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ARC ENTERTAINMENT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Ryan Little
Cast:
Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Corey Sevier, Sofia Pernas, Larry Bagby, Kepa Kruse, David Morgan
Writing Credits:
Gil Aglaure (story), Anne K. Black (story), McKay Daines, Herman Melville (novel)

Tagline:
The ultimate hunter is the ultimate prey.

Synopsis:
Age of the Dragons is an adaptation of Herman Melville's classic novel "Moby Dick". Set in a medieval realm where Captain Ahab and crew hunt dragons for the vitriol that powers their world, Ishmael, a charismatic harpooner and his friend Queequeg join their quest. Ahab's adopted daughter Rachel, beautiful and tough, runs the hunting vessel. Ahab's obsession to seek revenge on a great 'White Dragon' that slaughtered his family when he was young and left his body scarred and mauled, drives the crew deeper into the heart of darkness. In the White Dragon's lair Ahab's Secrets are revealed and Rachel must choose between following him on his dark quest or escaping to a new life with Ishmael.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby Stereo 2.0
Spanish Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby Stereo 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $20.99
Release Date: 7/24/2012

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Ryan Little and Actors Corey Sevier and Sofia Pernas
• Outtakes
• Behind the Scenes Featurette
• Visual Effects Featurette
• Trailer
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Age Of The Dragons [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 23, 2012)

With 2012’s Age of the Dragons, we get a fantasy update on Moby-Dick. Set in a mythical era, young Ahab (Raphael Cruz) scrounges to take care of himself and his sister (Yanique Bland). One day a huge white dragon kills the sister and leaves Ahab burned and scarred.

With that, we jump ahead a few decades and meet ambitious young Ishmael (Corey Sevier). Dragon oil motivates the local economy, so Ishmael wants to sign on with Ahab’s crew as a harpooner. He brings along a fellow seaman named Queequeg (John Kepa Kruse) and after some challenges, they end up on-board the Pequod. However, the expedition doesn’t focus solely on commerce, as Ahab’s (Danny Glover) obsession with revenge on the white dragon leads toward potential disaster.

If nothing else, I think Age delivers a clever twist on the Moby-Dick legend. Given that Herman Melville’s novel has been adapted skatey-eight times over the years, I like the idea of a variation on it, so the dragon motif brings a little freshness to the tale.

In addition, despite its low budget, Age delivers surprisingly credible effects. I’m not a big fan of CGI in general, and flicks made on the cheap tend toward even less appealing work, but much of this film’s visual material does pretty nicely for itself. Nothing here rivals what you’d see from the big-name effects houses, but the dragons look fine. At the very least, they don’t take us out of the story, and that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.

You want to know what does take us out of the story, though? The script and the actors. The screenplay offers ill-formed exposition, slow pacing without drama and some of the clunkiest dialogue this side of the Star Wars prequels. These factors act to make the tale off-putting; it’s just so disjointed and awkward that it seems tough to get into it.

None of the actors help. Most of them deliver stilted performances without the slightest hint of naturalism; they’re wooden to an extreme, especially in the cases of Sevier and leading lady Sofia Pernas. Glover goes in the other direction with a scenery-chewing turn as Ahab; that makes him more entertaining but not actually better.

Which is a shame, as I think Age had potential to be a fun reimagining of Moby-Dick. Unfortunately, while it sports some better than expected production values, the clunky script and stiff acting make it subpar.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Age of the Dragons appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Despite the movie’s low-budget origins, the Blu-ray looked pretty solid.

Sharpness was consistently good. Little to no softness interfered, as the flick always seemed well-defined.I saw no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes failed to appear. Source flaws were non-existent.

In terms of palette, Age stayed with a decidedly chilly set of colors. Only a few shots boasted any moderately vivid tones – usually via blood reds or flashbacks - so these were rare. Otherwise, this was essentially a monochromatic, grayish affair. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows were fairly clear and concise; a few low-light shots came across as a little flat, but those weren’t the rule. Overall, this was an attractive image.

I also felt reasonably impressed by the lively Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Age. The soundfield created a pretty good sense of place and threw out natural action when appropriate. Music always offered good stereo imaging, and various scenes were consistently convincing. These melded together well, though I did notice a little bleeding at times; this mostly came via some dodgy localization of speech, but effects could be a bit iffy in terms of spatial integration. That wasn’t a big concern, though, so the mix was usually well-composed.

Audio quality always seemed fine. Effects were dynamic and clear, with deep bass and good punch. Music showed similar strengths, as the score was lively and full. Speech came across as natural and concise. For the most part, I liked this track and thought it added to the movie

When we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Ryan Little and actors Corey Sevier and Sofia Pernas. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, story and characters, cast and performances, stunts and action, audio and effects, and a few other production topics.

While not the most insightful chat – expect a lot of happy talk here – the commentary does prove to be reasonably informative. It moves along at a nice pace and provides a decent to good overview of the shoot. I’d like to know a bit more about the adaptation and story subjects, but this is still a fairly useful piece.

Under Outtakes, we find a two-minute, four-second reel. It shows goofs and silliness from the set. That makes it a standard blooper collection without much of interest on display.

Two featurettes follow. We get Behind the Scenes (9:15) and Visual Effects (3:21). Across these, we hear from Sevier, Pernas, producer Steven A. Lee, writer/producer McKay Daines, executive producer Peter Urie, visual effects supervisor Matt Hoffman, VFX producer Ammon Jones, and actors Danny Glover, David Morgan, Vinnie Jones, and Kepa Kruse. “Scenes” examines the story and its adaptation, stunts and action, cast and performances, props and sets, locations and effects, Little’s work on the shoot, and dragon design. Neither featurette boasts a ton of info, but they give us enough material to merit a look.

In addition to the film’s trailer, the package includes a DVD copy of Age. This offers a retail version of the DVD, so it has some value.

I like the idea of Age of the Dragons, a fantasy adaptation of Moby-Dick. Unfortunately, I don’t like the execution of it, as the bad acting and awkward script make it tough to endure. The Blu-ray offers very nice picture and generally positive audio along with a smattering of supplements. As a Blu-ray, this is a good product but the movie itself lacks much to make it worthwhile.

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