Film Corner: Dragonphoenix

The Dragonphoenix Chronicles

Ok, that last movie was serious and sad, and I want something awful to laugh at. Let's try again. I feel we can't go wrong with DRAGONPHOENIX CHRONICLES, which I was certain we've seen based on the name but I don't recognize the description??

"In an Age of Darkness, the mighty Dragonphoenix Empire rules the World of Elebros with an iron fist. Dragar, a mighty warrior from the North, is a slave, taking part in brutal pit fights for the pleasure of the Empire's noblemen. His body is there, but his mind is back at his homeland and the wife he left behind."

I want to know what kind of over compensation is going on with "Dragonphoenix Empire". Either that, or it's a war of the roses thing where everything was fixed by marrying the two sides together. Dragon+Phoenix. ANYWAY, shut up Ana you ungrateful cow and just watch the pretty sparkle show, amirite, here we goooooo.

We open with a quote. "Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. -Ghandi" Ok, first of all it''s Gandhi. Second of all, does Gandhi exist in the Dragonphoenix world? Is this earth?

A man in manacles with wounds painted on him stumbles through the wilderness until a woman embraces him. "Why aren't you here?" she asks and fades away into the roar of a crowd. He's in a waiting area in anticipation of a gladiator match, apparently. He examines the Standard Issue Cheap Bone Pendant On Leather String which women give to men in fantasy movies before they're separated for years. The last movie had one, too. I think every movie does. ...You know, @UrsulaV made some pretty pendants a while back for her etsy shop. Ursula, if you make any more of those, I want to buy one so I'll have a cool pendant to give a guy if we're suddenly separated for 20 years., ok. The sound effect here is telling my ears that we're in a standard round colosseum-esque arena with a huge crowd cheering the fight. My EYES are telling me that this is two guys in a park, with about thirty people on some baseball bleachers nearby. Amount of disorienting: HIGH.

The guards are in Arthurian plate mail, the crowd is dressed in everything from Roman togas to...Is that Robin Hood?? A chick wearing one of those elf-jewel-headband things that puts a teardrop crystal on your forehead makes a thumbs-down signal for the gladiator to kill. We've got a castle facade, Ren Faire pan flutes subtitled "medieval music", ladies in velvet gowns, and......a waitress in a Roman toga with a hem that dangles an inch from her vajayjay (proper medical terminology) so I HAVE COSTUMING QUESTIONS.

The king and his daughter want to inspect the gladiator slaves and the writing is making me writhe. "His tribe killed lots of our men," the king observes of the protagonist. "Horrible tribe." Lots of your men, eh? So none of your women and children, so YOU were invading them and not the other way around? I mean, I guess you're an evil empire but I question your offended tone.

The princess demands him purchased and bathed for her and Daddy is super supportive of this, lolsob. Ok then. I mean, I guess just because he's evil doesn't mean he can't be supportive of his evil daughter being evil, it's just so random?? They take his manacles off to bathe him, and he kills the guards, makes a shushy finger at the servant girl, and runs off at full speed. SONIC, HE CAN REALLY MOVE!

King Dad is giving Prince Son a gentle ribbing about his being in love with a slave instead of the rich girls at court and I can't tell if this is plot relevant or ad libs or what. Oh, lol, oh my god. King Dad tells Prince Son not to leave his sister alone with all these sycophants in the palace, then we cut to the forest where Escaping Gladiator runs into Prince Son and the aforementioned slave who presumably have sneaked away for kissy time. WHAT A WILD COINCIDENCE. Oh never mind, it's not the slave, it's his sister; I'm just shit at faces. Also I don't think I would cling to my brother in quite THAT manner, no matter how frightened I were.

The king walks up while the Gladiator holds the Princess hostage. Where is everyone else?? Why did all the royalty just wander outside the castle gates??? THE PRINCE'S NAME IS OCTAVIUS BECAUSE OF COURSE. THAT CLASSIC MEDIEVAL NAME. I have a theory that they wanted to do a Roman movie, but they only had medieval props, so they tried to fantasy smush them together. King Dad is yelling at people like he just snorted a fistful of angry cocaine, and it's nice to have some emotion enter the movie at last.

