For the adults of the world, there's a glut of films made for us: great plots, storylines, characters you can really care about, and an emotional interest in seeing a goal accomplished. Fortunately, films like "Dragon Wars" don't overlook the younger movie fans, who seek action and destruction, even if they're not entirely sure in the name of... what... the action and destruction is hoping to accomplish. Welcome to "Dragon Wars: D-War."
There's a convoluted Korean legend about every 500 years, a young woman Narin is born carrying the coveted Yeouijoo child inside her. The Heavens send a protector and male guardian Haram to watch over the Narin. The bad guys would be the typically man in black, here, the Dark Imoogi, Buraki. Buraki and his legion of evil men, creatures and turtle-looking animals with rocket launchers on their back, are all looking for the unborn child Yeouijoo. Narin and Haram jump to their deaths as star-crossed lovers.
1982, young Ethan hears a story from Jack, an antique store owner (who reveals he's still alive from the 1507 story, then the teacher of guardian Haram); Jack gives Ethan a necklace of power and protective-ness, for the day he meets the girl who will carry the child in this latest installment of the 500 year saga. Leap to 2007, reporter Ethan checks out a story, flashing back to the Jack meeting, and knowing he must find Sarah. Yes, a girl named Sarah, in Los Angeles, with a tattoo... of course, that's not hard when you've got a script leading the way.
Buraki and his legions are clever beings, and track down Sarah even faster than did Ethan. We then segue into a 45 minute race of death and destruction through the streets of Los Angeles, where police bullets, National Guard tanks and military fighter helicopters are no match for land-based serpents and an endless sea of flying dinosaur-era looking creatures.
I confess being surprised at the number of people in the audience. I was less surprised by the amount of grumbling of those same folks on the way out of the theatre 90 minutes later. Not a lot of "awesome, great!" comments. I guess we needed some pre-teens or younger in the theatre for that.
The CGI was a big element of the film, and I would say that was pretty well done. There were some telltale CGI bits (flying water and simulating cold breath always seem to be challenging), but the crumbling of skyscrapers and the omnipresent serpent creatures were fairly well animated.
That's where the praise must, in all fairness, end. The script leaves little to speak of, the acting is sub-par for even a B-movie consideration, and I would be willing to wager a large tub of popcorn the bulk of the $75 million budget was spent on the CGI portion and battle scenes... not salary, screenwriting, or A-list directing.
With the number of other films opening this weekend, all fraught with actors and actresses you've heard of, and a few who've even managed to land an Oscar or two, you will be best guided to another theatre, unless you've got little ones in tow whose notion of a great film is pretty, fiery explosions. For those who try to use the grayspace between the ears during a movie, look elsewhere.