A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire is a fantasy about a dragon who must broker peace between a brother and sister fighting for the crown of a kingdom. There's medieval battle violence: Characters are killed falling into spikes on walls, as well as via swords, an axe to the chest, sorcery, crossbows, and the supernatural strength of a young man who can hurl his enemies from hundreds of yards away. But none of the violence is overly graphic, bloody, or gory. Infrequent profanity includes "ass" and "damn." A joke is made in which a character is taunted as being an "assboy" to a superior. There's some demonic imagery that could be nightmarish for younger or more sensitive viewers. Characters drink mead at a Viking celebration.
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What's the story?
In DRAGONHEART: BATTLE FOR THE HEARTFIRE, when King Gareth dies, his son Edric (Tom Rhys-Harries) is the presumed heir. Edric possesses supernatural strength, but hides a secret: the mark of the dragon is on his back. He has kept this a secret, which is one of the reasons why he has never bonded with Drago (Patrick Stewart), a dragon who had forged a bond with King Gareth. Edric assumes the throne, but there's one major problem: He has a twin sister, Meghan, who has arrived from Scandinavia, who believes she should be queen, as she is a few minutes older than Edric, and she has brought an army with her to see that her wish is granted. She left her homeland while still a girl, because, unlike Edric, her dragon mark was visible on her face, and many in her village believed her to be a witch. This suspicion was enhanced when it was believed that she killed her father by using her ability to control fire to burn down his cottage. As she takes the throne from Edric, and the two fight each other, Drago is rapidly losing his dragonfire, the flame in his heart that really makes him a dragon. Eidric and Meghan possess it as well, but because they are fighting each other, they are also losing the fire. The situation turns dire when one of the Vikings steals what's left of Drago's heartfire for himself, and now it's up to Edric and Meghan to make peace with their past and present and unite to save Drago.
Is it any good?
Overall, this is an entertaining medieval fantasy movie. The not-great CGI of the dragon can be overlooked because Patrick Stewart provides the dragon's voice. Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire can be enjoyed on its own terms, even if one has not seen the other movies in the Dragonheart series. There's a dry humor to the dialogue that comes very close to being self-aware, but stays reined in just enough to not distract from the central story. There's brisk action and some violence, but generally nothing overly gory, bloody, or graphic.
The humor also manages to prevent the movie from sinking into the kind of self-parody so prevalent in fantasy, the kind in which characters are always saying, "Fulfill your destiny!" when a simple "Goodbye" would have sufficed. The action is brisk, and unlike other fantasy stories that get too caught up in the minutia and myriad subplots to untangle a decent main story, there's a clear sense of what's at stake for each of the major characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fantasy movies like Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire. What are some of the elements that make up fantasy movies? How are medieval fantasy movies different from fantasy movies in different times and settings?
Was the violence necessary for the story, or did it seem forced in to try and make the movie seem more interesting?
How was music used to enhance the tension in battle scenes? What are some other ways in which background music is used to heighten moments in other movies?
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