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: Vengeance is a 2020 medieval fantasy movie in which a tween farmer boy seeks revenge on the barbarians who killed his family. The lead character peeks through a crack in the wall to see his family getting murdered by four barbarians. His father is shown beaten and bloodied, and his mother screams before her throat is slit. A thief cuts off his hand with a sword. Some swordplay, blood, and peril throughout. Character stabbed in the head with an arrow. Some bathroom humor, including a scene in which a horse urinates on one of the character's possessions. Infrequent mild profanity: "piss," "hell." Characters shown drunk in a tavern. It's the fifth movie in the Dragonheart franchise.
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What's the story?
In DRAGONHEART: VENGEANCE, Lukas is a young farmer who has just witnessed his family getting murdered by four barbarians. Eager for revenge, he goes into a nearby village ruled by the greedy and duplicitous King Razvan. While searching for a mercenary willing to help him achieve his revenge, Lukas meets Darius (Joseph Millson) in a seedy tavern, but must flee when a drunken brawl breaks out and the authorities have arrived to arrest everyone involved. Lukas learns from the blacksmith that he might get assistance from the dragon of the realm, who has been banished by King Razvan for not helping him in his time of need. Lukas finds the dragon, Siveth (Helena Bonham Carter), and is shocked to discover that the dragon is female. Siveth initially refuses, but Darius finds him and begins to teach Lukas how to fight with a sword. Together, they embark on a quest to kill the four barbarians: The Bear, The Wolf, The Snake, and The Scorpion. Soon, they discover that Siveth has joined them, and is actively helping them on their quest. They soon realize that King Razvan is actively supporting the barbarians' killing and marauding of the countryside, and Lukas, Darius, and Siveth must find a way to stop the barbarians and the king, and also prove to the citizens that Siveth had never abandoned them.
Is it any good?
This is standard medieval fantasy fare, enjoyable enough in spite of the substandard CGI and general low-budget air to it. There are plenty of world-building backstories, reluctant heroes and heroines who eventually do the right thing, and sword battles set to rousing soundtracks. There are times when the clunky dialogue and awkward attempts at humor make this seem like it's a parody of medieval adventure movies. The story meanders, but never falls apart, and finds a way to stay mostly focused on the central themes of revenge and doing the right thing.
The dragon's CGI qualities are slightly less cheap-looking than in the previous Dragonheart sequels, but it still comes across as substandard special effects work. While it might be possible for some to suspend disbelief over this for the sake of the story, the cheesiness of the dragon's appearance could easily be the last straw for those who aren't fans of this genre and movie franchise. The acting isn't terrible, but there just isn't a lot to work with in this story. For instance, if your character is called "The Snake," there's no getting around that you're going to have to hiss and slither. Overall, while the central story of Dragonheart: Vengeance might have worked on its own terms, there's too much swirling around it in the action, dialogue, and production values that ultimately distract from enjoying it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about medieval fantasy movies. How does Dragonheart: Vengeance compare to other medieval fantasies?
Have you seen the other Dragonheart movies? How does this one compare? Why do you think so many sequels get made, and why are they usually not as good as the original?
Did the violence seem necessary for the movie, or did it seem too graphic? Why?
- On DVD or streaming: February 4, 2020
- Cast: Joseph Millson, Jack Kane, Helena Bonham Carter
- Director: Ivan Silvestrini
- Studio: De Laurentiis International
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Horses and Farm Animals, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: Sequences of violence and action, and some bloody images.
- Last updated: March 16, 2020
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