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Parents' Guide to

The Christmas Dragon

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Holiday-fantasy mix has action but is too slow.

Movie NR 2014 136 minutes
The Christmas Dragon Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 7+

Cute Christmas story with a medieval fantasy appeal

We watch this movie every year in December. It's my favorite Christmas movie (and my son's). It's definitely a low-budget fantasy film with a predictable plot; and B-level but passable acting, costumes and filming shooting; but overall it had a solid and wholesome message about Christmas spirit and good winning out over evil. There's a lot of kid-appeal especially when the kids outwit the bad guys with Saturday morning cartoon level of hijinks. It's a fun, silly twist on the traditional Christmas movie, and the dragon is very cute. There are some darker themes, such as when the main character loses her parents at the beginning and kids being "sold" as apprentices to the mines, but just like in Dicken's "A Christmas Carol," the happy ending would be greatly diminished without setting up the loss and tragedies in the beginning. It's definitely not Lord of the Rings, but it never pretends to be. If you like medieval fantasy films, this one is a fun, silly, non-religious family-friendly Christmas film with a Never Ending Story level of appeal.
age 8+

Not ALL Bad, My Kids Like It

Yes, this movie is a stinker. It's ridiculous in many ways, for example, it seems to take place in Northern Europe in the days of the solstice before Christmas, but it is somehow light out 16 hours a day and balmy warm. The uneven accents are astoundingly laughable. The poverty stricken orphans have gorgeous, fantastic clothes and footwear. The plot is confusing. The characters thinly drawn. There are no people of color or disability. The mash-up of genres is baffling. Is there a real moral? And yet - yet - my kids like this movie. The violence is not too violent, it's really Disney cartoon violence in live action. The scary parts aren't too scary and in fact seem to be just scary enough that my 8 year old enjoyed them because she felt comfortable knowing that the main characters would be all right. (The opening scene with marauders, a dragon, and parents dying, is the worst of it. The rest is mostly brawls with Home Alone-style stunts thrown in) The main characters in the band of adventurers stand up for and support each other. The children are brave, there are good strong female characters. What really struck me, what buoys it and keeps it from complete failure, is how much the movie feels very much like something a kid might think of. For example, the lack of verisimilitude that sinks it for an adult is overlooked and by kids. It's goofy, and the kids don't care.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (3 ):

It seems as if the plot of this film has been patched together from dozens of better fantasy and adventure movies. But the most formulaic moments from Tolkien, Harry Potter, and early Steven Spielberg still outclass the illogical and derivative mess the filmmakers have "achieved" here. And the film doesn't even try for historical accuracy: Medieval girls didn't wear pants as protagonist Ayden does, and characters use modern phrases like "welcome to the club." Some actors speak with English accents, some with Scottish burrs, some with American accents à la people from the San Fernando Valley.

Poor direction, writing, and acting are accompanied by other cinematic issues. Costumes for goblins look like they came straight from the musical Cats. The thousand-year-old Father Christmas' makeup can be seen flaking away in close-ups. A campfire burns brightly, deep within an unventilated cave, which ought to be filling with smoke, but the laws of physics were apparently suspended for the making of this film. And considering the title, dragons play a fairly small role in the story. There's plenty of action here (some that might scare younger kids), but the rest is dreadfully slow and cringey.

Movie Details

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