Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles didn’t exactly dispel my low expectations and while the acting by the more experienced primary actors came out fine, the supporting cast was absolutely atrocious to go along with some suspect CGI work, though I can forgive that keeping in mind this is a low-budget feature anyway.
Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles (2008)
Other | PG13 – 85 min. – $24.98 | November 23, 2010
Directed by: Pitof
Writer(s): Michael Konyves & Angela Mancuso (written by)
Cast: Amy Acker, Tom Wisdom, John Rhys-Davies, Arnold Vosloo
Features: Featurette, Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
THE MOVIE – 2.25/5
I felt going in that Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles wasn’t going to much of a film and it did not prove me wrong. This TV movie originally aired back in 2008 on where else by Syfy (which I still call the Sci-Fi Channel you yuppie bastards) and before I even knew that, it had all the earmarks of a cheap made-for-TV flick.
The movie centers on Princess Luisa (AMY ACKER), a tomboy in line to rule the kingdom of Carpia now under the leadership of King Augustin (ARNOLD VOSLOO). She’s daddy’s little girl and he allows her to do all sorts of things not suited for a princess like riding horses and putting herself into the fray of any fight, which is much to the displeasure of her mother. The tranquil and peaceful nature of the Carpia is quickly rocked when a fire-breathing dragon flies into town unleashing its burning fury on those in its path. In what is lazy writing, Luisa in a voiceover explains that the dragon continues to come back brining devastation and death with it and those left alive have almost nothing including food.
First thing wrong with this picture is, and this I can forgive, the visual effects are just plain bad from beginning to end, not the best thing when your central antagonists are two fire-breathing, chill-blowing dragons. In the middle of the film there’s supposed to be some epic battle between these two creatures but it was hardly thrilling. Now, the CGI during these scenes, by TV movie standards, is somewhat acceptable and on the level of an average video game, but given how unimpressive this scene/sequences makes you wonder why even bothered watching the movie in the first place (that is, if you’re into dragon stories and whatnot).
The second, and one that cannot be ignored, is some of the worst acting I’ve witnessed in quite a while. The main cast that includes Amy Acker of “Angel” fame, Tom Wisdom from 300, John Rhys-Davies from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Arnold Vosloo of The Mummy movies all come off well enough but it’s some of the supporting actors namely Ovidiu Niculescu as the human antagonist and Razyan Vasilescu as the traitor-in-the-midst villain both ham up the screen with little effect of either unintentional comedic moments or dramatic moments. Not to worry, I didn’t spoil anything with Vasilescu’s role as it’s pretty much telegraphed from his first scene so not too sure why they made so much out of the reveal.
I guess the most egregious reason this movie fails on most levels is thanks in no small part to infamous director Jean C. Comar or as we horrifically know him as Pitof (and I’d like to think is Uwe Boll’s long lost cousin). The issue at hand isn’t so much the look of the film as for a low budget fantasy/adventure, it looks pretty good but his (and I presume Dave Rock’s) editorial choices were jarring to say the least. One in particular that stood out was a talky scene between Luisa and her mother which one assume should be simple coverage shots but in the middle of the conversation it inexplicably changes angles for a brief moment and then back again to the coverage shots between the two women, it’s as if Pitof just needed to get a little more action even during dialogue scenes or something.
Fire & Ice may not be as awful as the trailer makes it look and even by Syfy standards, it’s not a complete wreck, that being said, it still isn’t even an average movie thanks to the sloppy storytelling (NEVER use voiceovers in the during the movie to advance the timeline) and some truly terrible acting primarily from the supporting cast.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1/5
Not much here except a Making-Of Featurette (16:43) and the Theatrical Trailer (1:39).
VIDEO – 3.5/5
Fire & Ice is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78 AR) and most of the time looks adequate with a smooth picture but other scenes were littered with pixilation problems. Colors look about right with no oversaturation and the detail level is decent enough.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is pretty good and fairly heavy as well. The dialogue levels were good while the action sequences also had a little depth to it, but not much. This is pretty much on par with other standard Dolby 5.1 soundtracks.
OVERALL – 2.25/5
Overall, Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles didn’t exactly dispel my low expectations and while the acting by the more experienced primary actors came out fine, the supporting cast was absolutely atrocious to go along with some suspect CGI work, though I can forgive that keeping in mind this is a low-budget feature anyway.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman