Am I the last honest critic alive in cyberspace? I think if you peruse my portfolio of reviews you’d have to conclude that I’m almost unreasonably fair with countless small releases that otherwise wouldn’t get decent coverage. All I ask is that (A) the story make sense; (B) the performances be compelling enough to hold my interest; and (C) show me something special. Those are really pretty acceptable requirements of any motion picture or direct-to-DVD release to aim for, and I would hope folks could easily line up behind such simple benchmarks. Still – if the web is any indication – DRACANO should be one of the best films you’ve never seen, much less heard of.
Well – reputation be damned – I’m here once again to let you know things ain’t what they seem.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Out of nowhere, Washington State’s Mount Baker goes kaboom, releasing plumes of molten ash and burps of molten lava as well as a wealth of dragons. It seems these vicious creatures have been in a kind of stasis in crispy-looking cocoons, and the explosive might of the volcano has finally released them from their hibernation. Enter Professor Simon Lowell (played by the reliable Corin Nemec) and his plucky teenage daughter Heather (Mia Faith): it seems the good teacher has designed a seismology-based instrument named Kronos that can be blamed as a scapegoat by the US government for having caused the eruption. Lowell is suspended along with his college Carla Simms (the voluptuous Victoria Pratt), but – before this is over – the man and his invention may be all that stands between mankind and its pending extinction!
As is often the case with these direct-to-DVD releases, DRACANO is the kind of thing that sounds much better than it is. This isn’t to say that it’s awful; rather, it’s just painfully uninteresting. Everything here progresses surprisingly at the emotional level of the latest television commercial as characters are introduced essentially as stereotypes that fit the pre-described limitations of screenwriter Keith Shaw’s one-dimensional script. I won’t belabor the point, as I think this is probably the kind of flick you think it is based on the promotional art: dumb to the point of silly fare that networks like the Syfy Channel scarf up because it’s cheap.
What I did find a bit alarming is that even though Nemec and Pratt aren’t exactly top drawer talent these days, they in particular appear to be showing up solely for a paycheck here. Everything they do seemed so detached from the premise that I’m not sure they wanted this to be anything more than a meal ticket. Nemec seems particularly fatigued throughout most of it – very disappointing given his character remains front-and-center from start-to-finish – and Pratt has done better work in infomercials. Faith – bless her young heart – at least gives it an honest attempt: her annoying teenage daughter performance at least remains annoying and teenage for the purposes of the whole affair, though even she ends up being shoehorned into dumb-dumber-and-dumbest plot developments in the flick’s big finish.
DRACANO (2013) is produced by Odyssey Media, Pulser Productions, Rogue State, and The Cartel. DVD distribution is being handled by Origin Releasing, LLC. As for the technical specifications, this modestly produced film retains mostly TV-grade sights and sounds from start-to-finish, though the special effects sequences looked surprisingly homemade at times. (FYI: that’s never a good thing.) Lastly – if it’s special features you want – then be prepared for the disappointment: there aren’t any.
(NOT REALLY) RECOMMENDED. Ugh. Flat, uninspired acting by two normally tolerable leads make DRACANO a disaster of nearly epic proportions. Still, I’ve always had a fondness for folks like Nemec and Pratt, so I’ll probably be there should they turn up as nerdy lovebirds in some other stinkfest. Disappointingly video game graphics really killed even the sequences I normally like, and the so-bad-it’s-bad script never tries to be anything more than what it is.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Origin Releasing provided me with a DVD copy of DRACANO by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more