The sixteenth episode of The Reel Fantasy Podcast featured 1981’s Dragonslayer, directed by Matthew Robbins and written by Robbins and Hal Barwood. Matt and Drew both enjoyed this film quite a bit, particularly the incredible dragon, Vermithrax Pejorative.
Dragonslayer starred Peter MacNicol as Galen, the wizard’s apprentice; Caitlin Clarke as Valerian; and Ralph Richardson as Ulrich.
This film was a co-production between Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions. It’s tone, much darker than standard Disney fare, created a bit of controversy when it was released. Soon after, Disney created Touchstone Pictures in order to release more adult-oriented projects.
The astonishing dragon, as well as the film’s other special effects, can be attributed to Industrial Light & Magic. The entirely practical creature was accomplished through the use of 16 individual puppets, each for a different type of movement. This included a hydraulic 40-foot model. Go-motion, a variation on stop motion animation, was developed for this film by ILM’s Phil Tippett, in an attempt to reduce or eliminate traditional stop-motion’s inherent jerkiness.
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