Dragonheart Vengeance (2020) | Directed by Ivan Silvestrini
Written by Matthew Feitshans | Based on characters created by Patrick Read Johnson, Charles Edward Pogue | Starring Helena Bonham Carter, Joseph Millson, Jack Kane
Follows Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire (2017)
The latest Dragonheart was only released this year, but continuity wise it takes place between Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse (review) and Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire (review). This is a standalone film however, and the only mention to a previous film in the series occurs during the opening minutes, when it explained that this story focuses on one of dragons born from the dragon eggs in Dragonheart 3.
Dragonheart Vengeance is a film of Dragonheart firsts in many regards, and I wonder if this will be a new direction for the franchise; focusing on the dragons that left Britannia. This dragon, Siveth (voiced by Helen Bonham Carter), is the first female dragon in the series, the first to be white in design, and the first to breath ice exclusively. The overall dragon design looks cheap and friendly, but doesn’t get much screentime as Siveth can now change into other animals. A reason for this may have been given but it’s such a break with tradition, I didn’t buy into the idea. Although, I can remember that Draco could change into stone in the franchise – a camouflage technique – this addition makes Siveth seem all powerful. But there were no big battles to fully demonstrate Siveth’s powers, which makes it seem like the dragon’s shapeshifting abilities were expanded for cost purposes.
The reasoning behind why a dragon gives their heart has changed slightly in the prequels to include sharing out of respect. However, Dragonheart Vengeance has the most unbelievable reason yet, as its not earned but given to save an innocent life. Siveth’s character is similar to that of a superhero with their ‘thou shall not kill’ attitude and moral code, which explains why they shared their heart. Interestingly there are no knights as either supporting or main characters in Dragonheart Vengeance, so the old code – a knight is sworn to valour, his blade defends the helpless, his might upholds the weak, etc – is not mentioned once. In fact, Siveth is the moral compass to Lukas (Jack Kane), the main character. Jack Kane and Helen Bonham Carter pull this dynamic off well together.
Siveth is an important part of the story, but the main plot focuses on Lukas’ quest to avenge his parents; the stereotypical young peasant character in most fantasy films. His ally, Darius, is a Jack Sparrow rip-off with his cavalier way and mannerisms, although I must admit that his limited ability to speak to animals is a unique trait. It’s a shame Lukas doesn’t have any unique skill, talent or attribute like this. Although, after a few brief lessons in swordfighting, he can somehow outfight an expert in competition…
Overall Dragonheart Vengeance breaks with past Dragonheart tradition in number of ways; including no mention of the old code and a dragon who can shapeshift into anything! The central plot of the movie is fine, but the characters are simplistic and there are multiple examples of lazy writing; like how easy it was for Lukas to get the girl!
To conclude, all Dragonheart prequels thus-far have cheaper special effects, so there is less onscreen dragons, but as the series has progressed, each film has become more original and are still enjoyable for fans of the franchise. If you only wanted to watch one of the prequels, then Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire is the film I’d recommend, as it has the most character development and the tensest action.