Dragoncharm Test Film

Wraith - animatronic headIt’s nearly twenty years since I experienced the brief but intense rollercoaster ride that was the failed TV/film adaptation of my first novel, Dragoncharm. Bob Keen, an effects artist who’d worked on movies including Return of the Jedi and Hellraiser, was slated to direct the project, with his Pinewood-based company Image Animation creating a complete cast of dragon characters in both animatronic and computer-generated form.

I wrote about the project in an earlier blog post When Dragoncharm Went to Hollywood (Almost), so I won’t repeat myself here. What is new, however, is this short video of clips from the proof-of-concept film that Bob and his team made to try and raise capital. I guess these days it would be called “previsualisation” – a kind of rough-and-ready demonstration of what audiences might have been in for had the show ever spread its wings and left the ground.

4 thoughts on “Dragoncharm Test Film

  1. Fun stuff, Graham. Thanks for sharing.

    Judging from the previs, it looks as though Bob Keen and company would have been struggling with the same problem other talking-dragon filmmakers have — the challenge of placing readably human expressions and convincing lip-sync on the face of a lizard. It has been done, though, and one can only hope that the “Dragoncharm” effects team would have mastered it — though probably not, given that this was 20 years ago. At that point, only the high-priced heavyweights at ILM had managed it, with “Dragonheart.”

    I chuckled at the irony of a fire-breathing dragon reacting with classic “too-hot” expressions to the toasted treat proffered by his companion.

    1. Yes, I think their ambitions probably outstripped the capabilities of the day … and the realities of what a realistic budget would have allowed. Like the “Dragonheart” creators, they opted to foreshorten the muzzles of the dragons, to give them at least a fighting chance of approximating lip sync.

    1. It would have been fun, for sure. They were pitching it at a younger audience than the book was originally intended for – understandably, since these dragon books fall into a weird grey area between genres and age groups. I still maintain it’s possible to write “animal fantasy” (for want of a better term) for adults.

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