strewth, my Aussie readers may well say, i have uploaded a whole load of pictures here. can i justify the pictures with text? possibly not, although probably. let's try.
one of the highlights of watching that film UFO which did not involve obtaining intimate knowledge of Sean Brosnan's bum was, you will recall, seeing a trailer for a class looking film called Age Of The Dragons. yes, i did indeed order it not long after and have recently watched it, hence this blog post.
here i am with the DVD, doing that one eye / cyclops thing as a partial tribute to a friend of mine that is currently experiencing some eye problems of note. get well soon, and don't waste valuable eye capacity reading this nonsense.
what is Age Of The Dragons like? we will get to that, but up front i must say that i consider it to be somewhat better than the 3.3 rating IMDB users award it. but then again IMDB users are easily led astray, giving 8.0 to that rubbish The Artist and a highly disturbing 8.8 to that pro-war, pro-right wing rubbish that was Forrest Gump.
before we get to the film, then, the start of a worrying trend. there was another class trailer on this disc, this time for something called In The Name Of The King A Dungeon Siege Tale or something like that.
look! Henry Hill out of GoodFellas is in it.
apparently he plays a wizard or something, one of them people that do magic and that.
also look, Jason "the Stath" Statham is in it, looking quite bored and appearing as if the content and material of this film was substantially beneath his standards and skills. which is, as much as i have enjoyed many of his films, one hell of a statement to be making.
it is, as far as i can work out, a film that takes nothing but pride in being "a poor man's Lord Of The Rings". as the rich man's version of Lord Of The Rings was not all that great, i figure just how bad can this one be? i will find out soon-ish, as it happens, as yes indeed i have placed an order for it. although with a 151 minute running time i have no idea when i will see it. IMDB users seem to score it at 3.8 so i am sure it will be class.
class indeed, in particular, as it seems that at one point Ray Liotta does some fancy torture stuff on Crank with one of them magic stick things.
Burt Reynolds is also in it, i believe, as some sort of King or something. should be class, that.
but you don't want that right now, you want to know of this Age Of The Dragons business.
here is the DVD menu screen for your enjoyment, appraisal, comment or whatever the hell it is you feel like doing with the image off of a DVD menu screen. knock yourself out.
on to the film then. a short version is that yes indeed it is "Moby Dick with dragons". it is the personification of all things that are "average" - meaning it is an entertaining, decent enough film and there are many worse ways to spend 90 minutes or so of your life. if you are a fan of Vinnie Jones, Danny Glover, out of the box adaptations of novels or dragons, the this film is for the, well, not so much "win" as for the "respectable draw".
so, with that said,
it starts off, as fantasy and such films are prone to do, with a touch of historical background setting and clarification stuff. like, you know, the party bits in Lord Of The Rings, before they all started getting all gayed up and excited about seeing, of all things, a volcano.
in Age Of The Dragons, this back story bit is rather smart, as it shows the young Captain Ahab, in the context of this film that being the young Danny Glover, trying to twat a dragon with a knife after the dragon has apparently just knacked his sister to death.
i am assuming that these particular images will answer questions that some of you will have in respect of "are the dragon special effects any good". i believe the answer in this respect is yes. they are fine, and decent enough for a lower budget than, say, Spielberg operates on, and realistic enough for presenting imaginary creatures.
my theory on dragons is that at some point in the middle, dark or whatever ages, right, some chap stumbled on dinosaur bones / fossils. seeing them appearing all black and charred, they may well have just created a theory about how it was a beast that could breathe fire, and that was how they were knacked, what with them not having class carbon dating equipment then.
still, some of you wish to believe that these dragons were all real and that, so far be it from me to stand in the way, be merry with your beliefs and it would be ace if they turned out to be correct. not quite so ace, of course, if they turned out to be correct via one of them dragons turning up and breathing fire all over.
anyway, on we go with the story, and that whole "call me Ishmael" thing gets events going proper, in a tavern or similar bar type of establishment. some lingering shots on the finer points of the bar maidens for the gentry, by the way, but here is Ishmael with his mate that might be called TikTik or Queequeg or something.
Ishmael and his mate are busying trying to get on to the ship, craft (you will see just now) or whatever it is that Captain Ahab commands, as Ishmael is quite aroused by the idea of going around and smacking dragons around a bit. was, in Moby Dick, Ishmael all excited about going Japan on whales? been a while since i saw or read it, so not sure on the enthusiasm level.
anyhow Stubbs, played by celebrated character actor Vinnie Jones, is listening, so he encourages Ishmael to prove his worth by having a contest in the art of twatting paintings with smart dragon harpoon spears.
treasure the above image, ladies and gents, for it is just about the only scene in the film to feature Vinnie Jones not smoking his class, in-no-way-ripped-off-from-Gandalf pipe. as you know i am very passionate in my ways against smoking, so it upset me to see Vinnie promoting pipe use amongst the viewers of this movie.
that said, it is class when Vinnie throws his hardcore harpoon spear thing at a threatening painting whilst smoking a pipe, so i shall probably take up smoking.
