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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Dragon's World: A Fantasy Made Real (2004)

Dragon's World: A Fantasy Made Real (2004)

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Released 5-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Trailer-Animal Planet Preview
Trailer-Bewitched TV, The Muppets Take Manhattan
Trailer-Kermit's Swamp Years
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 99
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Justin Hardy

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Paul Hilton
Katrine Bach
Aidan Woodward
Tom Chadbon
Niccolo Cioni
Hamish MacLeod
Bradley Lavelle
Ian Holm
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Richard Blair-Oliphant

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Dragons World - A Fantasy Made Real asks the question: What if dragons existed?

    Using beautiful location photography and cutting edge CGI work the filmmakers state their case convincingly with only the merest sign of a tongue in cheek. The film is the work of Discovery Channel's Animal Planet and the team seemed to really relish the opportunity to step out from the jungles, deserts and mountains and work on this ode to the legendary dragon. As the team ask in the comprehensive Making Of feature, how is it that so many ancient cultures have quite separately come up with images and writing about dragons if there was no truth to their existence?

    Dragons World seems aimed at the inquisitive teen and pre-teen mind and my 10 year old spoke about it in reverent tones for days after. At the back of his mind he knew that dragons weren't real and yet...

    Dragons World is a combination of live action and CGI. The backstory is slight. A maverick British scientist has drawn flak for his theories suggesting the existence of a dragon-like creature in the prehistoric era. Despite a lack of credibility he is nonetheless allowed to travel to Rumania to investigate a strange creature found in a cave permanently under snow. The creature, surrounded by dead bodies of a bygone age, is examined and gradually the scientist comes to believe that he has found the proof he is looking for that dragons really did walk, or fly, the earth. Acted by unknowns the story plays out as a CSI-like investigation of the body with each new discovery raising another question to be answered.

    Interspersed with this story are a variety of CGI dragons. Treated in the same way as any other Animal Planet creature the dragon's life is examined and commented upon with a dry and informative commentary by Ian Holm (Original cable viewers had Patrick Stewart). The CGI work is quite stunning, coming from the team who worked on Walking With Dinosaurs and the Harry Potter movies. As the featurette shows, the team behind the film used rigorous scientific method to demonstrate how the dragon could have walked, flown and breathed fire. The CGI team have created near perfect dragons not just in their look but also in their realistic animations. There were only the briefest moments in the show when the animation dipped slightly. Otherwise it was so convincing that it had a group of pre-teen boys looking nervously at each other searching for signs of cynicism on their friends' faces.

    The show does have something of a story arc and there is a dramatic peak, however this is closer to a documentary than a movie. Occasionally, to illustrate a point the filmmakers will use stock footage of other animals to show that the concept of a fire-breathing reptile is not implausible. Well made and beautifully shot this film will entrance the younger set and fascinate anyone with a love for dragons and their mythology, or should I say history!

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Transfer Quality


    Dragons World - A Fantasy Made Real appears to have been shot on hi-definition video. It comes to DVD in a 1.78:1 transfer which I imagine to be its original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image quality of this DVD is superb. The mountain backdrops for the Rumanian scenes are pristine in their image. Although the snow scenes show the film at its best (see 7.50 and some gorgeous icicles at 114.19) there are wonders throughout including the flying scene at 25.20 and the swimming dragon at 38.29.

    There are a variety of subtitles on offer. I sampled the English for the Hearing Impaired and found it to be an accurate rendition of the on-screen dialogue and voice-overs.

    Much of the success of the show is in the impeccable CGI work on the dragons. We are introduced to the prehistoric dragon, the mountain dragon, the water dragon and even the forest dragon. Each is similar yet different and the animators appear to have worked tirelessly to bring out the textures of the skin and the body shapes to really bring the creatures to life.


    The audio for Dragons World is Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). This is perfectly adequate for the show and the sound team are to be commended for the realistic shrieks which accompany the CGI dragons.

    The scenes featuring live actors showed that the program has perfect lip sync, and the dragons screech in time too!

    The music for Dragons World was composed by Richard Blair-Oliphant . It is modern and synth-based and although it strays a bit too close to cliché in some of the "discovery " scenes, it is otherwise pleasing and goes well with the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There is really only one feature on this DVD which comes in the form of a documentary on the making of the film which was produced for telecast on the Discovery Channel. The DVD also has some DVD ROM content containing some links to nature websites.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes

    It is perhaps no surprise that Animal Planet should produce such an excellent Making of documentary to go with the main film. It was produced to be shown on Discovery Channel as is evidenced by the regular advertisement breaks which have unfortunately been left in the feature. Apart from this minor annoyance it is a quality feature. As well as speaking to the production company the makers of this feature spoke to the consultant biologist on the project who points out that amongst other things medieval manuscripts detail how dragons lived and what they ate. He approached each question fundamental to dragonology with a keen scientific mind explaining how they flew, how they breathed fire and why they became extinct. As well as the technical background the feature looks at how the dragons went from concept drawings, through CGI creation and into animation. Once again each person involved in the process speaks of a fidelity to the final creation which is clearly on show in the finished product.


    The film carries a very brief introduction to Animal Planet, primarily showing a fellow wrestling nasty looking creatures.


    An odd selection of trailers on offer here including Bewitched the TV series.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   The versions from each region appear to be the same. As said above, when the show was first telecast in the U.S. it had a voice-over by Patrick Stewart which was replaced by Ian Holm for the DVD release.


   Dragons World - A Fantasy Made Real is a fun and interesting documentary drama which blurs the line between fact and fiction not only with the scientific explanation of how dragons could have existed but also CGI work so good you can feel the heat from the dragons' breath! It is no surprise that this was Animal Planets most expensive feature to date but it is a pleasant surprise that such a fantastical subject is treated with such respect.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP300, using Component output
DisplayNEC PlasmaSync 42" MP4 1024 x 768. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJBL Simply Cinema SCS178 5.1

Other Reviews NONE