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Jabberwock: Dragon Siege is a strange beast, for one its title is almost teasing two kinds of fans. We have the Jabberwock itself, a creature based on a poem by Lewis Caroll made out of pure gibberish and not really meant to mean anything at all then we have dragon, to catch the eyes of fans of the big winged reptiles. I can imagine Alice in Wonderland fans picking up this film and then wondering why Alice is not mentioned at all.
Jabberwock: Dragon Siege in fact is the story of a small village that is under siege by the mythical Jabberwock, a creature of fairy tale used to frighten children at night before they go to sleep (and the parents wonder why they have nightmares?). It is a story of two brothers, one the mighty warrior hell-bent on killing the creature and the other, a more peaceful type who just wants to build armour and let everybody else do the killing. As the situation worsens though Francis, the more peaceful of the two finds that he must rise to the fore and fight the great beast, but does he have what it takes?
Now what surprises me is that for a film that has Syfy written all over it it’s actually entertaining. It is a typical set up, CGI dragon shrieking at the camera a lot and the heroes waving their swords around as they do battle with it, but unlike many that use this method of film making it actually caught my interest. My argument with films that feature (in my opinion) bad CGI is that the CGI itself must compliment the story, not control it or damage it and I’m glad to say it succeeds to compliment in this film. The story is surprisingly strong, the creature is set up, the siege is set and throughout the tale there are heroic attempts to save villagers and plans made to trap the beast, and yes the CGI may not be the best but it does what it needs to do; create a monster that at least appears to provide a threat.
What may make Jabberwock: Dragon Siege actually work could be the acting talent at work. Not Oscar worthy by any means they still manage to do what is important and that is to create likable characters that go through a believable struggle to overcome their weaknesses. Tahmoh Penikett for example is Francis, the blacksmith who is unwilling to enter into battle and would rather defend the village while others rush off for glory, he plays the character as a calm collective man who only rises to the challenge when his family is in danger and feels he must honour his father. The fact that you grow to like his character for all his weaknesses shows a lot and is part of why the film works.
Far from perfect and probably one of those films you would find on TV late at night and watch if you can’t fall asleep it succeeds in the one thing it was created for and that is to be entertaining. It’s not made to be the crowning glory in the careers of the people who made it but it still stands up as something that will kill about an hour and a half. If you were a fan of the Hercules TV show then give this a try, I think that comparison shows just what to expect. For people who have never seen Hercules then just think people with swords fighting a big CGI dragon and managing to not make it suck; that simple really.
Jabberwock: Dragon Siege is released by Chelsea Films May 28th 2012