A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Christmas Dragon comes from a Utah production company known for its Mormon-themed films. Catering to fans of Tolkien movies, the plot revolves around medieval orphans on a quest to find the magic that will revive a dying Father Christmas and the gift-oriented holiday he and his elves preside over. A girl's parents are burned to death by a fire-breathing dragon. Ruthless bounty hunters kidnap children and extort payments from law-abiding citizens. Kids scare bandits with Home Alone-style booby traps. A female elf who looks like a Viking and is dressed in skintight leather beats up poachers. A frightening ogre attacks the good guys in a cave. A serpent attacks children in a rowboat, accompanied by Jaws-like music. An elf turns into a goblin and growls loudly. Younger kids will find this scary.
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What's the story?
THE CHRISTMAS DRAGON chronicles the tribulations of medieval orphan girl Aydan, who has been given a magical compass stone by an elf. She's been instructed to follow where it leads until she finds the magic that will help Father Christmas revive Christmas. Fellow orphans and Father Christmas' wayward son join the crusade, fighting dragons, serpents, poachers, ogres, bounty hunters, and other perils.
Is it any good?
It seems as if the plot of The Christmas Dragon has been patched together from the worst parts of dozens of better movies. The most formulaic moments from Tolkien, Harry Potter, and early Steven Spielberg still outclass the illogical and derivative mess the filmmakers have achieved here. No, medieval girls did not wear pants as protagonist Aydan does (Joan of Arc was burned for this, as it denoted "witchery"), nor did women work as bounty hunters. And it's hard to believe that nuns wore their bleached-blond hair streaming alluringly outside their habits, as Sister Lenora does here. Some actors speak with English accents, some with Scottish burrs, some à la people from the San Fernando Valley. Characters utter such modernisms a "welcome to the club."
Poor direction, writing, and acting are accompanied by other nonchalantly-practiced filmic arts. 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. Stupidity is also rife. 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. Considering the title, dragons play a fairly small role in the story. There is plenty to scare younger kids. The rest will just make anyone with a brain cringe.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about holiday movies. Is this a typical Christmas film? Why, or why not?
Does the mix of holiday cheer and scariness work? Why, or why not?
Which movies does this one borrow from?
Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you think Father Christmas is another version of Santa Claus?
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