Wyvern (2009)

Dragon film never drags on

The term “made for television movie” has some negative connotations. Whenever I used to hear the term, I would envision melodramatic messes about adoption, marital strife and dying football players.

However, that all changed when I heard of the movies being broadcast on American cable station Syfy. Titles such as Blood Monkey, Frankenfish, Sharktopus and Man-Thing instantly intrigued me. This week I’ll be taking an in-depth look at one of the films that premiered on Syfy, Wyvern, which recently made its way onto home video.

WyvernA wyvern is a dragon-like creature that is the furthest thing from the minds of the residents of Beaver Mills, Alaska at the start of the film. They are preparing for the town’s annual Winter Solstice event, which marks the end of a several months-long period of constant sunlight. We are introduced to all of the primary characters, led by Jake Suttner, an ice trucker with a troubled past, who is just in town to kill time until an insurance claim comes through. We also meet Claire, a cafe owner who fancies Jake. There’s is a classic love story, reminiscent of Casablanca or Pretty Woman – a man and a woman kept apart by the need to fight off killer dragons.

The residents of Beaver Mills are already going batty due to the non-stop sunlight, and are eagerly anticipating the Solstice event as a chance to let loose and have a ball. However, global warming once again ruins all of the fun. A wyvern that was imprisoned in ice for several lifetimes is released, and causes more damage within his first day of freedom then Lindsay Lohan did after her last jail stay. Jake, Claire, and a town full of colourful characters defend their turf in the most thrilling battle involving a dragon since Randy “Macho Man” Savage took on Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat at WrestleMania 3.

The one thing I found most refreshing about Wyvern is the way the dragon is presented. Dragons are killing machines. Their breath may be hot, but their hearts are cold. Yet every dragon I have seen on film in the last decade has been presented as friendly. From the Shrek series, to Eragon and to How to Train Your Dragon, these films would all have us believe that dragons are cuddly creatures who should overtake dogs to be man’s best friend. Well, if I saw a dragon in my backyard, I would not say, “Aww, isn’t that cute. Come over here so I can pet you.” No, I would scream “Sweet bearded hobo, why is there a mother-effin’ dragon in my backyard? Good God almighty, I’m going back inside before he chars my ass with a fiery exhale!!” So kudos to the team behind Wyvern for making dragons badass again.

Wyvern is a no-brainer to recommend. My sole reason for watching films is to be entertained. I am not looking to be challenged, I don’t want to have to think. I just want to enjoy myself. Wyvern allowed me to do so, thoroughly. That’s not to say that it is a brainless romp. For one thing I had no idea what a wyvern was before watching this film. Plus, there is an environmental message present as well. The creature is unearthed due to the melting of ice caps. The potential for dragon attacks is going to scare more people about the threat of global warming than an Al Gore PowerPoint presentation masquerading as a movie.

So be sure to check out Wyvern – a tremendously fun film that just might save the world.

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