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Western Animation / The Flight of Dragons

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Ugh, department store seersucker, all charred with dragon exhaust.

The Flight of Dragons is a Rankin/Bass Productions and Topcraft animated film, produced in 1982, but not aired until 1986. It is loosely adapted from Gordon R. Dickson's fantasy novel The Dragon and the George. However, it replaces the main character with Peter Dickinson, the real-life author who wrote The Flight of Dragons, an art book that proposes scientific reasons for the prior existence of dragons. Got all that?

The film is a Heroic Fantasy tale in which a twentieth-century "man of science", named Peter Dickinson, travels to the world of magic to defeat Ommadon, an evil wizard who intends to take advantage of the fact that humans are choosing science over magic to seed evil throughout the world. Due to an accident, Peter ends up Sharing a Body with a dragon and he thus has to learn about how Our Dragons Are Different in order to survive. In the end, it turns out that the Powers That Be selected Peter because they needed someone who wouldn't clap his hands if he believed.

The film features a remarkably effective voice cast: John Ritter is highly sympathetic as Peter, Harry Morgan amusingly eccentric as Carolinus, Victor Buono (in his last role before his untimely death) convincingly growly as Aragh, James Gregory surprisingly lovable as the elderly dragon Smrgol (while also being chillingly menacing as the evil dragon Bryagh) — and James Earl Jones sonorous and magisterially evil as the Red Wizard Ommadon.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: Peter's literary counterpart, Jim Eckert, stays in medieval England with his wife Angie, leading to the rest of the Dragon Knight series. Peter, instead, returns home to the modern world, and Melisande leaves the Magic Realm to be with him.
  • Adaptational Badass: Possibly with Bryagh. Here he's a Hero Killer taking down Giles, Danielle, Aragh and ending in a mutual kill with Sir Orrin. However his opponents are substantially weaker than his book opponents of Smrgol and Secoh, two dragons.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Sir Brian Neville-Smythe becomes Sir Orrin Neville-Smythe, probably to make him sound more fantastical. Oddly Orrin was the name of Geronde's father in the original story.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Carolinus was much grumpier in the original book.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Bryagh is much nastier than his book counterpart.
  • Adaptational Species Change: Sir Giles was a selkie in the Dragon Knight series rather than an elf.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Peter is much less capable in Dragon-form than Jim Eckert, who took on men-at-arms and managed to beat an Ogre single-handedly, as opposed to Peter's ineffectiveness.
  • Adapted Out: Angie, Secoh, Daffyd the Welshman, Lady Geronde Isabel de Chagny, Giles o' the Wold (his name remains but nothing of his character), Sir Hugh de Bois, and the Dark Powers.
  • Animesque: One of the Rankin/Bass films animated by Topcraft, like The Last Unicorn.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Red Crown of Ommadon, source of that wizard's dark power.
  • Artificial Limbs: The Ogre of Gormley Keep has a pegleg.
  • Artistic License Chemistry: The dragons swallow limestone, which reacts with their stomach acid to produce hydrogen for flight and breathing fire. Limestone (calcium carbonate) releases carbon dioxide, not hydrogen, when it reacts with acid.
  • Badass Boast: Ommadon has an epic one.
    Ommadon: I am the world, and the world... is Ommadon."
  • Badass Bookworm: Peter, who uses scientific facts to unravel Ommadon's magic. His big heroic moment is invoking every discipline of mathematics and science in a Pre-Mortem One-Liner. Never has academia been so awesome.
  • Badass Creed: Sir Orrin's Last Stand against Bryagh.
    Sir Orrin: Blade with whom I have lived, blade with whom I now die. Serve right and justice one last time! Seek one last heart of evil, still one last life of pain. Cut well old friend, and then... farewell!
  • Big Bad: Ommadon the Red Wizard wants to destroy the Realm of Science and turn the Realm of Magic into a hell-hole.
  • Boring, but Practical: Carolinus suffers from some sort of chronic pain, and all the magical solutions he's tried so far failed to make it better. Peter guesses he must have stomach ulcers, and tells him to drink some milk. It works.
  • Bowdlerize: Most television broadcasts omit the scene of Peter/Gorbash and Smrgol getting drunk in the inn's basement.
  • Bring It: Peter successfully lures out the ogre with "Hey you! Come on out and fight!"
  • Brown Note: The Sandmirks cricket-like sound may not be as maddening as it's portrayed as In-Universe, but it is very painful to hear. Even worse if there's a lot of them nearby.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Ommadon is officially the wizard of evil and destruction, yet he is invited to the brothers' councils the same as the rest. In one scene he even gleefuly boasts that he's gathered "the sum total of the world's evil" into himself.
  • Cessation of Existence: What Ommadon idiotically accomplishes in the ending. He refuses to relinquish the world to mankind and yield to science and logic. He finds out the hard way, all his curses, hexes and evil is nothing compared to the might of science harnessed for the good of all mankind.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Shield of Saturn and Flute of the Muses, given to the heroes at the beginning, each come in handy exactly once to overcome an obstacle.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Inverted; Peter Dickinson defeats Ommadon by denying the existence of magic. Science, on the other hand...
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: The four brothers each have an assigned color and element. Carolinus — green and earth; Lo Tae Shao — yellow and air; Solarius — blue and water; Ommadon — red and fire.
  • Composite Character:
    • Peter takes Jim Eckert's role in the story but is based on author Peter Dickinson.
    • Sir Orrin takes on Daffyd's romantic interest in Danielle
    • The Ogre of Gormley Keep combines his book counterpart that Smrgol slew in the backstory with the unnamed ogre Jim fights at the Loathly Tower
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • The 2000s home video cover makes the film look like a happy romping adventure, when it's actually a quite dark, violent and dramatic story. Carolinus's robes are also changed to purple to make him more visually distinct from Gorbash (who rather looks like Smrgol, but green, or is it just him?).
    • The UK cover is closer to the film's tone, though the art style is more realistic than the film, and Sir Orrin fights a green dragon in Ommadon's kingdom, which he never does in the film (or is Bryagh recolored in green somehow?).
  • Daddy's Girl: Melisande to Carolinus. It doesn't really become evident until she's in her weird coma, at which point he calls her "my darling, darling child" and weeps copiously. Possibly the most genuinely moving scene in the whole film.
  • Death by Depower: The red wizard Ommadon is determined to use his terrible powers to keep humanity in the thrall of wizardry. However, he is confronted by The Chosen One, who firmly believes in science. Every attempt by Ommadon to terrify and cow The Hero meets with debunking, until Ommadon expends himself entirely trying to sunder this Implacable Man. There is nothing left of him except his red crown.
  • Decapitated Army: The Sandmirks disperse and run off after their queen gets killed by Aragh.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: What Peter does to Ommadon (and would probably do to Cthulhu or any other Eldritch Abomination for that matter). He denounces the wizard's true form, for nothing so evil or hideous can ever possibly be real.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Peter's Flight of Dragons fantasy role-playing game reflects the Dungeons & Dragons boom of the early Eighties.
  • Doing in the Scientist: The motive behind Ommadon's actions is to deny science in favor of magic. The problem...
  • Doing In the Wizard: Peter's specialty, and the whole reason he was chosen to lead the quest. He is completely successful as a result.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Invoked by Ommadon, along with a Title Drop, when sending Bryagh forth to battle the heroes.
  • The Dragon: Ommadon's top goon is Bryagh, who is a literal dragon as well.
  • Dragon Hoard: Dragons sleep on hoards because gold is soft and will not catch fire.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: Lo Tae Shao is Asian, and so is his dragon, Shen Zu.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Sir Orrin does one to Danielle (who's already dead) after slaying Bryagh.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Sir Orrin dies by the fire of Bryagh but manages to kill him, after a Badass Creed.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: As Smrgl shows Peter, dragons eat limestone and will swallow gemstones to help digest them, much like birds eat grit to grind their food. The limestone produces the gasses necessary for them to fly and breathe fire.
  • Ethnic Magician: The four brothers are oddly diverse. Carolinus is your typical white Merlin-type of wizard, Solarius is an Ambiguously Brown man whose garb suggests Arabia, Lo Tae Shao is Asian (and even has an Asian dragon). Ommadon... well, he's sort of a chalky gray... and hobgoblin-ish.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: The closed captioning regularly confuses a dragon's hoard for a dragon's horn.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Or rather, evil cannot comprehend science wielded for good. Ommadon gets his ass royally handed to him when he and Peter confront each other in the final showdown.
  • Evil Egg Eater: Bryagh, in Sir Orrin's story of how he rescued an unhatched Gorbash from that horrible fate.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Ommadon growls and roars all of his dialogue.
  • Evil Laugh: Both Ommadon and Bryagh revel in letting these out.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Ommadon, red-clad wizard and general malcontent who lords his magical power over others and vows to spread Greed, Polluted Wastelands and weapons of mass destruction among humanity. He is officially the evil brother of the four.
  • Evil Sounds Deep:
  • Expy:
    • Ommadon fills the same role as the Dark Powers do in The Dragon and the George, even using the Loathly Tower as his base.
    • Antiquity serves a similar role to the Auditing Department in the original story.
  • Extra Eyes: The giant Ogre of Gormley Keep, whose castle is the gate to Ommadon's kingdom, used to have three eyes (with one on his forehead) and lost one prior to the film.
  • The Fair Folk: Giles is an elf, but you'd hardly know it from his appearance and abilities; Ommadon also tries to beckon various monstrous fantasy creatures at the climax. The usual small, pretty, beneficial fairy types are depicted early on, though.
  • Famous Ancestor: Peter is said by Antiquity to be the 777th descendant of Great Peter, who taught dragons to speak.
  • Fantastic Nature Reserve: Carolinius' plan is to create an otherwise unreachable sanctuary, a place where all of the magic and magic creatures will go to in order to avoid destruction as man increasingly favors logic over magic.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Ommadon explaining how his magic's influence on man naturally leads to the creation of the atomic bomb.
  • Forced Sleep: The flute that Lo Tae Shao gives to the party has the power to put even the fiercest dragon to sleep, and near the end it's used to disable the entire flight of dragons that Ommadon sends against them. All except Bryagh, that is, and since it put Peter to sleep as well, he descends virtually unopposed.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The innocent Princess Melisande summons the Silver Owls of the Full Moon purely by singing.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Orrin smacks dragon!Peter on the head with the hilt of his sword to snap him out of the sandmirks' entrancing hold over his mind.
  • A God Am I: Ommadon has a fairly spectacular rant on this topic upon going One-Winged Angel. Peter has none of it, pointing out every claim Ommadon makes is logically impossible. For example, when Ommadon challenges Peter to ask him to "reach up and pull down the sun", Peter retorts that this cannot be done because the sun's light takes just over eight minutes to reach Earth. Therefore, if Ommadon tries to pull the sun down, he will be reaching towards the part of the sky it occupied eight minutes ago, not where it is now.
  • Hand Wave:
    • Melisande's recovery from her strange pseudo-coma. Carolinus believes it to have been Ommadon's crown which revived her, having been brought to her by Peter after the battle, adding that her revival was foretold by prophecy. Not only was that prophecy never before mentioned, but if he knew that was the case, why was he so upset when she first went into the coma?
    • Practically everything about Melisande was hand-waved. Who were her parents, who were murdered when she was a child? She's apparently a princess, so how did Carolinus end up as her guardian? Where exactly is the kingdom she's a princess of, and who is running it?
  • Hero Killer: Bryagh kills almost the entire party. Everyone gets better.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Both played straight and averted. There are two heroes, and one ends up with the redhead, and the other gets the blonde, though technically, the redhead herself could count as a hero.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Smrgol dies after making the Ogre of Gormely Keep fall from his rampart, as the fight was too much strain for his old heart.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Bryagh is impervious to metal weapons, but he perishes when Sir Orrin throws his now-flaming sword at him, thanks to his own fire.
