Friends, the other day I found something on Twitter that made my head spin just a little bit – it had been posted by the NX on Netflix Twitter account the day before and it was an announcement about a live action Dragon’s Lair movie… possibly starring Ryan Reynolds:
“HEAR YE, HEAR YE
Netflix is developing a live action feature adaptation of the legendary 80s arcade game Dragon’s Lair. @VancityReynolds is in talks to play noble Knight Dirk the Daring, on his quest to rescue Princess Daphne from the titular dragon. “
And then adding to that another bit of impressive news in regards to a Dragon’s Lair movie:
“Don Bluth, Roy Lee, Trevor Engelson, Gary Goldman and Jon Pomeroy are on board to produce the feature, which will be written by Daniel and Kevin Hageman.”
It would be an understatement to say that Dragon’s Lair was important to me in my youth – on the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast I have talked about when I was first introduced to the iconic arcade game. The fact that both Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, and Jon Pomeroy are Producers on this feature film is a very big relief – considering the trio worked together on creating the Dragon’s Lair game series as well as producing Space Ace – along with co-creator Rick Dyer.
It was of course Rick Dyer who came up with the original idea that would become Dragon’s Lair, after unsuccessful attempts to garner interest in the home LaserDisc system that was then called “The Fantasty Machine” – the answer came to him on seeing 1982’s The Secret of Nimh. His entertainment machine needed the type of animation that Don Bluth and his studio could provide – eye-popping work that could also be delivered on a limited budget of 1.3 million dollars. After working for seven months, Don Bluth and his fellow animators were finished with the 22 minutes of animated footage. Dragon’s Lair made it’s debut on June 19th of 1983 and it is safe to say that at the time it was very well received – hailed as saving arcades in fact. Even considering it was asking Players to pony up 50 cents a game – generally losing their game shortly after that – it earned 32 million dollars in sales for Cinematronics, the company that produced the game.
Now while Dragon’s Lair is beloved by many it would be disingenuous to say that everyone is enamored by the game as myself – actually I probably see more folks knocking it online than praising it. Even back when it was initially released I recall people complaining that you had no real control of the character of Dirk the Daring. However I have always seen it as an interactive film – you were paying to get to see a beautifully animated short film that ran nearly 12 minutes long… if you made all the right decisions.
Fandom can be a tricky things these days and this announcement that Ryan Reynolds might be cast as Dirk the Daring and even the fact it is going to be live action instead of animated… hasn’t made some folks very happy. And while I can understand that overwhelming desire to see Don Bluth, Gary Goldan, and Jon Pomeroy get a chance to bring an animated feature to Netflix – I’m also a person that points out we need to just take a breath and wait and see how this is going to play out. Both Dan and Kevin Hageman are handling the script for the potential film – having worked on The Lego Movie, Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – I feel Dragon’s Lair is in good hands.
In closing this article I want to point out a couple of comments I’ve read about the announcement, where some fans have put forth a very good question – is this possibly going to be an interactive film? Like we have already seen with 2018’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch or the recently released Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal? Only the future will tell but I personally am pretty excited to know that at some point I’m going to be able to share with you the trailer for a live action Dragon’s Lair film!