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STUDIO: Arc Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
• Audio commentary with director Ryan Little and stars Corey Sevier and Sofia Pernas.
• Behind the scenes
• Special effects featurette
Moby Dick with dragons and Danny Glover.
Directed by Ryan Little, written by Mickay Daines, starring Corey Sevier, Sofia Pernas, and Vinnie Jones.
This adaptation of Moby Dick is set in a fantasy world of dragons and one-eyed Danny Glover. The reptilian beasts of the sky are hunted for their valuable vitriol, which powers the world. On a DTV budget, the filmmakers managed to create a pretty damn entertaining film with remarkable production value. This bad boy’s perfect for lazy Sunday afternoons or evenings when you’re babysitting someone’s kids.
Herman Melville’s Moby Dick has been adapted to death in film and television. It’s a compelling story that pretty much anyone can relate to on some level. But, it hasn’t been done with dragons before! Or maybe it has, I’m not entirely sure. This has got to be the first black Ahab though. Regardless, that’s what the DTV fantasy film Age of the Dragons is all about: Moby Dick with dragons. It sounds like a lazy concept, which it kinda is, but the great production value and capable actors make it a suprisingly entertaining film.
“Call me Ishmael” is one of the most famous first lines in all of American literature. They switch it up in Age of the Dragons when some guy in a bar goes “Your name is Ishmael?” and he replies “You can call me that.” Ha! Corey Sevier plays Ishmael, the wandering adventurer who signs onto Ahab’s crew to hunt dragons. In this universe, dragons are hunted for their vitriol, like how whales were hunted for their oil. Ishmael and his hetero life partner Queequeg (Kepa Kruse) are allowed on Ahab’s crew after demonstrating their refined harpooning skills on Vinnie Jones, who plays Stubb, the second mate on Ahab’s ship “Pequod.”
Since it’s wicked dangerous, dragon hunters are paid out the ass. No one on the “Pequod” seems that interested in getting rich though. They’re a rough-and-tumble lot who shirk domestic life and live for bro-ing down over dead dragons. Except for Rachel (Sofia Pernas), Ahab’s adopted daughter. She’s all kinds of sexy and independent and can throw a harpoon with the best of them. Ahab is played by Danny Glover, whose voice now sounds like that of someone plagued with chronic emphysema. He plays a great Ahab – boiling over with mad obsession and ignorant to the fact that not everyone wants to risk their life to hunt the “white dragon.”
A lot of the dialogue and pivotal moments are pulled directly from the novel. As the narrator Ishmael, Corey Sevier does a fine job of delivering Melville’s poetic insight and exposition. Corey’s done lots of TV work and played Apollo in The Immortals. He’s got the talent and rugged handsomeness to really break into the mainstream. Everyone else is fine, including Vinnie Jones. This is the type of sad-eyed role made for him – badass and weighed down with melancholy. A fog of melancholy appropriately envelopes the entire film, including the “Pequod” ship.
In the film, the “Pequod” is like the Jawa’s sandcrawler from Star Wars but not as big. It’s got anchors and everything else a sailing vessel has, but it moves on land. The production design on it is terrific and a perfect example of a DTV budget being used to its maximum potential. The same goes for the CGI dragons, which look way better than they should. A lot of that has to do with their design, which is refreshingly original. In particular, in one scene when Ishmael, Rachel, and Queequeg are sneaking around some baby dragons, the creatures look amazingly lifelike. The costumes are great too – especially Ahab’s cloak and mask. Overall, the production value is fucking remarkable for a DTV release. Bravo.
Since it’s based on a novel as thick as a brick, there are long periods of dialogue that will probably turn off a general audience. in fact, there’s hardly any action in the film. The focus is on Ishmael and the crew spiraling into darkness alongside Ahab. Although the romantic subplot between Ishmael and Rachel does fall flat in the end, it never becomes a large enough part of the film to take away from the entertainment. Age of the Dragons is the absolute best you can hope for in a DTV film: outstanding production value, capable actors, and a genuinely good script. The source material helps a lot, of course, but it’s also really easy to fuck it up, which this film certainly does not.
The cover is awesome and features a guy (who I don’t believe is in the movie) coming at the white dragon with a sword. There are no swords in the movie, but it’s still a gnarly cover.
The audio commentary with director Ryan Little and stars Corey Sevier and Sofia Pernas is entertaining. They joke around a lot while providing loads of insight into how they made such a great flick on a humble budget. You can tell they had a blast making it too.
The behind the scenes feature is brief and features much of the crew and cast talking about what they like about the picture and how they approached it.
The special effects featurette looks at how the design and effects team created and animated the dragons. They explain how they wanted to design fresh looking dragons, so they relied heavily on bat anatomy and dragon fossils for inspiration.
Two minutes of bloopers and outtakes. Nothing really funny or exciting here.
Also includes a trailer.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars