welcomes George and accepts his aid to find his missing beloved daughter and says he will give George a small holding.

The scene is now set for a romping, funny, entertaining adventure that's full of humour, twists, sword fights, a dragon and its egg, love, a disappointment, a promise honoured, a deep moral and philosophical understanding and an unexpected ending. It is a richly woven tale with many characters in addition to the main few all of whom are surprisingly are well developed and go beyond being mere cardboard cut-outs.

The cast is excellent. All perform well, and even Swayze who struggles a wee bit with his accent, gives a convincing performance. In spite of the numerous, and at the end of the movie protracted, fight scenes, this is a cracking family film. It can and does work at various levels and has something that should entertain young and mature, male and female.

The film is tight and well directed and co-written by Tom Reeve in spite of his inexperience. The filming and cinematography are very good. Good use is made of the medieval locations in Luxembourg that give an authenticity and add to the fairytale like quality of the film. The special effects are convincingly realised and are used only when they are needed to enhance the expression of the story.

DVD extras - a second disc containing the following bonus materials: a making of featurette, deleted or shortened scenes, a 17-minute set of interviews with Patrick Swayze which will be of interest to all but especially fans of the late actor.



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