  • Honor Before Reason: Sir Orrin is adamant about following the laws of chivalry, particularly during his first encounter with Bryagh where he notes it seemed a shame to die over an egg, but he'd already made the challenge.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: With Peter inhabiting Gorbash's body, he has no idea how to use a dragon's skills, leading Smrgol to join the quest as a mentor. An afternoon is spent training him how to breathe fire and to fly.
    Ommadon: [over fits of mocking laughter] A dragon... that doesn't know how to be... a dragon!
  • Humans Are Bastards: Invoked by Ommadon, who claims that with his "help", magic's death will be averted as his brand of Black Magic will instead feed on humanity's darker impulses, driving them to ultimately destroy themselves with their own science and leaving the survivors rejecting it to instead cling to magic instead. He even says as much that "Fear rules Man!"
  • I Fell for Hours: "Actually, it's been more like ten centuries!"
  • Immune to Fire:
    • Dragons can breathe fire in each other's face without an issue.
    • The Ogre of Gormley Keep gets a facefull of fire from Peter (in Gorbash's body) while the latter tries to free himself from the Ogre's Killer Bear Hug. Unfortunately for Peter, it does nothing to the Ogre.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Melisande's long blonde hair is beautiful... except for the part where it looks like she's wearing gigantic seashells on either side of her head (though if you remember what Ommadon's voice actor is most famous for, it becomes obvious where her hairstyle came from).
  • Jerkass: A group of commoners who laughed at Carolinus' weakening magic.
  • Killed Off for Real: Out of the major characters, Smrgol, Bryagh, and Ommadon end up biting the dust. Almost all the heroes taste death at one point or another, but they're revived at the end of the movie.
  • Killer Bear Hug: The attempt of Peter (in Gorbash's body) to attack the Ogre of Gormley Keep fails and he ends up squeezed in the ogre's arms. He's saved by Smrgol's intervention.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Sir Orrin Neville-Smythe is an armor-plated wandering do-gooder with a strong moral code and a fine moustache.
  • The Last Dance: Upon confronting Bryagh for the final time, Sir Orrin draws his sword and gives a badass creed:
    "Blade with whom I have lived, blade with whom I now die. Serve right and justice one last time! Seek one last heart of evil, still one last life of pain. Cut well old friend, and then... farewell!"
  • Latin Is Magic: When Carolinus is trying to save a plummeting Peter by boosting the speed of the dragon Gorbash, his Latin is rusty,and the desperation pushes him into a fragmented spell that finishes with a general-purpose "Kala!" The result is that Peter gets fused with Gorbash, becoming a huge dragon with the mind of the human Peter Dickinson.
  • Leave Him to Me!: A heroic variant. When the group prepares to confront the dragons, Sir Orrin states: "Let me take Bryagh." Of course this is ignored when Bryagh actually arrives, but Sir Orrin was the only one who stood a chance anyway.
  • Like Brother and Sister: An inter-species version. Melisande, at one point in the film, addresses Gorbash as "brother," presumably because (as Orrin's narration later indicates) they grew up together in the care of Carolinus.
  • Living Gasbag: Dragons fly by digesting limestone to make hydrogen and thereby inflating themselves like blimps. The wings are simply to steer.
  • Loophole Abuse: Solarius holds dominion over the oceans and outer space, and since the quest is a land-based affair, he is unable to recruit any help for Peter under normal circumstances. Luckily for him, Aragh drowned underwater, allowing Solarius to restore him to life in exchange for joining the group.
  • Love at First Sight:
    • Peter and Melisande, more or less; their first meeting is pretty fraught with chemistry, and they later share a little interlude the night before he leaves on the quest. This is apparently enough to induce her to follow him into the real world at the end.
    • On a more squicky level, Sir Orrin decided to marry Melisande on their first meeting...when she was five. Fortunately, this turned out to be more of a case of the knight deciding that he was supposed to marry the princess when she grew up, rather than one of genuine attraction, and he pretty much forgot the entire idea once he met Danielle.
