I Am Dragon: a Russian Fantasy Romance

I don’t usually like to do much for Mother’s Day. My kids like to do stuff for me on that day. I don’t. There’s no Kids’ Day, so why should there be a Mother’s Day? Yes, I’m weird. Still, it’s a nudge for me to take better care of myself and focus on who I want to be as a mother. And it’s nice to know that I might be doing better than I think I am at this mothering gig. Or, at least, that’s what my kids tell me.

Anyway, last night, as part of that taking-better-care-of-myself nudge, I decided to watch a movie that had been mentioned on The Silver Petticoat Review, a sweet fantasy romance set in a medievalish Russia called I Am Dragon. (And, btw, if you like sweet romance, especially the old-fashioned kind, that site is a goldmine. Worth every moment, I swear.) I heard it had a good heroine, a good plot, and, best of all, DRAGONS!

Seriously, did you see the cover of this film! If not, click on the link because, dang!

Just a minute. I need a moment to cool down. Because. You know. DRAGONS.

Okay, I’m good. Back to reviewing.

I watched the movie. And, oh, my, I remembered why I started writing when I was younger. I remembered what I loved. So much of what I’ve been doing now has to do with analyzing market trends and figuring out what does and doesn’t sell, how to package it and market it and so on and so forth and it gets…old. Very old.

I love to write. And I love to write fantasy romance with longing, with passion, and with—sometimes in a metaphorical sense, sometimes a literal sense—dragons.

I’m getting sidetracked, though. Let me explain why I think you, dear reader, should watch this film.

First off, I have to point out that I watched it in the original language (Russian) with English subtitles. All my points are based on that understanding.

Next, the story.

The opening sequence sums up (almost) the whole backstory. Girls were taken to a particular spot where an ancient song was sung and a dragon appears and takes the young women. It’s an amazing piece of filmwork, told with both a particular kind of two-dimensional puppetry interspersed wtih live-action sequences. It’s a horrifying sequence for several reasons, and we also see the importance love plays in this story, right from the beginning. Because it’s for the sake of love that the dragon is killed in the first place by a grief-stricken knight.

Time passes and we see the heroine of the move, Mira, getting ready for her wedding to a knight whose name I’ve already forgotten. Let’s call him Blondie.

Blondie is the grandson of the aforementioned dragon-slaying knight and he’s proud of it. So proud, in fact, that after a very long time of not singing that particular aforementioned ancient song, he decides it would be fitting if it’s sung as a part of him greeting his bride.

Which puts him, interestingly enough, in the role of the dragon. But I digress.

As Mira is pulled toward her destiny, the weather changes. The song still has power and the dragon isn’t as dead as everyone thinks. In a confusing, but beautiful and frightening sequence of scenes, we see Mira captured by the dragon and taken to a lonely island. Her only comfort comes from a mysterious young man named Arman, who, it becomes clear very early on, is actually the dragon in human form.

Because the point is not to figure out who this young man is. The point is to figure out what the dragon wants, and has been wanting, all this time.

And in the meantime, Blondie is searching for Mira. Will he find her? Will true love prevail? Or will Mira be consumed by the fire of the monster who holds her captive?

Now, my thoughts.

I love this movie so much. It has its flaws, but there’s so much that’s good in it, and so much that touches on the symbolic, that I forgive it gladly.

Mira starts off as a bit childish and spoiled, but she loves her father and trusts him when he tells her that she will learn to love the man she’s marrying. Her capture is terrifying in its reality of what being captured by a dragon might actually feel like. And yet she doesn’t cower or wait to be rescued. She fights. Every step of the way, in her own way, she fights. And never, at any point after her capture, is she annoying or stupid.

Arman is wonderfully written. Terrified of the dragon himself, his interactions with Mira and the hope that grows within him as he gets closer to her just made me melt. There are so many scenes with him I just want to blast my face off about, but I can’t. Because ninety percent of the joy in this movie is watching the growing affection and longing between Mira and Arman.

Ah, but how does he defeat the dragon? Who kills the beast?

It’s a great dilemma, and if you love Beauty and the Beast I’m pretty sure you’ll adore the same themes explored here. In some ways, I think it’s even better. And not just because of the dragons. There’s some great twists, beautiful scenery and images, the characters are smart, and the romance is everything I love in a sweet romance.

Ordinarily, I’d write down a prompt for questions at this point, but I’m so full of thoughts and images from the movie, I can’t seem to form one.

So, yeah. I Am Dragon. Highly Recommended.



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