|And that certainly complicates the situation.|
When the dragon takes over, Arman is trapped inside, and cannot control the dragon's murderous actions, but as a man he wants to help Mira escape. So while the two wait for Igor, Mira's fiancé, to be led to the island by Mira's love for him, Mira teaches Arman how to live like a human, in the hope that he can learn to control the beast inside him. It's not really a spoiler to say that the two grow close and begin to develop feelings for each other. This is a fairytale after all, and more or less follows the plot structure of Beauty and the Beast.
What makes this story different is... practically everything else. I hardly even know where to begin. Well, first, the movie is Russian, so there's an overall unusual, non-mainstream tone over the whole thing. It feels exotic. The script is poetic in a non-uppity way, and some of the lines actually took my breath way. Just simple lines of dialogue. At the beginning of the movie someone says, "They had tears where their eyes should have been, and fear where their hearts should have been..." and something about the simple beauty of that stunned me. The script also hits the romance in a similar straightforward fashion. And it gives plenty of wit, remembering to have fun too.
|Also there's great music. Especially the song that is sung that summons the dragon.|
The next thing to leave an impression on me was the visual. This movie is top to bottom one of the most consistently gorgeous films I've ever seen. It achieves this by starting out with striking visuals in sets, locations, costumes, and even casting. The snowy lake-town Mira is from is full of black white and red contrast. Then Arman's island is actually the massive skeleton of an ancient dragon. The jaw juts up into the air as a tower, full of rooms inside his head. I have never seen anything like it; yet, it's so simple, like the most natural thing ever. I could stare at it for hours even without a plot going on around it.
And then everything is shot with wonderful attention to detail. Lovely framing, tight focusing, immaculate use of color; everything in the movie is so beautiful, yet the cinematography puts effort into enhancing it all even further. Some of the shots they got in there knocked my socks off. Slow motion is used in excess, and that's usually something that bothers me, but here it did such a nice job elevating the mood of the scenes that used it, I hardly even noticed. And clearly, a ton of effort and care was put into the creation of the dragon and the fantasy world, because the effects are great throughout.
|Doesn't this make you want to die of happiness because it's so impossibly beautiful??|
Then comes character. At the beginning of the film, Mira comes across as a petty little child, bordering on a brat, and when she's first kidnapped she starts getting whiny in a way I thought was going to irritate me for the rest of the movie. But, she actually changes. Actually. Really. Changes. At one point she tells Arman that she can be very annoying, and the self awareness of that turned the tide. From then she quickly develops into a thoroughly likable heroine, and I was impressed at how she seems to physically mature as well. Arman is a pretty classic Romance love interest: handsome, grumpy, kind, dangerous, tragic past. He hits all the checkpoints. But he never becomes too cliché or boring. A classic trope done well.
The romance in this movie is so sweet. I've always been wary of the romance genre because it steers so easily into sentimental cheesiness, and even easier into inappropriateness. I went into it blind of its content level and was surprised at how family-friendly it was. It would get a PG-13, and that only due to an inconvenience where Arman's clothes burn off every time he turns into the dragon. Nothing we weren't subjected to in Wonder Woman. But back to the point: That this movie is really, really sweet. It sounds so weird to say that because if I'd heard that before watching this, it might have made me consider not watching. "Sweet" in a romance films equals "sappy and childish and cringe-worthy" right? Well, no.
|It's just sweet like... romantic. Actually romantic.|
Like with the rest of the film, its romance is done simply, and with honesty. It might not hit the nail square on the head with its message on love, but it means every word of it, and there's something rare and appealing to that kind of openness. And one last thing that might seem random, but I totally loved: You know how in movies girls will cut their hair with kitchen scissors and in the next scene it looks styled and fantastic? Well in this, Mira cuts her own hair and then spends the rest of the movie with a choppy, lopsided haircut. They made sure it was still stylish and pretty of course, but in a convincingly accidental way. I was so impressed.
I am Dragon is currently stream-able on Amazon, and I recommend it as an ideal fairytale in almost every way. Beautiful, fantastic locations, characters that you care for and want to see succeed, a familiar but unique plot full of bold and memorable imagery, sweeping romance, musings on true love, and, most importantly, princesses and dragons. A true gem indeed.
