The Reluctant Dragon (short) (1941)



I’m doing something different this time: instead of a full movie, my review will solely be based on a short segment of the movie. Talking about “The Reluctant Dragon”, a 1941 tour guide movie from Walt Disney Pictures directed by Alfred Werker (live action footage when touring the Walt Disney studios) and Hamliton Luske (animation sequences) and produced by Walt Disney. More about the movie in here:

The short animated segment in question is based on the novel of the same name as the movie written by Kenneth Grahame in 1898, itself based on the legend of Sir George and his fight against a dragon in Berkshire Downs, Oxfordshire


General plot of the short: The story begins  with The Boy (a young but smart and caring person in his own way) reading a book about knights and dragons. Meanwhile, his father (a shepherd) comes all of a sudden claiming he has seen a monster – to what his son reasures it’s a dragon (that reassurance is not even better as his father runs to the village in panic)


Next thing we know, the boy goes to where The Dragon lives and tries to warn him about the fact that the villagers might certainly come after him. The fact, though, is that the dragon is not an ordinary one, but rather a sensitive, peaceful and poetic one, as well as he isn’t apparently aware of the dangers he’d should face for what he is


Things could’ve gotten complicated with the arrival of Sir Giles (in the novel, he’s called Sir George, just like in the real life legend), if it wasn’t for the fact that he too is a poet. Either way, he’s now the only person the boy can rely on to convince the dragon about fighting. After a feasty cultural picnic and some talks about the fight, Sir Giles and the dragon get to an agreement (eventhough the dragon himself is terribly reluctant, even after he had made the decision of fighting (it’s known that he actually doesn’t like fighting. He never did that in the first place). He even tried to tell the knight he had changed his mind again to no avail)


Either way, on the next day, the fight starts. And from then on, everything happens until the very end of the short segment (I rather not say the end of the story for “spoiler” reasons)


My opinion: A charming, underrated piece of story. Eventhough I think Disney could have done a bit more with it (like including it in one of those future “package” movies from the official animation movie canon of Walt Disney Pictures or expanding it to a feature film, separate from the movie it came in), I believe it’s quite a very good effort

The animation, for the 1940’s standards, is good for what it was: kudos to the animation department for their work in this animated short sequence. Nice music score from Charles Wolcott as well

But the best of the short are, without a doubt, the characters: the boy with his sense of caring and realism (it might not be that apparent on the short, but he actually becomes a real friend to the dragon. At least, that’s what I believe deep inside my heart), Sir Giles with his Don Quichotte-like personality (the difference is that he’s lucid, unlike Cervantes‘ titular character) and the dragon with all his pure sensitiveness (his actions might be a bit effeminate at times, but then again, that’s his charm. Either way, he’s exquistely likeable) makes a perfect threesome of characters, with the dragon being the one that shines the most in the story: he’s undoubtely memorable (kudos, by the way, to the voice actors who portrayed the three main characters, especially Barnett Parker for his sucessfull voice acting as the reluctant dragon of the story: it certainly was sensitively unique and refreshing)

All in all, a good upbeat sequence where everything happens without being either too slow or too fast, just as normally paced as it could be. It might not be the best thing the Disney staff has ever created, but it certainly is great to watch. I’d mostly recommend this to either Walt Disney Pictures fans and/or the animation fans

As last treat, here’s the complet segment (in english… and also in japanese):

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)


Posted on 25 de September de 2013, in Cinema. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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