12 Awesome Movie Dragons
The Dragon: Brilliantly-named Vermithrax Pejorative, this winged nasty is 400 years old and revels in terrorising a sixth century kingdom. Knowing that a dragon generally thinks with its stomach, wise old King Casiodorus attempts to make peace with the beast by offering it a virgin for dinner twice a year.
The Awesome: Just check out that name, for a start. Then watch as Vermithrax shows a priest who's boss by incinerating him alive. Shame they blow him up in the end.
Reign Of Fire (2002)
The Dragons: In the year 2020, England is under siege from dragons. See, they’ve been lying dormant under London since the time of the dinosaurs, and are awakened thanks to disturbances caused by Underground construction. Now, they have the nation in a death grip.
The Awesome: These are mean mofos, responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs and eating/incinerating everything in their flight path. Nice.
Petes Dragon (1977)
The Dragon: At last, a friendly fellow! An animated goof called Elliott, this lively lizard is the friend and confidante of young orphan Pete. Handily, he’s pitched up just in time to protect Pete from his freaky adopted hillbilly family.
The Awesome: Not only is he a dragon, but he’s a dragon who can become invisible. Luckily, all that cool is balanced out by Elliott’s general clumsiness. What a plonker.
The Neverending Story (1984)
The Dragon: A luckdragon, to be more exact, this giant, scaly dog-look-alike is named Falkor and is one of six luckdragons known to exist in Fantasia. Though wingless, Falkor can fly with speed and style. In the books, he can also breathe blue fire.
The Awesome: He’s always there in the nick of time to help rescue those in peril – hence the ‘luck’ thing. If you’re about to embark on a perilous quest, you’d do well to recruit one of these bad boys. Plus, Falkor has the most amazing laugh ever (opens in new tab) , which is awesome in itself.
Tales From Earthsea (2006)
The Dragon: Inhabitants of the West of Earthsea, these dragons are neither inherently good nor evil, but possessed of the savage and unforgiving qualities of all wild creatures in nature. Nevertheless, they are considered wise (thanks to their long lifespan), and are unable to lie.
The Awesome: Though the movie itself isn’t up to much, the beautifully-rendered dragons are a triumph. The opening air battle between two of the fire-belchers is a corker.
Q - The Winged Serpent (1982)
The Dragon: Oh, you know, just an Aztec god named Quetzalcoatl, meaning ‘winged serpent’, who is resurrected by a cult in New York City. Set loose in the Big Apple, Q wastes no time testing out the city’s reputation for “good eating”.
The Awesome: Way before Godzilla laid waste to New York, Q plucked innocent people from buildings and devoured them. Great stop-motion modelling and some clever directing make this beast stand out from the rest. Godzilla, hang your snout in shame.
The Hobbit (2012)
The Dragon: Alright, it’s not been made yet (our fingers, toes and eyes remain resolutely and optimistically crossed), but by all accounts the on-screen depiction of Smaug should bowl all other movie dragons out of the sky.
The Awesome: Fastidious, all-conquering and shrewd, Smaug is a pin-sharp creature who laid the town of Dale to waste before settling in the Lonely Mountain and claiming its treasure as his own. He’s so clever that he encrusted his vulnerable underbelly with jewels as armour. Please, Peter Jackson, let this be.
How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
The Dragon: One of the most dangerous, intelligent and feared dragons in existence, the Night Fury is rarely glimpsed by man. That is until young Viking Hiccup comes across an injured Fury who he names Toothless. Forming a bond with the beast, Hiccup and Toothless work together to bring down a common foe.
The Awesome: A slick beast with cat-like eyes, Toothless is both adorable and fearsome. Animated by the same guys who brought Disney’s miscreant alien Stitch to life, he’s every bit the mischievous pet you wish you had.
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
The Dragon: We’re sure everybody knows one old woman they think is a dragon, but in Maleficent’s case you’d be completely right. Self-appointed Mistress Of All Evil, Maleficent is angry when she’s not invited to the christening of Princess Aurora (we wonder why) and curses the infant. In the film’s fiery climax, she turns into a dragon to fight Prince Phillip.
The Awesome: Maleficent is one of Disney’s finest nightmare-provoking villains (it’s all about that sneering cackle), and her barbed transformation into a dragon is just one of the reasons we love her. Sure, she’s defeated, but she went down fighting tooth and claw.
The Magic Sword (1962)
The Dragon: Just when we were dreaming of having our own pet dragon, along comes evil wizard Lodac, who possesses this hulking lizard. Only problem? It likes to eat princesses. Luckily, Lodac has kidnapped one in the form of Princess Helene, whom he intends to feed to his bewinged best friend in seven days' time.
The Awesome: Just look at it! Considering this is a dragon crafted in the days before CGI (a merry 50 years hence), this thorny menace is still a formidable fiend. Plus the whole eating princesses for breakfast is pretty gnarly.
The Dragon: Large and in charge – of guarding Princess Fiona, that is, who’s being held captive inside a crumbling old castle. Prince Charming better get his fireproof armour on.
The Awesome: This firebreather may have a heck of a temper and the wingspan of a Boeing 747, but she’s a softie at heart. She falls in love with a donkey, see, and has her very own happily ever after with a litter of dragon-donkey hybrids. Ahhh.
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (2005)
The Dragon: A Hungarian Horntail, this spiky-headed beast is just one of the many known dragons that exist in the Potterverse (others include such diverse and international monstrosities as the Norwegian Ridgeback, the Peruvian Vipertooth and the Swedish Short-Snouth). The Horntail is the most dangerous of all the breeds, and enjoys chowing down on goats and sheep.
The Awesome: The motto at Hogwarts is ‘ Draco dormiens numquam titillandus ’, which is Latin for ‘Never tickle a sleeping dragon’. Never was that more fitting here. When Harry faces the Horntail during the Triwizard Tournament, he’s nearly smashed to smithereens. Epic battle.