Dr. Wilda Reviews: The Dragon Pearl

30 Jun

Moi received a complimentary copy of the Dragon Pearl which was exclusively released to Walmart on June 18, 2013 and which will be available on DVD on August 20, 2013. Here is a synopsis and Youtube trailer:

Josh and Ling were expecting a boring vacation visiting each of their parents at an archaeological dig in China. But the new friends soon discover they’re right in the middle of an adventure when they find a Chinese Golden Dragon.


Mario Andreacchio


Mario Andreacchio (story), John Armstrong (original script), 3 more credits »


Sam Neill, Li Lin Jin, Louis Corbett | See full cast and crew


What this movie does well is provide “family-friendly” entertainment. It was a good movie which could have been a very good movie by stronger character portrayal and better special effects. The martial arts action at the end of the movie really saved the show.

This was a joint Chinese- Australian production and moi wondered whether the story which is really a beautiful fable should have been handled more deftly. Some of the characters appeared to be caricatures. Prime example was the Temple caretaker role, Wu Dong, which was played by Jordan Chan. Maybe a performance which would have focused more on the wisdom of a Temple caretaker who was charged with protecting a legacy would have been more effective.

The story is based upon the role that dragons and pearls have in Chinese history. Dragons and Dragon Lore, by Ernest Ingersoll, [1928], at sacred-texts.com provides some context in Chapter Ten: The Dragon’s Precious Pearl The story is based on a Chinese fable about a Chinese dragon who gave his pearl, the source of his power, to a good Chinese Emperor to help him win a battle against his enemies. The Emperor’s daughter re-writes history when her father is killed in battle to say the pearl was lost when it really was buried in the Emperor’s tomb. The dragon has been waiting thousands of years for the “chosen” one to return the pearl. This is a great fable would should provide the strong backbone of any fantasy movie.

Sam Neill plays a divorced father who is the leader of the archeological team excavating the Emperor’s tomb. His son, played by Louis Corbett comes to visit him for the summer. There just wasn’t the chemistry between the two, even for a relationship which has been strained by divorce. Li Lin Jin who plays Ling is very good as the sensible Chinese girl. Again, the stereotypes are present as Corbett plays the clueless westerner. The children meet the caretaker when they return a flute he lost to the Temple. The music, by Frank Strangio, which wafts through the production is quite good. This music can only be heard by the “chosen” one which is Ling. At the Temple, the children encounter the dragon. The villain, Philip Dukas played by Robert Mammone added an unexpected twist.

The movie is weakest on special effects. The dragon is only OK and the pearl looks like a dot which is places over people’s heads when the face is to be obscured. Probably, the pearl is supposed to convey energy, but it just looks lame. The strongest parts of the movie are the music, the beautiful photography and scenery and the beautiful fable. Moi recommends the movie because the whole family can watch together and the martial arts action is quite enjoyable.

Dr. Wilda recommends the Dragon Pearl as family friendly entertainment.

Other Reviews:

The Dragon Pearl                                                  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/dragon-pearl-film-review-sam-neill-335529

The Dragon Pearl                                                 http://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-dragon-pearl

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