The downside of being all caught up on reviewing recent movies is that I didn’t have a new movie to review for today. I was standing in my room, trying to figure out what movie I was going to review for you today. My gaze shifted to the left and landed immediately on my DVD copy of Flight of Dragons. That’s when I decided that we were going to jump into the nostalgia pool. I grew up on this movie. My parents had recorded it from the TV on a betamax tape. I watched it countless times as a kid and was thrilled to have been able to add it to my DVD collection a few years ago. So, here we go.
Things aren’t go so great for Carolinus (Harry Morgan), the Green Wizard. His powers are waning and he feels that the era of magic is waning. He has a plan, though. He arranges a meeting with his brothers and tells them of his plan to create a realm of magic. Two of his brothers, Golden Wizard Lo Tae Zhao (Don Messick) and Blue Wizard Solarius (Paul Frees), are all on board with his plan. His final brother, Red Wizard Ommadon (James Earl Jones), sees only opportunity in this new era and swears on his red crown to hinder any efforts to start up this magical realm.
As happens in these kinds of movies, Carolinus must inspire a quest to take the red crown from Ommadon’s clutches. After consulting with Antiquity (Paul Frees), he discovers that he must get a man from the future to lead this quest. That man is Peter Dickinson (John Ritter).
Peter is a man of the 20th century. A scientist and self-proclaimed “dragon fanatic,” he actually accepts the idea of time travel and magic without much argument. He is teamed up with Sir Orrin Neville-Smythe (Bob McFadden) and one of Carolinus’ dragons, Gorbash (Bob McFadden). After a quiet conversation and kiss with Carolinus’ ward, Princess Melisande (Alexandra Stoddart), they’re ambushed by Ommadon’s dragon’ Bryagh (James Gregory). Magical hijinks ensue and Peter is “merged” with Gorbash, a man’s mind in a dragon body. A magical quest must start with three and Carolinus’ older dragon, Smrgol (James Gregory), is added in as a substitute. Finally, the quest begins.
While being over 30 years old, this movie hardly shows its age. Everyone loves a good story of a quest to triumph over evil. It’s a timeless, classic sort of story with which even kids today can easily engage. The voice acting is top-notch and the animation is still beautiful after all of these years. I quote this movie on a frequent basis and like trying to get all of my friends who haven’t seen it yet to see it so they can join me in my quoting.
I shouldn’t be surprised by how well this movie has held up. After all, it’s from Rankin/Bass and their movies have done a fantastic job of withstanding the test of time. With great music and an amazing theme song sung by Don McLean, you’ll be humming the themes from this movie for days after watching it. Someday, when I spawn, I’ll be sitting down and watching this with my kids. It’s a good family movie, but perhaps not for super-young kids. Sometimes, dragons and ogres are scary.
I love this movie. I have always loved this movie. Melisande was on the list of names I was nearly given by my parents. I don’t think they were naming me after Princess Melisande, but I would have totally said that when I was growing up. While there were only two female characters in this movie, they’re both pretty neat. I’ve mentioned Melisande, but there’s also Danielle (Nellie Bellflower). Danielle lives in the woods and oversees a band of elven thieves. She’s wicked with a bow and has fantastic red hair. I wanted to be her when I grew up. Well, she was one of my role models anyway.
As much as I occasionally think it’d be neat to have some sort of remake of this movie, I’m glad that no one else has touched this property. It’s perfect as-is. After all, I know a remake wouldn’t have James Earl Jones calling down doom and a flight of dragons on his foes. Man, if you watch the movie for no other reason than to hear that, you will be well-satisfied.