ADVENTURES OF A TEENAGE DRAGONSLAYER
I WAS A 7th GRADE DRAGON SLAYER
It is an unfortunate rule of thumb that most low-budgeted childrens films end up being excruciating. Not operating with the level of budgetary class that their studio rivals do, they tend to push everything towards a simplistic level of custard pie fights and shrill one-dimensional slapstick caricatures. Ones admittedly not high hopes for Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer sink from the opening song, which manages such lines as: Back in the day they used to say King Arthur really had it made/There were dragons to slay, princesses to save and no such things as getting good grades ... On a roll with a troll ... If a dragon gets back, Ill be the first to attack.
Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer falls into all of the pitfalls of these low-budget childrens films. The plot, no matter how earth-shattering a discovery, never ventures beyond the environs of a school here the world saviour is a kid, while the principal villain is the authoritarian school principal. There is a plot about the bright kid of the show triumphing over school bullies, although most of the film is spent running around engaged in a series of hijinks with a peculiar character that looks like a castoff from Little Monsters (1989) and only seems to speak in squeaks. The film involves some improbable plotting contortion where the kids find their favourite fantasy cardgame, which is clearly based on Magic: The Gathering, is actually true and that the games creator devoured the page from a spell book (in the school basement naturally) then promptly developed amnesia about doing so and went onto create the game.
Expectedly, much of this is painfully drawn out. Most of the film plays out on the level of one of the Disney live-action films of the 1970s with kids running around and the compulsory need to have to throw in slapstick car chases. There is some excruciating one-dimensional comic playing from the side of villainy, most notably Wendie Malick as the school principal. To its credit, the film does deliver the odd snappy line most of which get thrown off by Lea Thompson who plays with an undeniably chirpy likeability. There are some incredibly poor CGI effects with the appearance of the dragon towards the end of the film.