“Oh, yeah…Dragonslayer. I forgot all about that one…”
Surely I’m not the only guy of a certain age thinking that very thing right now. Its simultaneous 4K and Blu-ray debut suddenly sparked memories of paying to see this at the now-defunct Eastgate Theater when I was a teenager. Back then, the Eastgate was the largest, most state-of-the-art theater in Portland. That’s where the “event” movies played.
Staring up in awe at the three-story, 100-foot-wide screen, Dragonslayer was indeed something to behold, with special effects that rivaled those in Star Wars and a convincingly monstrous dragon, brought-to-life by a team who never heard of CGI. For a couple of hours, I was enthralled. But shortly after leaving the theater, I never give the movie another thought, nor would I have been able to tell you a single character’s name.
Revisiting Dragonslayer four decades later, my overall assessment remains more-or-less the same. Considering the advances in special effects since then, Vermithrax Pejorative, the malevolent serpent terrorizing the kingdom of Urland, is still a visually impressive creation. Watching sorcerer’s apprentice Galen (Peter MacNicol) square off against the beast in its lair stirred a fond bout of nostalgia (though its impact at home is inevitably diminished a bit…even in 4K).
Still, the film has a bit of a cult following these days, perhaps some of the same folks who were blown away 40 years ago (and maybe found the story more memorable than I did). For them, this new 4K release will be a treat. Though Dragonslayer was always best-appreciated in a theater, the overall picture and sound are outstanding…the next best thing to being there.
“THE SLAYER OF ALL DRAGONS” - An hour long multi-part retrospective documentary features interviews with Matthew Robbins and FX artists Phil Tippett & Dennis Muren.
AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Matthew Robbins and Guillermo del Toro (who’s a fan of the film).