review for Dragonheart on AllMovie

Dragonheart (1996)
by Karl Williams review

This frustrating fantasy-comedy is built upon a terrific high-concept idea that never quite materializes into an entertaining film. A long, laborious first act that isn't particularly interesting or funny is quickly followed by a tonal shift into buddy comedy that is a welcome relief, but so much plot has been set up by the film's mistake of an opening that it repeatedly bogs down in story developments. The scenes that work best are the ones that depict the rambling life of a disillusioned knight and his dragon partner. Clearly, this is the film's central marketing ploy of an idea, and it's a good one, but there's too much else going on in Dragonheart (1996), so that not enough time is spent with this decidedly inventive team to make them come alive as identifiable characters. The film's labored preamble is also responsible for creating a villain (portrayed well by David Thewlis) that's far too sympathetic to be the scenery-chewing antagonist required by a medieval fantasy. Director Rob Cohen wants to play with audience expectations, but he simply lacks the facility with such fantastic material to elevate the film to its proper place as an epic deconstruction, resulting in a particularly biting disappointment for fans of this genre.