This sound lovely, I have a few more days of my Amazon Prime trial, so I just might have to watch this!.ReplyDelete
Cool, if you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! (& if you do, you should come back and let me know what you thought!) :)Delete
I watched it, wow. That was different. I have only seen a tiny tiny amount of foreign films, so the uniqueness is intriguing. And Russia always seems so mysterious (although not usually in a good way). It was beautiful and I love the fairytale type plot, the simplicity. Hearing the Russian was interesting too. I mentioned it to my sisters, and I know one wants to watch it, and I want to see what she thinks of it. I think I might have to buy it.Delete
This makes me so happy, oh my goodness. I'm glad you liked it, and very glad that I'm not crazy for noticing how uniquely beautiful and simple it is! I was half-wondering if I was blind to how cliche it is, because it seems like it would be... but it just isn't!Delete
I absolutely love your review, and agree with you on every point. When I first discovered the film on Amazon, I actually watched it 4 times in 24 hours. Then I started raving about it to everyone I know! My son and his family watched it with me, and every one of them (even my 16-year-old grandson!) loved it. Then I got my younger brother (who sees nearly every film released, at the theater, and is quite highbrow in his opinions) to watch it with me, and he raved about it afterward. We must have spent an hour discussing the cinematography, the luscious look and feel to the entire production, the incredible musical score, and on and on. This has – overnight – become one of my favorite movies of all time. And I still haven’t gotten tired of taking it all in again and again.Delete
Thanks so much! That's awesome I'm glad you found it -- and thanks for sharing your experience, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one out there who appreciates this gem. Your description is making me want to watch it again so bad!Delete
Loved this movie and I don't understand why it failed at the box officeReplyDelete
I guess most people don't know that it exists, which is a real tragedy!Delete
Stumbled upon this gorgeous gem of a story today. At first I just added it to my watchlist and was going to save it for later because I was too migrainey to deal with subtitles. But then I couldn't get the trailer out of my head and that image of Arman spreading his arms as he turns into a dragon to catch Mira. So I strapped ice to my head and watched it anyway. How utterly beautiful. Very simple--I would have liked more subplot with Igor or something--but the simplicity turned out to be a good thing because they focused on the main story and told it well instead of spreading themselves thin by trying to do too much. I respect that storytelling decision. And even though I have Prime, I immediately bought the blu ray. I obsessively collect fairytales and this one is going next to Christophe Gans' 2014 Beauty and the Beast. And I completely agree, Sarah--those lines at the beginning..."They had tears where their eyes should have been, and fear where their hearts should have been..." Those lines thrilled and haunted me. Beautiful film.ReplyDelete
That's pretty much how I found it too, but minus the migraine. After watching the trailer I just couldn't watch anything else! I agree about the stuff with Igor. It would have been neat if it had been more fleshed out there, but at the same time there wasn't really space for it without distracting from the wonderful and intimate simplicity! If it ever leaves Prime I'll definitely have to buy it too. Oh yes, I've seen that one too. They do make a great pair! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!Delete
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Please share your list of fabulous fairytale musts!Delete
I absolutely love this movie. I was unaware it would be in Russian,yet,the actors made the language melodic. I saw this movie on amazon it would always arrest my attention, but for some reason, I wouldn't watch it.ReplyDelete
I finally gave into the pull to watch this move and boy, oh boy, am I glad! The visuals were superb! The acting was pretty good too. The song to summon the dragon was beautiful. But, I liked best, when Mira sung it at the end. I am still wondering what that litte animal that looked like a racoon was. The dragon was believable. Didn't look cheap. Two thumbs up!
I'm glad you got around to watching it and enjoyed it! Yes, melodic is great way to describe the dialogue. It really amazed me sometimes. Agreed, when Mira sings the song at the end I got chills. I guess the critter was just a fantasy animal? They never explain it, but it sure was cute. Thanks for the comment, Vanessa!Delete
It is mesmerizing and beautiful. A wonderful love story and visually stunning. I loved the Russian and now want to study more. Definitely a must see.ReplyDelete
I completely agree Suzanne! Its the genuine article. Thanks for commenting!Delete
Do you know the name of the summoning song? It's so beautiful, I'd buy it if I could find it.ReplyDelete
Sadly no, and I found the soundtrack on SoundCloud (here) but it doesn't appear to be included. I expect it's not available outside of the movie. :/Delete
how to watch this movie freeReplyDelete
in good print
Loved this movie, but one thing that has me baffled. What is the significance of the bead necklace that Mira finds in the mud, while she is in “the pit”? No mention of it during the rest of the film, yet the scene indicated that it should have some significance.ReplyDelete
I think it was when she realizes that the other taken girls were also kept in the pit, and died there.ReplyDelete