Monday, September 24, 2012

Dragon Wind-up

by Arnie Fenner

After two solid weeks of dragons, you're all probably ready to move on to other things. So let's wind the subject up with some influential movie wyrms through the years...


Above: Fafnir from Siegfried [1924].



Above: Taro from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad [1958].



Above: Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty [1959].



Above: King Ghidorah from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster [1964].



Above: From Dragonslayer [1981].



Above: Draco from Dragonheart [1996].



Above: Haku from Spirited Away [2001]



Above: From Reign of Fire [2002].



Above: From Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire [2005].



Above: Saphira from Eragon [2006].



Above: Narrisa from Enchanted [2007].



Above: Mountain Banshee from Avatar [2009].



Above: Night Fury from How to Train Your Dragon [2010].



Above: From Suckerpunch [2011].



Above: From Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2 [2011].

What's your favorite? One of the above or one I've forgotten? Let us know in the poll above.

30 comments:

  1. That's Vermithrax Pejorative in Dragonslayer — the best named dragon in films!

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  2. "Eragon from Eragon" I think you mean "Saphira form Eragon"

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  3. Being the one that first comes to mind, I'd cast my vote to Willow's Two-Headed-Troll-Spawn-Dragon. It's not the one described in dictionary, but the one I remember with horror. (named Eborsisk according to someone in the internet)

    http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a371/CarlBHarrison/glcreative07.jpg

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    1. Thanks for the link: I had thought about the Willow dragon, but couldn't find a decent picture. My favorite part of that sequence was actually the shot of Val Kilmer taking a deep breath—and with a clear look of "what am I thinking¿" look on his face—before he jumps on it.

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  4. How could you forget Smaug from the animated Hobbit?

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    1. He did a big smaug-only post very recently which included that version. It was probably left out here to reduce the redundancy.

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  5. The NeverEnding Story´s Falcor is lacking.. ;)

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    1. That would totally be my vote.
      "ATREYUUUUUUUUU"

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    2. Mine would have been Falcor too...what gives? :-P

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    3. Admittedly, Falcor always reminded me more of a giant flying Labrador Retriever than a dragon... :-)

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    4. Them's fighting words... prepare to be chased into a dumpster ;-)

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    5. that is heresy! Falcor is <3

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  6. good to see the old fafnir from fritz lang's nibelungs. that is one damn impressive film!

    the murnau-stiftung was able to make the best restoration yet in 2010: good image quality, some lost scenes reinstated, and the original orange-golden coloration. if anyone gets a chance to see it, go for it! the project website of the murnau-stiftung (sadly, german only) has a few small caps in their website header: http://www.dienibelungen2410.de/

    jari is right - the dragon in willow was damn scary. it should absolutely have a place on the list.

    i see you included a lot of very recent films' dragons, but presented a carefully trimmed and curated list of older ones. maybe the post-2000s are a bit too recent for confidently picking out the real highlights. (spirited away will definitely stay on the list - not too sure about sucker punch, though ;))

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  7. The escaping dragon scene from Gringotts was amazing. The moment when he makes it to the roof and breathes in the fresh air for the first time was so convincing. The most realistic dragon ever portrayed. So realistic, it had me so concerned that Hermoine had failed to break the remaining chains on it's poor neck.

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    1. Yes! That poor, mistreated creature was beautifully realized. You could see the effort it took for it to fly after being confined for so long, and the ferocious determination to do so anyway.

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  8. Nice list! As also mentioned I thought about Smaug from the animated Hobbit and Falcor from The Neverending Story; as well as Elliot, from Pete's dragon, and Mushu from Milan. @Kim Kincard: Funny! I was thinking the same thing about the chains on the Gringotts' dragon when I saw them. :)

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    1. Added to the list could be Spot from The Munsters, Puff the Magic Dragon (animated adaptation in 1978), the creatures in Dragon War, Donkey's spouse in the Shrek series, and...why not the Fell Beasts from the LotRs trilogy?

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    2. I'd like to cast a vote for dragons from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (video game). Those are some of the best realized dragons I have seen (in my opnion). One of the features that makes them best (in my opinion) is that the artists didn't try to create some 6 legged creature; the wings -are- the forelimbs, just like we see in bats and birds. While still dragons, and therefore still wholly creatures of fantasy, they seem much more firmly grounded in reality for being creatures of four limbs.

      I loved dragon week. Maybe this will be a future recurring event, like Shark Week?

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  9. I love the way Vermithrax Pejorative crawled through his lair, and I am also very fond of the dragons in Reign of Fire, which seem like his cinematic descendants. They had a wonderful "weight" to them, and the scene where the dragon fires the castle is haunting...

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  10. You forgot the two headed "Eborsisk" from Willow!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrb4n-x7CJ4
    One of the more creative Dragon designs in movie history.

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  11. By the way the Ebersisk was a nod to Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel, film critics.

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  12. My favourite is definitely the Hungarian Horntail from The Goblet of Fire. Such a cool design. That crown of intimidating spines, how it moved and the accompanying soundtrack, it was just a perfect movie dragon.

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  13. My favorite would be Dragonslayer's Vermithrax. Had a great reptilian quality to his movements. Plus he was pre-CGI era and to me its hard to beat the imagination of stop motion animation. For a certain age group of genre fans when she creeps out of her lair that was a memorable moment. Though I didnt like all of the film, the dragon created for Beowulf was good. Falcor was memorable, but he was so odd looking a dragon that unless your a kid its still hard to take him seriously. The kick-ass dragons in Reign of Fire were very well concieved. Real killing machines. But the film didn't measure up to them. Though one did get to devour Matthew McConoHey! which is probably a good thing.

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  14. _Reign of Fire_ did a splendid job of making a believable, really evil dragon. Don't really agree with much else about them biologically, but that marvelous final confrontation sequence was worth the wait.

    All the dragons in the Harry Potter series were beautifully done, especially that poor white one in Gringots. I'd have loved to see it torch a few more of them - buggers deserved it!

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  15. I would have to go with Dragonslayer. Even considering the date of that film I thought it was much better than almost anything CG till about the mid 2000's.
    I did really like the designs of the dragons in the Harry Potter films, and obviously How To Train your Dragon.

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  16. Maleficent and Vermithrax prompted my childhood sword and spear carving, respectively. The Harry Potter films certainly took advantage of modern CGI to improve upon the classic forms. I was very pleased to see those.

    Current favorite: Night Fury. Sitting in that theater my boys, then watching them play "Night Fury" for weeks afterwards.....pure gold. Great all around twist on a dragon.

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  17. Can't believe you left out Mushu from Mulan.

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  18. Gotta say, I have a soft spot for Draco. As campy as it is, Dragonheart is still my favorite movie. I really liked the wyverns in Harry potter as well, and Saphira because I miss seeing the hexapods in movies.

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