The Last Dragon (2004 film)
|The Last Dragon
Dragon's World: A Fantasy Made Real (U.S. title)
|Genre||Fantasy / Fiction|
|Created by||Charlie Foley|
|Developed by||Charlie Foley
Kevin Tao Mohs
|Directed by||Justin Hardy|
|Narrated by||Ian Holm (English release)
Patrick Stewart (U.S. release)
|Executive producer(s)||John Smithson
|Running time||99 mins|
|Original network||Channel 4
The Last Dragon, known as Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real in the United States, and also known as Dragon's World in other countries, is a British docufiction made by Darlow Smithson Productions for Channel Four and broadcast on both Channel Four and Animal Planet that is described as the story of "the natural history of the most extraordinary creature that never existed."
It posits a speculative evolution of dragons from the Cretaceous period up to the 15th century, and suppositions about what dragon life and behavior might have been like if they had existed and evolved. It uses the premise that the ubiquity of dragons in world mythology suggests that dragons could have existed. They are depicted as a scientifically feasible species of reptile that could have evolved, somewhat similar to the depiction of dragons in the Dragonology series of books. The dragons featured in the show were designed by John Sibbick.
The program switches between two stories. The first uses CGI to show the dragons in their natural habitat throughout history. The second shows the story of a modern-day scientist at a museum, Dr. Tanner, who believes in dragons. When the frozen remains of an unknown creature are discovered in the Carpathian Mountains, Tanner, and two colleagues from the museum, undertake the task to examine the specimen to try to save his reputation. Once there, they discover that the creature is a dragon. Tanner and his colleagues set about working out how it lived and died.
The docufiction starts with a live-action dramatisation of the discovery of a frozen dragon carcass in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, next to similarly preserved bodies of some 15th-century would-be slayers. The drama then starts in present-day Montana with a battle between a prehistoric dragon and a Tyrannosaurus rex, 65 million years ago. Then a 6-mile-wide meteorite crashes into Earth, killing almost all large life forms on dry land. However, "marine dragons" evolve in the sea. The story then goes that around 64.95 million years later, mammals have taken over the planet, humans being among the most perilous to dragons. The final scene returns to 15th-century Romania, where a lord and his squire enter an icy cave to fight the "monster" that has been stealing sheep.
A large part of "Dragons" is devoted to scientific explanation of how a 900 pounds (410 kg) animal could have flown and breathed fire from its mouth.
The Scotsman opined that The Last Dragon's computer graphics made it "awesome", but ultimately the show gave the feeling of conveying the message "Do not believe this slice of old hokum" to the viewer. According to The New York Times "it's easy to forget that [the film] isn't a serious documentary" after the fiction disclaimer at the beginning, judging the computer graphics to be well made, sometimes beautiful, but not impressive "to the point of wonder".
- Mermaids: The Body Found (2012), a similar program airing on Animal Planet that attempted to describe mermaids in a scientific manner.
- Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives
- The Flight of Dragons (book) (1979)