so any ill-health or dire consequence of me smoking are all on Vinnie Jones, then. i am sure the burden of this shall weight in a rather heavy way upon his shoulders, something that may inspire him to even more class acting greatness.
onwards then, to the Pequod, it being the ship of Captain Ahab. except it is not a ship, it is a class tank thing that runs with no engine or fumes being expelled. it also tends to run in a way that is always obscured for the benefit of the camera, so presumably it is in fact powered by a team of Yugoslavian relics pushing it along, with them hidden for dramatic effect, or if you like affect.
what of Captain Ahab himself? well, he crops up every now and then in the movie, in the form of Danny Glover. yes, that one off of the Lethal Weapon films, and some others. he was in Silverado, i think, and a really bad fishing comedy with Joe Thingie that was also in Lethal Weapon from time to time. that one that went "ok ok ok ok ok" a lot.
Danny Glover, despite being (depending on how you see it) as either the protagonist or the primary antagonist of the story, is not in it all that much. i think the producers scrambled together enough money to hire an actor of his stature for about a week, and thus did some "strategic" filming of him to season the film with.
there seems, in the circle of ardent and devout Age Of The Dragons lovers and haters, some debate as to whether Danny Glover is over-acting in the film, or if he is just doing normal acting that looks like over-acting in the face of the poor, shoddy acting on display from everyone else. i would suggest it's a case of neither, yet both. no one delivers award winning performances, but no one is that bad either.
anyway, Vinnie getting ready for some class dragon twatting, and oh look he is smoking again.
and for those of you interested in such things, here is another dragon doing that fire thing. are dragons meant to be this hostile and angry? i suppose when they have a former professional footballer - an FA Cup winning one, note - throwing spears at them then yes, but in general?
in that whole prequel / prologue segment at the start of the film, the young Captain Ahab got a bit knacked off of the dragon. this left his skin all battered and that, and means that he cannot be exposed to direct sunlight. somewhat like the glittering twats off of that Twilight nonsense, except different and more dragon related. this would mean that Captain Ahab frequently features in the film looking like this.
this which, of course, is not Danny Glover playing Captain Ahab. it's some random Yugoslavian relic that they have simply dressed up. hats off to the makers, i say, for working around their limited resources and lack of money to pay Danny to work outside on location.
anyhow, after that bout of Dragon twatting, Ishmael needs some medical attention, and Rachel, Ahab's adopted daughter, dishes it out.
this film has a "12" certificate, which means no one under 12 should see it. but what's the actual content like? well, no bad language, no nudity, a mild and non-graphic scene of an attempted sexual assault and only one or two scenes of what you would consider graphic or possibly disturbing violence, all blink and you will miss it.
i think if my eldest son watched this then he would, for life, embrace it as "one of the greatest things ever" when it in fact is not, rather like i did with The Sword & The Sorcerer, or my chum JG did Hawk The Slayer. or, if you like, exactly how Spiros did with that Village People film, Can't Stop The Music or whatever it was.
one of the most graphic scenes - and it's not all that graphic - features going to dragon mountain and killing 30 or so dragons as they sleep.
i mention it as there's a bizarre sequence where three of them put the hoods up on their jackets first.
must be smart hoods, them, if they make them either invisible or can resist the fire of dragons.
here's some more class Danny Glover action for all you Danny Glover fans. it must irk him somewhat that most review his entire film career as being "he was class in that bit of Lethal Weapon where he sat on a toilet and a bomb went off". that bit, for a start, was nowhere near as good as the bit where he twatted someone with a nail gun.
you kind of imagine that Danny Glover checks the newspaper every day to see if Mel has issued a big ad saying "sorry blacks and Jews i was wrong", paving the way to let Lethal Weapon 5 be made. until then, i guess the Gloves is making films like these, using his skills to pay the bills.
actually, Danny is rather good in this. his final soliloquy / speech thing is pretty impressive, and justified the cost of seeing the movie. Danny should be given more decent and substantial film roles, really, but noooooo, they all always want to cast Denzel or that Don Cheadle bloke.
last picture for the film coming up then, featuring our merry dragon slayers on their way up dragon mountain, towards the valley of dragons, so that Ahab might be able to twat this white dragon which upset him so much.
i don't think i have given too many spoilers here. if you are sort of half familiar with Moby Dick, and are kind of aware of the prolcivity Americanski films have for certain types of semi-positive endings, you kind of know what to expect. or, indeed, do you?
and that's that, really.
would i recommend the film? oddly, yes. i paid a quid or so to obtain the film and would very comfortably say that i got decent value out of it. i can't see me willingly watching it again, mind. i would like to think that a bunch of 10 - 12 year olds, not brought up on a world of Grand Theft Auto and similar, would enjoy it. if so much as one of them were inspired to read the novel Moby Dick, or see the decent film version of it, well then so much the better.
and of all the cheap, nasty rubbish that Vinnie Jones seems to have decided is now his career, this one is comparatively oustanding.
happy watching if you watch!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!