To say that a movie is “not as bad as I feared” is to damn it with faint praise. Right from the beginning, though, Curse of the Dragon Slayer seemed compelled to employ clichés at every turn. Then a funny thing happened somewhere along the way. Eventually, the story picked up, the characters were set, and the events felt more of what I would expect. Bear in mind, though, that my expectations changed and that I was suddenly watching my Dungeons and Dragons games play out in real life. When the heroes are beset by foes, I thought to myself, “roll for initiative!”.
If you have a background in role playing games, you might also enjoy this. Otherwise, though, there isn’t much to pull you in. The comparison to Game of Thrones is tenuous at best. This movie more closely follows Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, bringing elves, orcs, and a dwarf into the mix. The story – a horror is about to be raised from the underworld unless a rag-tag band of adventurers can stop it – is much more fitting in that world.
At some point, though, resistance erodes and pure enjoyment sets in. The world is full realized and the production value clearly shows through. This wasn’t a movie cobbled together by some friends over a weekend. Instead, there are some truly wonderful scenes and locations, as well as acting that really seems to develop through the course of the film. At one point, it seemed that the story would be better as a Xena-esque show in syndication. However, that opinion grudgingly gives way as the world sinks in a little more.
While certainly not for everyone, there is definitely a crowd that will enjoy this film and should embrace it. It is definitely an inspiration to blow the dust off your dice and start gaming again.