  • Made of Shiny: The Silver Owls of the Full Moon; the silver acorn Antiquity gives Carolinus. Antiquity itself, arguably.
  • Mage Tower: Each magician lives in one which reflects his elements and personality — a weirdly coral-like tower that stretches from the crashing waves to high into the air for Solarius, the Blue Wizard of Sea and Space; a clifftop temple for Lo Tae Zhao, Golden Wizard of Light and Air; an ominous peak with a gaping-jawed skull-like top amidst volcanic wastelands for Ommadon, the Red Wizard of Fire and Darkness; and a humble but comfortable farm amidst lush grassy fields and forests for Carolinus, Green Wizard of Earth and Nature.
  • The Magic Goes Away: What with the advance of science and logic, the assorted fantasy flora and fauna must retreat to the "Last Realm of Magic."
  • Magic Misfire: Carolinus has been doing this more and more often lately, and it's what causes Gorbash and Peter to merge.
  • Magic Versus Science: The worlds of science and magic are separate dimensions struggling for dominance, although Carolinus admits that science will ultimately win in the end. Ommadon doesn't believe it one bit. Played With, as while science and magic are separate, it's more about what one chooses to embrace and believe rather than one being superior to the other. It's just humanity is choosing science.
  • The Magocracy: Envisioned by the green wizard Carolinus, as he sees humanity moving away from magic and nature, and toward mechanics and physics. Carolinus proposes creating an enclave where wizards, magic and fantasy beings can exist, separate and undetectable by humans. The yellow and blue wizards concur, but red wizard Ommadon refuses to go along with this "fools' paradise," vowing to keep humanity under the thrall of magic, through fear and force.
  • Meaningful Name: Sir Orrin explains to Peter that he named the baby dragon Gorbash after the circumstances of his hatching — Orrin had fought with Ommadon's dragon, and it was gory, and he did get bashed up a bit.
  • Merging Mistake: When Peter is plummeting to his certain doom and Gorbash unable to descend fast enough to catch him, Carolinus tries to invoke a magic spell to speed up Gorbash, but being pressed for time, Carolinus can't assemble the Latin phraseology completely, and concludes with a general-purpose "Kala!" The result is Peter being merged with Gorbash.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: Sir Orrin ran afoul of Bryagh when he caught him eating dragon eggs.
  • Mordor: Ommadon's kingdom ticks all the boxes.
  • Mundane Utility: When being intrigued by how dragons fly and breathe fire and not having his curiosity satisfied with Smrgol's A Wizard Did It explanation, Peter (in Gorbash's body) burns a little tree and uses the charred trunk as a makeshift pencil to make a drawing to try to scientifically explain the phenomenon.
  • Mutual Kill:
    • Smrgol manages to make the Ogre of Gormley Keep fall to his death, but at the cost of fatally exhausting himself.
    • Sir Orrin dies from Bryagh's fire, but not before killing the dragon with his sword (now flaming thanks to Bryagh's fire).
  • Nave Newcomer: Peter, in Gorbash's body, must learn how to live as a dragon and fight as a dragon.
  • Necessarily Evil:
    • This is Ommadon's role in the wizardly brothers; without his evil to oppose and define itself against, the good of his brothers would be a weak, impotent thing.
    • Ommadon's entire plan; rather than meekly hide or let mankind destroy the world of magic with science, his plan is to instead attack science and destroy it first.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: When Ommadon causes Carolinus to lose the ability to track the quest through magical means, the image of his brother Lo Tae Shao appears and reminds him that Melisande has the previously unmentioned ability to do the exact same thing by entering a trance. It's basically an excuse for Melisande to have something to do and prevent Carolinus from talking to himself when providing exposition.
  • Not Quite Dead: Averted with Aragh. He DID die drowning, but was revived by Solarius, in exchange for killing the Sandmurk queen and joining the quest.
