Friday, May 30, 2008

Dragonheart: Why Did They Bother?

Kara is bound to a tumbrel in preparation for being a dragon snack. Check out that very nice, tight, well-done bondage. Why did they bother? And hey, is that flying cow supposed to be a dragon?

As we never tire of pointing out, shoddy bondage is endemic in movies and on television. But there's a whole 'nother category of scenes that's even worse, though it is mercifully rare. I'm talking about scenes where extremely good, well-done bondage goes completely to waste.

The scene above from Dragonheart is a great example. Check out the stringency of that bondage: ropes at the wrists and above the elbows! Wrapped in several layers! Tightly! Frapped, too!

You just don't see bondage that good in a mainstream movie very often. And you almost can't see it in Dragonheart. I had to work the freeze-frame function quite hard to get these caps.

In the scene, Kara the heroine (played by the delectable redhead Dina Myer) is tied to a cart to be sacrificed to a dragon. There are a couple of good opportunities to show all the bondage as she's addressing the crowd, imploring them not to sacrifice her, but they are ignored by her in favor of fairly standard medium shots of her addressing the crowd seen from the front.

You know, a shot of her hands twisting helplessly in their bonds while the crowd cries out for her sacrifice would have been very dramatic. So there's excellent reason to show it. But they never do. You only see her from behind in split-second flashes as the dragon approaches, often obscured by the peasants in the foreground.

But here's the thing that really puzzles me: if they went to such lengths to tie up Kara so securely, why didn't they show it? Or to flip the question on its head, if they were just going to show brief fraction of second flashes of the bondage, why did they go to so much trouble to do it right?

You might hypothesize that the people who rigged the bondage knew what they were doing, but the director was oblivious to the dramatic potential of bondage imagery, except that later in the film there's dramatic evidence that he knows very well how to maximize the dramatic impact of bondage imagery. It involves a scene where Kara is once again restrained, this time chained to the walls of her dungeon cell by an evil king who has done her and her father very wrong.

When the evil king comes into her cell to gloat and sexually molest her, being evil, she rushes toward him, maddened by the sight of him, but is restrained by the chains on her wrists. Even so she struggles briefly against the chain in her lust to kill the king.

Very dramatic. Very nice use of bondage imagery. Now, why didn't they think of that in the dragon sacrifice scene? (I bet the king is saying, "Very nice, but you'll have to stretch out farther than that if you want to suck the royal cock."

As you can see, it's very dramatic imagery.

This isn't the only example of carefully and well done bondage imagery going complete to waste. It's not even the worst. A sharp-eyed DiD fan named Van once noted that in a scene from a defunct science fiction series called "Timecop" in which a damsel wearing a futuristic collar stands with her hands held behind her as it cuffed. Standard stuff, so far, hardly worth noting except for the futuristic collar. Van, however, spotted a dark line behind the damsel, and further observation revealed that it was a chain, in a line that would have run from the back of her neck to her wrists if they were bound behind her back.

Check out the dark line running behind the DiD. Once again, the freeze frame detects a virtually invisible bondage rig.

Obviously, some very complex bondage rig had been devised for the damsel, because just linking the chain to the back of her neck would have choked her. But having devised this complex rig, they ... never showed it.

Why do directors waste effort like this? I'd like to go with animal stupidity, but the dungeon scene in Dragonheart argues against that. I dunno what the hell to think.

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