The Flight of Dragons

Directors: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.

The Flight of Dragons is a 1982 animated film directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr. The film addresses the issue of the symbiotic relationship between human imagination and creativity on the one hand and nature, that is, science on the other, through an effort to answer the question of whether magic and science can coexist in the same space and time.

The film tries to answer this question through the experience of a young man, Peter Dickinson, who is transported from the 20th century to the magical realm of fantasy. Here he becomes part of a group of heroes who strive to stop the evil wizard Omadon who wants to rule the world.

For a children’s animated film, The Flight of Dragons shows a surprising amount of depth and detail when it comes to story development. When, after a spell goes wrong, the protagonist Peter Dickinson ends up in the body of the dragon Gorbash, another dragon teaches Peter how to breathe fire and fly, thus explaining through scientific principles what we attribute to fiction.

On the hero’s path, the obstacles are shown in the form of monsters that seem to be deliberately drawn to look quite terrifying. The film also has a lot of death scenes, both graphically depicted and implied, although in the end, as expected, good triumphs over evil, and apparently logic over magic.

Despite this, the end of the film strongly encourages us to think about the necessity of a symbiotic relationship between science and magic (human imagination and creativity) and to show that science is inspired by fiction and vice versa, and that without this relationship, our life would have no meaning.

It is interesting to say that the voice of the evil wizard Omadon was given by none other than the actor James Earl Jones who lent his voice to another famous villain – Darth Vader in “Star Wars”.

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