  • No-Sell:
    • Peter charging the Ogre of Gormley Keep and using his fire breath. None of these work, and it's up to the old Smrgol to defeat the ogre the only way that works: making him fall from his ramparts.
    • Later, Peter to Ommadon, laughing off his, to him, ridiculous claims, while rattling off the surprisingly accurate scientific reasoning over why his claims don't work, followed by destroying him with the very science he hoped to usurp the power of.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: An obvious consequence of the above.
  • Obviously Evil: Ommadon. While the other three wizards are sagely older men (of various racial backgrounds), Ommadon is a gaunt, hunched, goblin-like creature with yellow eyes, tusks, and even a horn on his nose, to say nothing of his billowing red robes.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on Carolinus' face when he realizes that not ALL of the dragons were put to sleep. Ommaddon's dragon Bryagh is still active.
  • One-Winged Angel: Ommadon takes a deep hit of evil magic for the final confrontation and swells up into a hulking monstrosity with multiple dragon heads sprouting from his back and shoulders. It ain't pretty.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Sir Orrin, who clearly has never been any closer to England than Liverpool — East Liverpool, Ohio, that is.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragon biology is discussed rather in-depth, including their need to eat limestone to generate hydrogen gas, which enables them to fly and breathe fire, as well as their use of soft metal for bedding, as it will not catch fire. This is most of what is taken from the film's namesake, The Flight of Dragons by Peter Dickinson. In it, the author hypothesizes that dragons evolved from dinosaurs, survived extinction by pure luck, and evolved to fly and breathe fire using the aforementioned gas.
  • Our Dwarves Are Different: The dwarf species of the film's universe looks straight out of Snow White (they mine diamonds), if only for their size (which seems a quarter or third of the usual size of fantasy dwarves, very small compared to a dragon's head but not quite into Lilliputians territory).
  • Our Elves Are Different: Giles' species of Elves is clearly not your typical Tolkien-ish beautiful human-like being with pointy ears. Instead, they look quite close to Hobbits.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: What Peter sadly ends up becoming to the world/realm of magic. To utterly destroy Ommadon, he must forsake and deny all magic. Yet somehow, he is able to interact with them, to Carolinus' amazement. Indicating part of Peter, even though he favors reality and logic, will always love and cherish his memories of magic and of dragons.
  • Parental Abandonment: Princess Melisande's parents were killed by "the night demons" when she was a small child, resulting in her being Happily Adopted by Carolinus. No explanation is ever offered for what became of the kingdom of which she is a princess.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Danielle's Establishing Character Moment against Giles's elves.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Each member of the group overcomes exactly one obstacle (not counting Danielle rescuing the party from Giles's elves).
  • Pre-Climax Climax: At Hell's Way Inn, as the humans are about to turn in, Danielle mentions that they may not live to see another night. Cue her and Sir Orrin walking out hand-in-hand, and it's never shown whether they were taken from different rooms of the Inn.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Spoken by Peter in a final attack to a desperate Ommadon, who'd suffered massive wounds from Peter's using scientific facts to to destroy the dragon heads Ommadon was using.
    Peter: "Come algebra, anatomy, astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, geometry, mathematics, meteorology, mineralology, oceanography, paleontology, physics, psychology, sociology, trigonometry, and zoology!"
    • Particularly badass when you consider he recited all these in alphabetical order.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Peter is identified as the Chosen One to Carolinus because he somehow knows what the four magic brothers, Melisande and Gorbash looked like and made them into pieces for his board game.
  • Puff of Logic: Ommadon's death, shrinking and puffing away when confronted by Peter's logic that scientifically he cannot exist.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The dominant colors on Bryagh are red and black, and he's the single more evil dragon there is.
  • Red Herring: As they are setting up camp for the night, the heroes are being spied upon by a huge, glowing-eyed wolf... Turns out the wolf is actually an old friend of Gorbash and Orrin, and he came to save them from the Sandmurks' maddening song.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Technically an inversion: I Reject Your Unreality. Once Peter starts applying his modern knowledge to magic, it stops working.
