Director: Ryan Little
Screenplay: McKay Daines (Screenplay), Gil Aglaure & Anne K Black (Story)
Producers: Gil Aglaure, Devin Carter, McKay Daines, Steven A Lee, Joe Pia & Peter Urie
Starring: Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Sofia Pernas, Corey Sevier, Larry Bagby, Kepa Kruse & David Morgan
Duration: 91 mins
Oh dear. Age of the Dragons is billed as ‘a thrilling adaptation of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick’ but it isn’t so much ‘Call me Ishmael’ as ‘Call me when this thing is over.’ It’s set in a fantasy medieval realm where dragons are hunted for the vitriol that powers their world – although it’s only mentioned that it lights their lamps – and as such is extremely valuable, but dangerous to harvest.
Where I think the film goes wrong is that it tries too hard to stick with the original story. If the producers had just made a Moby Dick homage then I think it might have been significantly better. Most of the dialogue is too ‘dated’ and just doesn’t seem to fit in with the medieval world it’s supposed to be taking place in. Also, Ahab (Glover) repeatedly asks Starbuck (Morgan) what the ‘crew’ think. The crew? There’s only five of them.
Ishmael and Queequeg (Sevier & Kruse) meet the crew of the Pequod in a tavern that looks like it’s been lifted straight out of Lord of the Rings and sign on to hunt dragons. The trouble is that the Pequod is a metal-plated land ship that travels on wooden wheels with a ground clearance of about a metre. It’s never explained how the hugely heavy vehicle is propelled nor how it manages to find level roads to travel in the wilds of the back-of-beyond.
It’s not often that Vinnie Jones (Stubb) isn’t the worst actor on the screen but Danny Glover does his best to make this happen. He is too old for shit like this. He hams it up so much I half expected him to start shouting ‘Riiiiggs. Where are you Riiiiggs? Riiiiggs!’ Only some of the ‘special’ effects were worse.
It’s not all bad though – the cinematography was really pretty good, with some outstanding scenery (Utah, I believe) but the DoP is uncredited, and it’s Pernas (Rachel) who gives the best performance. Sevier is too weak to be a convincing Ishmael and Kruse wastes the opportunity to be a ‘spiritual’ Queequeg, opting for the silent approach instead.
Age of the Dragons is released on DVD and Blu Ray 21st March.
Review by Andy Goodman