Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1981. Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Productions. Screenplay by Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins. Cinematography by Derek Vanlint. Produced by Hal Barwood. Music by Alex North. Production Design by Elliot Scott. Costume Design by Anthony Mendleson. Film Editing by Tony Lawson. Academy Awards 1981.
If it were only for production value, this would be a highly recommended adventure film, but its shabby writing and poor acting really get in the way of its scoring points. Peter MacNicol is terrible as a young wizard’s apprentice whose master (the great Ralph Richardson) dies and leaves him with the burden of having to rid a neighbouring land of its evil dragon. Its populace uses maidens as sacrifices to keep the beast from destroying it entirely and it is MacNicol’s task, with the help of a feisty young woman disguised as a boy, to destroy it. The visual effects are splendid and hold up after a quarter of a century, and Alex North’s score is exquisite, but the story is incredibly boring and the direction lacks any whiff of imagination.