Director – Ted Nicolaou (Subspecies, TerrorVisions)
Starring – Courtland Mead (The Little Rascals, The Shining), Janet Henfrey (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Doctor Who), and Alastair Mackenzie (Psychos, Snuff-Movie)
Release Date – 1994
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 3/5
Moonbeam Entertainment, with Empire and Full Moon alike, were a big part of my childhood. I remember renting movies like Puppet Master, Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Prehysteria! a lot when I was younger. I have a lot of fond memories watching these movies with my grandmother while my dad was out of town a lot. I remember the first time I watched Dragonworld. It was one of the few Moonbeam films that I didn’t rent and actually watched on cable.
I believe it was on the original run of the Sci-Fi Channel before the rebranding. I remember seeing the Moonbeam logo and immediately giving it my full attention. It was a fun one but rather predictable even for my younger self. I picked the DVD up several years ago but never revisited it until now. When Full Moon announced the release of the blu I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let some nostalgia rush over me. I reached out to my friends over at MVD and they were kind enough to send a copy my way.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows the young John McGowan (Mead) who is sent to Scotland to live with his grandfather after his parents perish in an automobile accident. His grandfather is stuck in his old ways and raises John on them. However, John has no normal Scottish childhood when he makes a wish on a magic tree and is granted a baby dragon as a companion. The two grow up together and become the best of friends but when a documentary filmmaker doing a film on haunted castles uncovers the dragon he suggests that John lease him to a wealthy investor to help cover back taxes on the castle. Soon, the wealthy man takes full control of the dragon after John signs a shady contract for him to risk his life to save his best friend. **Spoiler alert**
Dragonworld is a corny children’s film with some cheesy effects and cliched characters but it’s a film I would pick over the bigger budgeted movies from it’s time like Air Bud and Little Giants. It’s not as fun to me as the original Prehysteria! but it’s still up there with some of my favorite films from my childhood.
The acting in this one is great. In fact, it’s probably one of the better acted Moonbeam film I’ve seen. You have a small role from Uh Huh in the live action Little Rascals film from the same era before we are given several memorable performances from some seriously gifted cast. I like the cliched and campy back stories and characters that the cast gives us.
The story for this one is painfully predictable but still just as enjoyable. The movie is straight forward and the viewer knows exactly what is going to happen before it happens. Even as a kid I knew how the film was going to play out. With that being said, the journey is so much fun. I’ve seen this film a dozen times easily and I still find myself glued to the screen. It does drag it’s feet a few times during the middle aspect of the film but it’s nothing that takes away from the experience.
Finally, the film has some extremely horrible visual effects and some fun and campy practical effects. The visuals are pure shit but I loved the look of the dragon and the puppetry. Overall, Dragonworld is another favorite of mine from my childhood and I love seeing it get the blu release it deserves. I highly recommend picking this one up.
Original Moonbeam Videozone
Enter the Dragon: In Conversation with Charles Band and Ted Nicolaou