I had a chance to see the short film by Mark Freeman and Brandon St. Cyr, The Dragon Wall, in Morrisville’s River Arts last night. The short film, a story of four brothers sent out of the house and finding themselves on a small, fantastic adventure is a great example of how modern technology has brought motion picture arts from the hands of major studios to a small group of people with a passion.
The Dragon Wall is a fun film. While it’s not polished like something that one would expect from the Hollywood system, it’s a film that looks remarkably good for the price tag, and one that feels like a product of the Green Mountain State to its core. The story isn’t overblown, overambitious or overdone: it’s succinct and fun film to watch.
The story is fairly simple: four brothers are kicked out of their house to enjoy the outdoors by their father. They bicker a bit before settling down before coming across The Sage, a mysterious gentleman, oddly dressed, who tells them that they’re to man their posts at the Dragon Wall. Finding the wall, they have to work together to rebuild the wall, helping one another out.
Leaving aside the story elements where children follow a strange man into the forest, the story has some good elements to it: it reminds me in a lot of ways of any fantastical story that forces young children or siblings to work together against a common foe or problem. There are likely elements of Narnia here, but at one point, I caught a glimpse of a set of Harry Potter books in the kid’s wonderfully geeky bedroom before they are booted from the comforts of modern life. A couple of favorite parts included the opening titles, and a scene where a raven is chased.
At the end of the day, The Dragon Wall is a fun film, especially for younger kids who’ve had a taste of the fantastic stories like the ones that I remember from my childhood. This is a film that I sort of wish that I’d seen when I was a kid, growing up with almost 30 acres of forest behind my house. I’m reasonably sure that I would have spent more time in the woods, hunting dragons.