Dir: Ryan Little. US. 2011. 90mins


Herman Melville’s classic tale of Moby Dick gets the low-budget fantasy-adventure treatment in Ryan Little’s odd mish-mash of dragons, land-locked harpooners and an over-acting Danny Glover as a scarred Captain Ahab determined to take his revenge on a high-flying white dragon. The film gets a brief theatrical release in the UK prior to its probably far longer life on the DVD shelves.

As the advertising strap for the film says – this is ‘Moby Dick with Dragons!’…and there you have it.

The Age Of The Dragons is modestly entertaining fantasy fare that ticks plenty of obvious boxes – young TV star Carey Sevier in the lead role; sexy actress (Moroccan-born Sofia Pernas) to keep things spicy; a dash of special effects and martial arts and even a cameo from Brit B-movie action star Vinnie Jones – and at least resists any attempts to be overly pretentious.

Set in a fantasy world where dragons are hunted – apparently for some glowing liquid called ‘vitriol’ -  young hunters Ishmael (Sevier) and Queequeg (Kepa Kruse) sign-up on-board with Captain Ahab, a legendary figure rarely seen due to his burns but who is known for his obsession with dragons. In fact they are recruited by his adopted daughter Rachel (Pernas)…but that is really an excuse for a scene to show she can handle herself in a fight.

Also on-board is pipe-smoking harpoonist Stubbs (Vinnie Jones, playing his role with a smile rather than a snarl, which is a nice change) who happily recounts tales of past conquests – whether they be dragons or women.

They set ‘sail’ in an odd wooden boat-like land-cruiser (clearly it would have been too costly effects-wise for the film to have been set at sea…plus a dragon is no whale) that trundles across a snowy landscape as the motley crew search of the fire-breathing monsters.

There are the expected deaths, double-crosses and a little light romance between Ishmael and Rachel before we reach the showdown between Ahab and the dragon. It is all pretty much standard fantasy fare, though at least Danny Glover shouts and splutters to good effect as the barking-mad Ahab, while Sevier and Pernas make for a good-looking pairing.

Quite engagingly, no attempt is made to state where or when this dragonslaying tale might be set…it just gets on with things in its own modest fashion – though those who have read the book (or at least seen the Gregory Peck film) will know pretty much what to expect every step of the way. As the advertising strap for the film says – this is ‘Moby Dick with Dragons!’…and there you have it.

Production companies: KOAN, Cosmic Pictures, Bluefire Studios, Incentive Films, Metrodome,

International sales: KOAN, www.koaninc.com

Producers: McKay Daines, Steven A Lee

Executive producer: Gil Aglaure, Joe Pia, Peter Urie

Screenplay: McKay Daines, based on a story by Gil Aglaure, Anne K Black

Editor: John Lyde

Production designer: Debbie Farrer

Music: J Bateman

Website: www.ageofthedragonsmovie.com

Main cast: Danny Glover, Carey Sevier, Sofia Pernas, Vinnie Jones, Kepa Kruse, David Morgan, Larry Bagby