It's a sunny day!

A thunderstorm is coming!

A lone scout tastes snow!

All that happened in the same five minutes, apparently.

I don't really understand his motive for KEEPING the Princess. He's literally having to drag her, which slows him down, and the king swore he'd be dead either way (which seems an unwise thing to admit, for a doting parent). I'd cut her throat and call it a day, but he isn't--yet he isn't so chivalrous he wouldn't slap her face when she got mouthy, so......why are we keeping her alive? One reason, that's all I ask. Maybe he wants a tauntaun if it snows, that's literally all I got. Sorry!

I'm forming a hypothesis that the line between good writing and bad is whether the characters have REASONS for the plot things they do.

The king is wearing a suit of armor that looks realistic in the sense that it looks like it was made for someone 20 years younger but who is going to tell an evil king that he looks silly in his old soldier uniform. His son, in contrast to Dad's plate, is wearing leather studded armor. Maybe he's got levels in a mage class. Some, but by no means all, of the army are wearing assassin's creed hoods and cloaks. You might think the deceased peripheral vision would be a hindrance, but you need to stay warm on these hot sunny days.

"Anyone who falls behind gets no food!" bellows the EVIL EMPEROR and I'm like really that's all? If I skip dinner I can go home and miss out on a forced march? Ow, my uh ankle. The tracker lost their trail in the SNOWY MOUNTAINS and now the gladiator is by a sunny sandy sea level beach so I'm...?

He's.......gonna pause and take a little sit-nap. Uh. [TW: Rape] The princess tries to convince him to rape her and I usually despise this trope* (it's not a compliment!!) BUT JUST THIS ONCE I don't hate it because she's trying to distract him so she can beat him over the head with a rock. *Yeah, it's a trope.

The rock doesn't work and they keep walking. Now it's night and raining and they rest. The army passes by, but they can't hear her muddled yells through the rain. The king demands to know how it's possible they haven't found him when he "sealed off every way in and out". Of...the country?? Borders don't work that way, dude. Especially medieval borders. Maybe he means he sealed off all the entrances to the park they're filming in.
If you can't outrun the pursuers (and he can't because....why??) I'd wait for them to lose interest. Hole up somewhere with water and wait. They don't have dogs, gods only know why not. Medieval people had dogs. "He's got the home advantage; he knows the land well". NO HE DOES NOT!! HE IS LITERALLY A FOREIGNER WHO WAS CAPTURED AND TAKEN STRAIGHT TO YOUR BIGGEST CITY IN ORDER TO FIGHT IN AN ARENA. Actually, that WOULD be a good reason to keep this chick alive, if she knew the land from, like, hunting or something.

The...the emperor is complaining that he has a shitty makeshift army with him and he needs his real army and this is obviously some nuance of world building they neglected to inform us about. Maybe the real army is all on vacation this week, that's nice that he gives them ample time off. Charmingly, their map looks like something a child would draw. Apparently, all these soldiers are freelancers and the regular army is elsewhere. WHY? FUCK YOU IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY.

A running montage, and the Princess seems to be cooperating with her own captivity now?? I guess?? Maybe Stockholm syndrome is setting in. His people throw boys into the woods for two weeks and only the strongest survive, what is "300" we've never heard of them or Spartans, haha no we're uhhhh Swartvens. Yeah.

In.....possibly a completely different movie, two plate armored soldiers look for traces of the Empire (uhh? Usually Empires are big fucking things that leave plenty of trace.) and are surprised by a LARPing wizard with a staff. "Where is the fortress!!?" Did.....did the wizard remove the fortress? Is this another movie? (Hey, remember that whole dragonphoenix thing? That has never once come up.)

"General, I don't think he understands our language." (Direct quote)
"Don't be stupid, Kyle, he's obviously just being dramatic." (Paraphrase, but I'm not wrong)

Oh sorry, it's not a staff it was an axe. The angle was confusing.

