I finally saw this animated fantasy classic on Saturday. I think I’m almost ten years overdue, if I recall it was my original D&D group that tried to get me to watch the movie. I don’t remember the circumstances of the time, but I never saw more than maybe the first five to ten minutes of the film (which I didn’t remember).

The animated The Flight of Dragons is a loose adaptation of the 1976 fantasy novel, The Dragon and the George and incorporates Speculative Biology concepts for the proposed existence of dragons from the 1979 book, The Flight of Dragons.

Briefly, an ancient world with dragons and wizards faces an imminent threat in magic going away. One of the bigwig wizards calls a confab with his wizard cohorts to propose a magical preserve where magical creatures can survive the impending extinction of magic. (Precursor to Fallout: Friendship is Magic)

The Big Bad decides he isn’t cool with going into retirement and refuses, but ’cause his fellow Super Powers need his powers to create the magical preserve but have agreed to never go to war, they decide a third party (Switzerland?) must undertake a quest on their behalf — secure the Big Bad’s magical aid by hook or by crook.

Cue one Call To Adventure for a Fish Out of Temporal Water.

If you haven’t seen the movie before, you may wonder where the twists are, and you may be surprised by how the film doesn’t seem to second-guess itself. The twist is that the villain isn’t slain by a magic sword or a missing scale, but rather by being Talked To Death. While face-palm worthy, it’s a satisfying victory for Team Nerd.

“Biology!”

There are actually quite a few face-palm moments throughout the story, and the animation is … let’s say “stylized,” but it’s nice to see a fantasy film that takes itself seriously. There’s no lamp-shading or hand-waving. Most tropes are played straight.

And in case you were wondering, the funny, bloated appearance of the dragons is even explained biologically in the film after a horrific magical catastrophe makes “learning how dragons fly” a relevant plot point.

Here’s a YouTube link for one of the most chilling moments in the film (start the video from the beginning for context), which serves as a reminder, “That’s a paladin.” No fluff, no fancy superpowers or saving throw bonuses. Courage in the face of death.

And that’s why, in spite of any inclination to pick this film apart, I can’t bring myself to do it. My eyes got all misty just trying to find a good cue to link on the video. I won’t tell you to run out and find this movie, that’s up to you. I liked it, and I’m not exactly in a hurry to watch it again — it’s a good nostalgia piece, I’ll give you that.