Gareth (Julian Morris) is but a lowly squire, tasked with menial jobs by his high and mighty commander. Despite being a very skilled swordsman, Gareth must still prove he can take orders, which means shaking down tradesmen for protection money. Yes, the knights in this movie act like frat boys trying to be mafiosos, and it is glorious! It is strange to see a movie take that stance, but it feels realistic enough. After refusing to destroy a potter's livelihood, he's tossed out of the Knighthood, and is left nowhere to stay. The potter takes him in, and than something resembling a comet crashes to Earth. Gareth goes to investigate, and discovers Drago (voiced by Ben Kingsley), who is tasked with protecting nine dragon eggs. Gareth, Drago, and new found friends Rhonu (Tazmin Merchant) and Lorne (Jassa Ahluwalia), they try to protect the dragons not only from the corrupt knights, but also an evil sorcerer.
That's a lot of set-up I realize, but I feel it is important that the scope of the movie be properly understood before the review continues. This film paints with an epic brush, and succeeds for the most part. It is notable that the first sequel "Dragonheart: A New Beginning" was (reportedly) the first ever direct-to-dvd sequel ever released (please note the use of the term DVD, not just video, but specific to that format), because this latest (a prequel, set at Hadrian's Wall and the surrounding counttryside, some 400-500 years before the first movie), is one of the best I have seen.
All the actors, but especially Tamzin Merchant with her fierce attitude, impressive action chops, and fiery red hair and Sir Kingsley do an amazing job. Sir Ben Kingsley adds an incredible amount of dignity to his role as the cursed dragon, making for a believable and interesting character. Julian Morris plays opposite nothing (the dragon is pure CGI) quite well, and while he comes off a little whiny in the beginning, as the character grows more confident, so does the actor.
Director Colin Teague has a keen eye, and the movie looks sharp and crisp, without looking gritty (thank god!). There's a lot of eye popping colors, especially within a very interesting subplot about Drago and the eggs, I won't ruin here, that make the movie very engaging on a visual front. Also, one of the first big battle sequences at night, and lo and behold, one can actually see everything going on! How crazy is that?
The special effects to make Drago are first rate, especially for a direct-to-video movie, and while it doesn't quite live up to "Dragonheart" standards, that was a massive theatrical release, so looking quite good is good enough.
The only real downside I can think of is lack of an original score- there is one, but it relies so heavily upon the amazing theme from the original film that it got a tad overplayed, in my opinion.
If you are a big fan of this series, or just like exciting fantasy movies, you owe it to yourself to pick up this excellent flick.