Movie Friday: Dragons From the Big Screen

Dragons play an important role in many cultures. Chinese dragons tend to be wingless and snake-like, whereas European dragons are usually winged. Some have feathers, others have scales, and some have sharp spines along their backs. Their appearances vary greatly, as do their dispositions. Oh, and most of them breath fire.

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These mythical beasts hatch from eggs and can live a long time. A dragon with two legs is called a wyvern, but dragons can have 4 legs or more. They are often associated with wisdom. Depending on the story dragons can be impressive companions or fearsome enemies. These legendary creatures are favorites in the film industry, and it’s interesting to see how different directors interpret them. Here are six of our favorite movie dragons.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Dragons in Movies

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We all remember baby Norbert from The Sorcerer’s Stone, and who could forget that nasty Hungarian Horntail Harry had to tango with in the Triwizard Tournament? But the Ukrainian Ironbelly which Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to ride to break out of Gringotts bank is by far the most interesting. A silvery gray wyvern with massive spines, this particular dragon was kept hundreds of feet below ground to protect the Lestrange’s bank vault. The dragon is an albino, and the poor guy’s blue eyes were weak after all that time in the dark. And by the way, the Hogwarts school motto is Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus, which means “never tickle a sleeping dragon”.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Movie Friday: Dragons From the Big Screen

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Smaug is the infamous fire-breather who drove the dwarves from Erebor and took control of their massive wealth. In the film Smaug is a wyvern with glowing yellow eyes and golden-reddish scales, not to mention an attractive British accent thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch (of Sherlock fame). The last of The Hobbit films (The Battle of the Five Armies) is scheduled to hit theaters on December 17 this year.


How to Train Your Dragon

Movie Friday: Dragons From the Big Screen

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During a dragon raid, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) shoots down a Night Fury. He later stumbles upon the dragon, who is trapped in a bola. Hiccup cuts the dragon free, but meets him again later. The Night Fury had injured his tail and was unable to fly away. Hiccup rigs up this prosthetic tail thing, and slowly earns the trust of the dragon, whom he names Toothless due to his retractable teeth. Toothless is more lizard-like than Smaug or the Ironbelly. He has sleek, jet black scales all over his body and vivid green eyes with pupils that dilate when he’s happy and turn to cat-like slits when he’s angry. Toothless and Hiccup are also popular subjects for some pretty awesome fan art.

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Alice in Wonderland

Dragons in Movies Alice in Wonderland Jabberwocke

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In early illustrations to the nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky, the Jabberwock was portrayed as a chimera with the body of a dragon, a head like a fish, insect-ish antennae, and massive talons. In Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland the Jabberwock is a morbidly monstrous dragon with dull scales, a forked tongue, four legs, and two semi-translucent wings. His eyes glowed red like fire and he breathed purple lighting. He also spoke with the voice of Christopher Lee.



eragon dragons in movies

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Eragon (Ed Speelers), a farm boy, becomes the first dragon rider in a century when Saphira’s egg hatches for him. Together, the pair are destined to fulfill an old prophecy and free Eragon’s people from the tyrannical rule of Galbatorix. In the film, Saphira, voiced by Rachel Weisz, is a four-legged dragon with feathered wings and an armor of scales that are silvery blue in color.



Mulan Mushu Dragons in movies

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After accidentally destroying the Great Stone Dragon, Mushu follows Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) to protect her and help her become a war hero. Mushu is the smallest dragon on our list, but he compensates by having the biggest ego. Mushu, voiced by Eddie Murphy, reflects the dragons that would’ve been popular in Chinese culture around Mulan’s time. He has the face of a camel, a snake-like body, eagle claws, and elk horns. He is red and orange in color, and while he can breath fire, his real talent is in blasting sarcasm and funny one-liners.


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Which dragon is your favorite?

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