What's With All the Dragons?! Now It's "Temeraire"
by Alex Billington
September 12, 2006
Not that I really have anything against dragons… Don't get me wrong, I loved Dragonheart, unlike many people out there. But for some odd reason there seems to be a "cheesy" reaction creeping out from the internet wastelands anytime there is new talk of a dragon movie. The next upcoming dragon movie opening is Eragon in December. As is the case with most dragon movies, Eragon is adapted from a series of fantasy novels. Although the trailer is not out yet and barely any details have been revealed, we all know that the basic story of Eragon surrounds a boy and a dragon, and their connection.
The other latest news to come out involves mastermind fantasy director Peter Jackson and another novel series called "Temeraire". He has optioned the series and has commented on his interest in doing movies (as well as interactive entertainment) based off of the books.
"'Temeraire' is a terrific meld of two genres that I particularly love -- fantasy and historical epic," Jackson said. "I can't wait to see Napoleonic battles fought with a squadron of dragons. That's what I go to the movies for."
"As I was reading these books, I could see them coming to life in my mind's eye," Jackson said. "These are beautifully written novels, not only fresh, original and fast-paced, but full of wonderful characters with real heart."
As Jackson described, the story in the "Temeraire" series surrounds the a reimagination of the Napoleonic Wars complete with dragons and aviators, where a British naval Captain captures a ship with a dragon egg onboard. Eventually the dragon hatches and the Captain becomes the rider of the dragon that he names Temeraire. (Sounds awfully similar to the plot synopsis of Eragon.) Jackson does not yet know when production would start on Temeraire, however it is likely to be many years out, due to a number of other projects he is working on, including The Lovely Bones and The Hobbit.
I'm not yet sure whether to defend these dragon movies (specifically Eragon) or fight against them. I know that many people out there will agree that Hollywood needs more original ideas, or at least less sequels. And fortunately these dragon movies are only adapations and not sequels (yet). However after seeing the clips from Comic-Con and hearing a little about Eragon, I fear for it (and any upcoming dragon movies). They're going to be perceived as "cheesy" no matter who creates them or what the style is. Fox is even having a bit of trouble with Eragon and is spending extra time on the CGI with the dragon in order to attempt to keep away from this "cheesy" factor.
Either way it will be an interesting opening for Eragon. I look forward to seeing how that movie turns out as well as the future of Temeraire and other dragon-based movies. I'm sure there are many more movies (within a 10-year range on each side of 2006) with dragon "cameos" or dragons rampaging through scenes, but I've probably just forgotten them. So, if you know of any, write a comment with their names.