The Wizeguy: Live Action Dragon

Netflix has closed a deal to pick up the rights to Dragon’s Lair, a live-action feature adaptation based on the ’80s arcade game. The plot of the original game followed a knight named Dirk the Daring whose mission was to rescue Princess Daphne from an evil dragon named Singe the wizard Mordroc. Dan and Kevin Hageman (The Lego Movie, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) will write the script with Ryan Reynolds to produce and star as Dirk the Daring.

As a child of the 80s, I have incredible nostalgia for Dragon’s Lair, Dragon’s Lair II and Space Ace. As games, they were average — but these were the early days of video game graphics and there was nothing that looked remotely this cool at the arcades. I remember watching a local finish the game at the arcade when it first came out. There was a second large screen on top of the game so people could watch and a small crowd had gathered around to witness. I assumed the player was funded by a Saudi prince at the time to afford the 5 billion replays.

Dirk the Daring is simply one of the best-looking characters ever to appear in a video game. Just a master class in pleasing character design. It’s a good thing they’ve got Don Bluth aboard as well. Look at any of Don Bluth’s animated films. There is one thing, and above all other things, one thing which makes Bluth animation stand out, and that is that it has an extremely distinctive visual style. After watching The Mandalorian behind the scenes, my head feels like it is going to explode at the possibilities of nailing the feel of this using StageCraft, or some other groundbreaking technique(s). However, will it typecast Ryan Reynolds as a video game character, given that he’s got another video game movie coming up? He is perfect casting as Dirk. Reynolds seems to have the ability to respect subject matter while still tweaking the more awkward bits and making the audience feel in on the joke.

This movie begs to be done Ala Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow, Russian Doll with multiple (constant) hilariously grisly deaths. I can’t imagine this WON’T be a “play along at home” sort of movie like Bandersnatch, with Reynolds more or less “Deadpooling” at the choices you’re making just after you make them. The “Skip Intro” and “Watch Credits” buttons have trained Netflix users in the ways of quick-time events, they could totally do it. And if that’s not your thing, an optional “Just watch the movie” version.

The creative team is going to have to take some liberties with Princess Daphne. Bluth and company have said in the past if they got the animated movie off the ground they would make her less of a airhead. Not only that, but Daphe’s “sexualized” appearance in the game needs to be toned down for the film. To be fair, it is a perfect chance for Reynolds to star with his wife and in this instance I think it would work having Reynolds as Dirk be a dopey Prince that needs rescuing. Who knows, if this becomes a magnet for memes and racks up the best numbers the streaming service has ever seen maybe we can get Space Ace, starring Chris Hemsworth.

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