George and the Dragon (2004) is a creative re-telling of the famous legend of Saint George killing the dragon. For a very detailed synopsis of the plot, click here, but I’ll just give you a quick outline.
The story begins with George, an English knight (played by hunky James Purefoy) and his comrade-in-arms Tarik (Michael Clarke Duncan), an African Moor, returning from the Crusades to free the Holy Land. George, tired of all the fighting, is keen to return to England, where he wants to find a plot of land and to settle down. Tarik, however, wants to chase a bad knight somewhere in the south of France (I think), so the two of them part ways (for now, anyway).
When George returns to his father’s home, his father (who lost both legs during a fight with a dragon – a story George never believed) urges him to go to see his old friend, King Edgaar (Simon Callow). His father also gives him a magical horn made of the (large) toenail of the dragon. George is sceptical, but takes it along anyway.
En route to the King, George meets another knight by the name of Garth (Patrick Swayze with long, flowing locks) – the two of them alternate between being cautious friends and outright rivals.
When Garth and George arrive at King Edgaar’s court, the King tells them that his daughter, Princess Lunna (Piper Perabo), has mysteriously disappeared. Garth, who has previously been promised her hand in marriage, is very keen to find her (primarily so that he can gain control of the land by marriage). The two knights thus set off with a group of followers.
As it turns out, the beautiful Princess Lunna has appointed herself the guardian of the last surviving dragon(-egg) in the world (good for her!). And she’s a feisty lady who knows how to wield a sword – this is no swooning, faint-hearted damsel-in-distress!
I thought the greatest shortcoming of the movie was that the characters did not know whether to take themselves (and the story) seriously, or whether it was all a big joke. Occasionally, things descended into some dreadful unfunny slapstick, which I really didn’t enjoy. Nonetheless, it was a nice romp through an age of knights, maidens, horses and dragons.