Age of the Dragons (2011)

Age of the Dragons (2011)

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How do you disguise the fact Danny Glover was only available for 2 weeks? This!
How do you disguise the fact Danny Glover was only available for 2 weeks? This!

Twitter Plot Summary: The story of Moby Dick adapted so that it’s a dragon Ahab is hunting. Danny Glover goes full panto villain.

Imagine, if you will, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick adapted to star Danny Glover and Vinnie Jones and transferred to a world in which the whale of the original has been replaced by a dragon. Just let that settle in for a moment. Got all that? If you’re not aware of the original tale, Captain Ahab seeks to destroy a white whale that caused the destruction of his ship and the loss of one of his legs. Here, the story has been amended slightly so that the white dragon killed Ahab’s sister and horribly burned him in the process.

Sometimes – in fact, quite often – films come along that defy logic and a reason for existence, but on paper at least the idea of adapting Moby Dick into a fantasy film does have a certain logic to it. Okay, so the big tank the crew drive around in is an odd contraption, but it is a story that lends itself to a grandiose fantasy adaptation.

With that being said, there’s something disconcerting about watching Vinnie Jones deliver a serious monologue about the life of a dragon hunter. You expect him to either smirk/grimace his way through it (as he has done many times in the past) or deliver a performance akin to his performance as the Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand. That is, knowingly awful.

It probably goes without saying that it’s not very good, yet surprisingly isn’t a complete waste of your time. The production values are sufficiently high to disguise the fact it’s a necessarily cheap production, and some tinkering with the colour correction (most likely in something like Adobe After Effects) is often enough to hide any concerns about the locations, sets or costumes. The dragons are the real letdown, well animated but hardly blending with the live action footage, but given that they are used infrequently it’s not as jarring as you might expect.

He really is too old for this sh*t.
He really is too old for this sh*t.

Danny Glover has never seemed more grizzled than he does here as Ahab, and that’s including his time spent making the Lethal Weapon films. If he was too old for that sh*t in 1987, by the time this was released in 2011 he should’ve been in a retirement hoke for grumpy old men. In this case his performance is so over the top he’s only one step away from being a full-on pantomime villain, but in the context of this story it doesn’t feel out of place. It certainly gives you something to talk/laugh about at least, which can’t really be said for the rest of the film.

Meanwhile the chap playing Ishmael (Corey Sevier) is so vanilla as the cut price Colin Farrell he appears to be that he barely makes an impression. It’s possible that, when looking back at this film, you now picture Colin Farrell in the Ishmael role rather than Sevier. in fact he’s so forgettable that he’s not even referenced on the DVD cover, instead usurped by Glover (obviously), Vinnie Jones, Vinnie Jones’ chin beard, and the obligatory attractive lady played by Sofia Pernas. Now he knows precisely how Bill Pullman feels.

Score: 2.5/5

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