Dragonworld: The Legend Continues (1999)

AKA Shadow of the Knight

Starring Drake Bell, Tina Martin, Andrew Keir, James Ellis, Judith Paris, Constantin Barbulescu, Richard Trask

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Dragonworld: The Legend Continues might sound like a sequel to Full Moon’s Dragonworld, but no, it’s actually a prequel! The legend continues… in the past! In this particular case, though, the title seems to refer to the story line used to craft the film, continuing the legend from Dragonworld that explained how a baby dragon was suddenly in 1990s Scotland after all the dragons died out hundreds of years ago. This was one of my favorite parts of the original, so it was a great surprise to see it continued. This makes Dragonworld: The Legend Continues a more-than-worthy follow-up to Dragonworld, and in a lot of ways I actually like this one better.

John McGowan is roughly around age 11 or 12 in Dragonworld: The Legend Continues, and his grandfather Angus (Andrew Keir) is teaching him about the magical properties of their land. Angus attempts to show John the power of the ley lines intersecting underneath a circular grouping of stones, but this causes lightning to strike and crack the center stone. Unfortunately for the McGowans and their dragon Yowler, this stone was the prison of the evil knight MacClain (Constantin Barbulescu), AKA the guy who killed all the dragons. Immediately after being released, he sets out to finish what he started and kill Yowler.

Yowler, much like John McGowan, is roughly pre-teen age in Dragonworld: The Legend Continues. What does that mean for a dragon? Well, in this case it means that he is a fair bit smaller, and that he’s realized on-screen through the time-honored method of a man in a suit, instead of the multiple FX techniques that were used in the original. This is where the movie will probably fall apart for most people, because it really doesn’t look too hot. It’s like a cross between one of those goofy T-Rex costumes that are popular these days and the lake monster’s head from the TV Movie Return to Mayberry, resulting in something that looks like a reject from the Dinosaurs TV show. In terms of creating a believable illusion, it fails in spectacular fashion, but if you’re into B-Movies it’s actually a lot more enjoyable that it first appears. It’s not that it magically becomes effective over the course of the film, it’s more that the other elements, namely the story, pick up the slack.

Dragonworld: The Legend Continues is also a much darker film than Dragonworld. Instead of the villain simply wanting to capture Yowler and make loads of money from him, the Dark Knight MacClain wants to slaughter him and use his blood to open a portal to… do something even more evil. OK, so what he’s going to do with the blood was a little fuzzy, but in any case, it’s some dark, nefarious stuff that the heroes need to prevent at all costs. The knight is also quite the imposing, scary figure, so when he threatens or imprisons someone, it has weight to it. It’s a kids’ movie so there are usually definite lines that are not crossed, but this is a Full Moon kids’ movie, and they don’t have the same respect for these unspoken rules of decency.

They also addressed one of my logic issues with the original, which was very nice of them. The original film has a looming tax issue that is seemingly left unattended for at least 15 years, but certain things in this film explain it in a way that’s natural and complete. Not to leave that basic formula behind, though, “the man” also threatens the McGowan clan in Dragonworld: The Legend Continues. This time it’s a woman, Mrs. Churchill (Judith Paris), and she’s from Child Protective Services making sure that John is going to school and all that. I should also note that this sub-plot really blossomed into something I never expected it to be, so it’s actually a lot more than a simple redo of the tax problem in the first film.

I much preferred the story of Dragonworld: The Legend Continues, while Dragonworld is clearly the better made film. There’s a part of me that wishes the films were reversed, with the sequel receiving the bigger budget (and potentially making for a better film overall), but then I think about that man-in-a-suit Yowler and I second guess myself. Would I really wish him out of existence so easily? After everything we’ve been through? No, I would not. I’m happy it worked out as it did, allowing the world to be graced with the unique charm of a film dragon played by a man in a suit. You may not agree, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie I’ll be watching the related-to-Full-Moon film: The Brotherhood 3: Young Demons! See ya then!

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