This past weekend I took the kids to a book fair at the local library. While we were there I let the kids each grab a few movies to take out. To my surprise I came across a DVD copy of the animated movie "The Flight of Dragons"!
If you're not familiar with this movie it was produced and directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. as a direct to VHS release in 1982. It wasn't until the movie was shown 4 years later in 1986 as the ABC Saturday Night Movie that I had known it existed. We taped the movie off TV onto VHS and watched it many times and it became one of my brothers and my favorite animated movies.
The story centers around a mystical realm and it's inhabitants who are losing their power due to man trusting more in logic than magic. Four powerful brothers meet to figure out what to do about this. Three of the brothers agree to seal off a part of the world as a retreat for these creatures to live and thrive away from humans, but the fourth brother wants to wage war on the humans and never concede victory. It is at this point that a quest is recommended to destroy the Red Wizard, so no harm comes to anyone. And who will lead this quest? Why Peter Dickinson, voiced by the late john Ritter of course! The quest is long and perilous, but if you are a fan of fantasy I think you will enjoy this film. Here are 5 things from the movie that I found the most fantastic!
1. James Earl Jones as Ommadon
James Earl Jones gives a great performance as the big bad guy in "The Flight of Dragons". His booming voice fits perfectly with the evil and menace of the character and every line he speaks makes you take notice. Jones has a commanding voice and he never let's it go to waste with this frightening character!
2. The Good Guys
Every quest needs a wide variety of skilled warriors with varying abilities to become victorious. Here we have Danielle the archer, Giles the elf, Sir Orrin the brave Knight and Gorbash the dragon who Peter is trapped inside!
3. The Bad Guys
Of course if you have some awesome good guys, you need some truly terrible bad guys for them to fight. The Flight of Dragons has some real memorable villains including Bryagh the devil dragon of Ommadon, the Ogre who guards the gates to Ommadon's realm, the brain melting Sand Murks and the Worm of Sligoff that oozes sulfuric acid. All of these adversaries are formidable foes for our heroes, but they have weaknesses that can be exploited. Each defeat brings the team closer to their goal of peace and a symbiotic relationship of logic and magic.
4. The Intro Song
The opening song is sung by Don McLean of "American Pie" fame. Once you hear it, it will be stuck in your head like the sounds of a Sand Murk! It is slow, melodic and fits the tone of this movie perfectly. I had not seen this movie in decades and I couldn't remember much about it, but I could hum this tune whenever I felt the need.
5. The Flight of Dragons Book
Peter Dickinson wrote this book back in 1979 and it isn't really a story book, but more of a book about how dragons could have existed and how they could achieve things like flight and fire breathing. This book takes a scientific approach to explain these items. The character of Peter Dickinson in the film takes this same approach when trying to figure out how to be a dragon and his character is even writing a book called The Flight of Dragons. It's a cool piece of literature to have that links directly to the story in the movie. You can find copies of this book for less than $10 on Amazon right now.
The Flight of Dragons is a great movie filled with action, adventure, great characters, excellent animation and even a little romance. It has elements to keep both kids and adults interested in the story. If you have not checked out this forgotten early 80s animated gem, You need to find a copy soon and take part in the magic. You won't be disappointed! Not convinced yet? Check out the trailer below and enjoy.