I often write articles that are designed to examine art and film in a more meaningful way. I try to analyze a given work for it's deeper meaning through its use of visuals, sound, and dialog. I try to examine artistic trends within the film industry that make each piece of film interesting. However, today I won't try to elevate what I'll be talking about. I just wanted an excuse to talk about dragons in film and why they are awesome.
Dragons are those fictional creatures from myth and folklore that almost every culture has. From China to medieval Europe, from Japan to South America; most cultures have creatures that can often be viewed as dragons. Dragons have been a part of world culture for centuries, so it makes sense that they would find their way into our films. Throughout most of history dragons have been confined to books, stories, carvings, and paintings. However, film has brought them to life in ways that the people of the ancient world couldn't have dreamed of.
Modern film technology has brought these beasts of legend to life. Whether it be the stunning digital work on Smaug from the 'Hobbit' films, the animation used to create Toothless from the 'How To Train Your Dragon', or the combination of practical effects and puppetry to bring Vermithrax from "Dragonslayer" to life; dragons have cemented their place in film. Film has created original dragons that are as memorable as their medieval counterparts.
There are also different types of dragons in film that reflect our loves and our fears. Dragons like Toothless from "How To Train Your Dragon", Saphira from "Eragon", Draco from "Dragonheart", and Falkor from "The NeverEnding Story" are all examples of friendly dragons. These are the dragons that people wish to befriend and, in many cases, hope to jump on their backs and fly with one day. Dragons are such strange and creative creatures that deep down we want to be their friends and ride them like horses in the sky.
However, dragons like Smaug from the 'Hobbit' films and Vermithrax from "Dragonslayer" are the epitome of evil. They are the classically defined dragons who embody greed, evil, and death by stealing gold and maidens and killing/eating anyone who would stand in their way. Dragons are typically depicted as massive lizards with wing that can breath fire. If they existed in real life we probably would want them to be our friends, we'd want to run away from them. These are the great evil beasts that humans attempt to overcome through strength or wit.
Dragons, like all folklore creatures, sadly don't exist, which is why we get excited when they are brought to life on the big screen. Film dragons are the closest thing we will ever have to having real dragons (depending on whether science eventually allows us to create dragons from scratch). Dragons are the unreal come to life, they are great and terrible, magnificent and horrific, loving and hateful, brave and greedy. Dragons represent the magical and the wonder that is absent from the real world.