Dragons aren’t particularly well known for being festive creatures. Lizards, even magical ones, aren’t the sort of thing you expect to see in the snow-covered clichés of a Christmas kids’ movie. Arguably, being enormous winged metaphors for lust, wrath and greed, they’re probably a better analogy for Black Friday, but we digress. The Christmas Dragon is a low budget fantasy movie that brings together two entirely different sorts of magic to tell an overly-long story of Christmas, elves and fire-breathing flying lizards.
All the basic elements for a mindless live-action Christmas movie are present. We’ve a band of plucky orphans, distant land where the spirit of Christmas has been forgotten, some villainous children-hating slavers, a small horde of mooks, and, of course, Santa. The plot revolves around Adyen, a young girl who is orphaned in the first few minutes of the movie. The plucky youngster grows up still believing in magic and is firm in the knowledge that if you wish really, really hard, Santa will bring you the things you want. Provided you’re well behaved, of course.
The Christmas Dragon is an interesting mix of seasonal cliché and fantasy tropes, bundled together with Americans doing bad English accents whilst being dressed in the finest quality LARP kit. There’s also a peculiar amount of eyeliner on the faces of the cast, which is never well explained. Presumably cheap make-up is readily available in pseudo-European fantasy kingdoms. Still, the scary bits aren’t too scary and the peril is mild. This is a good thing - it’s a children’s movie and parents should be relatively confident that their children won’t have nightmares. The special effects are convincing enough, though they aren’t going to win any awards. To put it another way, the monsters will be suspiciously familiar to anyone who’s seen plenty of low-budget fantasy features.
As tools for distracting the young fantasy fan in your life go, The Christmas Dragon is a reasonable choice and makes for a nice change of pace. It’s not memorable or clever, but it is fun and certainly not boring. Reasonable low budget family fare for those fond of dragons and magical silliness.
THE CHRISTMAS DRAGON / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: JOHN LYDE / SCREENPLAY: DAVID ADDANTE, SHYLAH ADDANTE / STARRING: TALON G. ACKERMAN, HEATHER BEERS, DAVE BRESNAHAN, JACOB BUSTER, DAVID DEVILLIERS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW