George and the Dragon (2004)
A Film Review
Copyright Dragan Antulov 2005
Hollywood was often accused of spreading simplified and incorrect perceptions of world's history among world masses. The arguments for that claim could be found in various aspects of today's popular culture, but few point to the severity of the problem as some European filmmakers' tendency to tailor their visions of European past and culture towards Hollywood standards. One of such examples is GEORGE AND THE DRAGON, 2004 medieval fantasy comedy written and directed by Tom Reeves in Luxembourg.
The plot begins after the First Crusade, when hundreds of European knights return to their homes. One of them is George (played by James Purefoy) who must leave his friend and former Muslim foe Tarik (played by Michael Clarke Duncan) in order to return to England and buy small piece of land from King Edgar (played by Simon Callow). The sovereign has other problems, because his daughter Princess Lunna (played by Piper Perabo), who was just about to marry powerful warlorld Garth (played by Patrick Swayze), disappears, apparently being abducted by the last dragon on Earth.
The plot by Reeve and Tom Burke quickly dispenses with any attempt of historical accuracy and instead mixes elements of ancient Christian legend of St. George and the Dragon with simplified "politically correct" version of Crusades and some modern-day New Age environmentalism thrown for good measure. This disregard for history, on the other hand, allows Continental European locations to pass for England (or generic West European country) while the characters can be simplified and believable at the same time.
The very simplicity of the characters and plot makes GEORGE AND THE DRAGON one of few action spectacles suitable for the youngest audiences. Those who want more from films than simple stories can enjoy in some unusual performances from the relaxed actors who obviously had great deal of fun during the production. James Purefoy, British actor who was often talked about as potential James Bond, is very entertaining in his semi-comical portrayal of archetypal hero, while Patrick Swayze brings few unintended laughs in uncharacteristic role of villain. CGI dragon, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired, but this could be said about many other aspects of the film. However, GEORGE AND THE DRAGON could nevertheless be recommended as passable entertainment if the viewers' expectations aren't particularly high.
RATING: 5/10 (++)
RATING: 5/10 (++)