WHY IS THERE A GIANT SKULL CAVE. Was that there the whole time????? They're having some kind of music rave in the giant skull cave. I...ok I think...OKAY, I THINK I KNOW WHAT'S SUPPOSED TO BE GOING ON. The Emperor split his forces. Prince Son and the Freelancers were to keep following the gladiator. Emperor and the Regulars went North to ....I guess head him off at the pass? But when they got North, the empire outpost was gone and they've been brought to the skull cave to talk to the northern leader.

I GUESS these are fantasy Britons since the Empire is fantasy Romans????? Or maybe not, since Fantasy Briton says he serves the Empire and will totally help with this whole kidnapped daughter thing.

"I've seen the way you look at us. Like were less than you," the freelance tracker says lovingly to the PRINCE HEIR to the EVIL EMPIRE. This empire is insufficiently evil!!!! Kylo Ren wouldn't be talked to in this manner and he's not even a prince! The freelancers are reminiscing about past battles and singing so the prince can learn an important lesson about friendship. Nobody is going to believe that if I don't video tape it, so here. Proof I'm not lying.

They have steampunk guns now. Of course they do. OF COURSE THEY DO. Well, Prince Son fucked everything up, there was a shitload of fighting, and a bunch of people I didn't care about died. The princess ran off, and Prince Son and Gladiator went over a cliff together.

[TW!!!! Sexual Assault] Brother instantly finds the Princess because it's not like this is a big forest or anything, and there's suddenly an incest backstory and the prince very graphically begins raping / trying to rape his sister. MASSIVE TONAL SHIFT from the rest of the movie. The princess yells for the gladiator to help her and he comes running. At least he died relatively quickly. But that was all totally unnecessary. What the fuck.

In the bone cave, a shirtless man summons a sexy ren faire witch.

"I am a General of the Empire!" yells the Emperor King. I'm so confused. Is this guy NOT the emperor-king? Is he just a noble? Did I profoundly misunderstand? Do I care? No, I do not. The Gladiator tells the Freelancer to take the girl, but she's discovered feminism and refuses to go back to her father. They have a travel montage where the gladiator teaches her swords. Now it's a buddy movie.

The sexy witch wafts about the forest looking for the girl, I guess. I still don't understand why the Skull Cave guy is helping the Emperor dude. Princess ships herself with Gladiator. Freelancer ships Princess with Gladiator. Gladiator keeps repeatedly pointing out that he's TRYING TO GET HOME TO HIS WIFE, GUYS.

One hour in, someone says "dragonphoenix" and it's as awkward as you'd think.

Undead. Ok.

They split the party and it was gonna be a total party wipe, so the witch had to wander away because otherwise the campaign would have to restart and nobody wanted that. The Gladiator finds his wife and she seems entirely emotionless so that's alarming. Is it the Witch in disguise? Or maybe she's just unsure how to act given this situation where she's....apparently the girlfriend of the Skull Cave guy, and possibly drugged??

Skull Cave guy has a patron goddess or something, and I guess magic powers, and everyone is talking in a monotone to convey seriousness and I'm asleep now or maybe dead. LUCKILY, the gladiator is taken right past his two former party members on the way to his execution. Lord cthulhu who sleeps in the deep, this fantasy world is the size of a napkin.

There are three full moons in this world, which you'd think would make a sneak attack in shiny silver armor a bad idea. Put some mud on, you shitty ranger.

[TW!!!!!! Domestic Violence] JESUS. Gladiator is freed, and goes back to his wife, and brutally strangles her to death as punishment for betraying him to the MAGIC WARLOCK WORKING FOR A GODDESS who for all we know may have brain washed her. It's really graphic and awful. And there's, like, VICTORY MUSIC while he's doing it.


Fuck this terrible movie.

You win some, you lose some. Sigh.

Oh my god, and the bad guy LITERALLY murders his entire tribe to power up his final form for the boss fight, so the wife could've died THEN and it been a cheap fridge motivation for the hero!!!! They had an easy trope way they could've gone and instead they made it a million times WORSE. I could write a better movie than this on the goddamn toilet, the bar is that low.


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