Dragonslayer (1981) is an American action adventure fantasy movie that is set in a fictional medieval kingdom. Director and co-writer Matthew Robbins (Mimic (1997), The Sugarland Express (1974), *batteries not included (1987)) did a wonderful job executing this action fantasy movie. Dragonslayer was the first movie ever to use go-motion that is a variation of stop-motion animation where parts of the model are mechanized, and a computer is programmed to do the movement. The movie contains brief nudity, a lot of fire and minor violence after the dragon is shown, dragons eating a human, tension, suspense and thrills.
Dragonslayer revolves around a 400-year-old dragon named Vermithrax Pejorative that terrorizes the people of Urland by incinerating everything in its path until it is fed virgin girls. King Casiodorus (Peter Eyre - From Hell (2001), The Remains of the Day (1993), Surviving Picasso (1996)) holds a lottery twice a year to select virgin girls that will be fed to the dragon. Valerian (Caitlin Clarke - Blown Away (1994), Crocodile Dundee (1986), Kenny (1987)) is on an expedition to find the last sorcerer. SPOILER: Valerian is a female that disguises herself as a male because she does not want to be picked during the lottery. After a few events, the last sorcerer Ulrich (Ralph Richardson - Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984), Doctor Zhivago (1965), The Fallen Idol (1948), Time Bandits (1981)) dies. Ulrich’s young apprentice Galen (Peter MacNicol - Bean (1997), Battleship (2012), Numb3rs (2005), Ghostbusters II (1989)) takes Ulrich’s magical amulet. Galen met Valerian on his way to Urland and after a few more events, King Casiodorus came to the conclusion that Galen might have upset the dragon instead of killing it. The King also realizes that Galen is not a real wizard/sorcerer and took the amulet while ordering his men to imprison Galen.
The King’s daughter, Princess Elspeth (Chloe Salaman - Fanny by Gaslight (1981), The Life Story of Baal (1978), Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981)) is informed by Galen that the lottery is rigged. The lottery does not include her name and several other girls whose family is wealthy enough to pay a fee for their name to be removed from the list. While the Princess is seeking the truth from her father, the King, the dragon caused an earthquake while freeing itself from its prison. Galen escapes during the earthquake without the amulet while the dragon incinerates everyone in its path as it heads for the village. The King soon realizes that he needs Galen’s help and returned Galen’s amulet to him after the Princess rigged the lottery, and her name was chosen to be fed to the dragon. Watch this old dated movie with an open mind because the graphics are not that great, and you will not be disappointed.
A few recent creature movies from the year 2014 and 2015 did not pay attention to details as much as the creators of this movie paid attention to detail regarding while creating the dragon. The dragon looks like how a dragon should look and does not look plasticky or fake, just realistic. The dragon moves, acts and sounds like how I believe a dragon should be. The sets and sceneries were breathtaking, and I could not get enough of it. I will watch this movie again because the movie seen from present day does not do justice to a few of the fantasy 1980s movies. The actors did a phenomenal job with their performances and could not be any better. I gave this movie an eight because it was not flawless, had plot holes, goofs, and some of the camera work had blemishes.
About Dragonslayer (1981)
Starring: James Payne, Peter MacNicol, John Hallam, Ian McDiarmid, Albert Salmi, Sydney Bromley, Peter Eyre, Ralph Richardson, Jason White, Douglas Cooper, Alf Mangan, David Mount, Chris Twinn, Caitlin Clarke, Chloe Salaman, Emrys James, Roger Kemp, Ken Shorter, Yolande Palfrey
Director: Matthew Robbins