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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Comedy > Dragonheart (HD-DVD)

Dragonheart (HD-DVD)


Picture: B     Sound: B+     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Rob Cohen is known for making tough guy action films that are often silly, but in retrospect, his 1996 film Dragonheart retains his better qualities as a filmmaker as he makes a film to appeal to a family audience.  Dennis Quaid is the hero who must slay the evil dragon, but Draco (as voiced by Sean Connery) is not as bad as he seems and the two form an amusing friendship out to thwart a contract to kill the dragon for profit.  However, Draco is under a curse and may be doomed just the same.


Before the fantasy genre became so infantilized and silly, this was a film that respected the intelligence of its audience and did not treat children childishly.  Connery would not have approved of that approach and the film is not bad after 11 years.  A popular catalog title, Universal has issued it as later back catalog on HD-DVD after so much success with it on DVD and other formats.  I am not a huge fan, but I give the film credit for treating its audience with respect, a type that has too often been absent in blockbusters since.


The 1080p VC-1 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image shows some age, especially in the digital animation, but is the best looking the film is going to probably look in this format.  Director of Photography David Eggby, A.C.S., shot the film in real anamorphic Panavision and that is one of the reasons it looks so good for its age.  Color is not bad and this is better than any DVD we’ve seen of the material.


The film was originally a DTS 5.1 theatrical exclusive release with a 12” DTS Laserdisc and DTS-only DVD release, all showing off the fun and amusing use of surround design even as sampled on popular, hard-to-get DTS demo DVDs.  Here, we get only a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix that sounds good, but sounds like it is also missing some of the richness and nuance from the DTS master.  Randy Edelman’s score is not bad and makes sense for such a production.


Extras include outtakes, original theatrical trailers, a making of featurette and feature length audio commentary by Cohen.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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