    • Once Peter realises that it's impossible for any two things to occupy the same space, he unmerges from Gorbash.
    • When Ommadon tries to move the sun, he fails because as Peter tells him, he's reaching for where the sun had been instead of where it is.
    • He erases the red wizard by proving to him that something as horrible as him cannot possibly exist.
  • Ridiculously Small Wings: Anyone watching the movie would realize the wings of the dragons, even detailed, are nowhere near big enough to allow them to fly, especially with the sort of lazy soaring they do. While never actually pointed out in the story, it is revealed that the wings aren't actually used for lift but for steering like a rudder. Dragons have less soaring and more controlled floating like a blimp.
  • Rule of Three: When Carolinus first decides to inspire the quest to bring about his idealized magic realm, Lo Tae Shao reminds him that there must be three warriors at the start of a quest, because "the laws so command it."
  • Samus Is a Girl: Danielle the archer reveals herself to be female by talking off her cap and revealing her long mane of red hair.
  • Science Destroys Magic: The central premise is a sort of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors in which magical creatures can't exist in a world where science dominates, and civilizations based on science are destroyed by fear and superstition. At the end, Ommadon encounters a literal example.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Why do humans prefer logic over magic? In the words of Lo Tae Zhao "[because] Logic is so... logical."
  • Sharing a Body: Peter is merged into Gorbash's body. Peter's body disappears and Gorbash's personality is left dormant.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Peter's confrontation with Ommadon is basically one big series of these... Scientifically-themed, of course.
  • The Sociopath: Both Ommadon and Bryagh. The former is a wicked and power hungry sorcerer who plans to destroy humanity by turning men against each other and condemning the ones who refuses to listen to him to a Fate Worse than Death and it's shown he's also willing to kill his own brothers should they interfere. The latter is a vicious and psychopathic dragon who simply kills for the joy of it and apparently he's loyal to his master just because he allows him to do it anytime he feels like.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Smrgol. Thankfully, it's pretty mild. Odds are you won't notice it for a while.
  • Straight for the Commander: Aragh rushes straight to the queen of the Sandmurks to kill her, which disorganizes them and prompts them to retreat.
  • Take Our Word for It: The Sandmurks' screeches are so horrible that they will drive any listener mad. The audience only hears a mild chittering sound.
  • Taking You with Me: Sir Orrin resolves to kill Bryagh even at the cost of his own life.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Melisande, during her weird coma, tells Carolinus what's going on with the quest.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Peter defeats the villain by reciting formulae and listing scientific disciplines.
  • Third Eye: The Ogre of Gormley Keep has three eyes — the third is on his forehead. Though he only has two working, the right one has been blinded.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: After Bryagh sets Orrin on fire, Sir Orrin throws his sword through the flames, skewering Bryagh and setting him on fire.
  • Time Travel: Carolinus travels forward to recruit Peter, bringing him into the past. Melisande travels forward to join him in the ending.
  • Title Drop: Not counting the title of the book Peter wrote.
    Ommadon: Yes, Bryagh, it's your turn now! You and your legions, attack, demolish, devour, burn, grind them to dust! Go forth and death be thy destination! Doom! Doom! A Flight of Dragons! I COMMAND IT... A FLIGHT OF DRAGONS!!
  • Token Evil Teammate: Ommadon at the beginning, the only Evil Sorcerer among the four wizards. The need for his presence is lampshaded and discussed by Carolinus ("As evil is a part of all things, evil is a part of our world of magic" and "the irony of all existence is that good would be totally impotent without the contrast of evil"). While he held the position for apparently centuries, early in the movie he goes renegade and becomes the Big Bad.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Yes and no. Sir Orrin is shown wearing his armor to bed when their camp is attacked by the sandmurks, but not when the ogre smashes through the wall of his room at the inn. Justified in the difference between being camped outside and exposed, versus being inside an inn, and thus much more safe (predicting something like the ogre would show up is asking a little much of him).
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: If one listens closely, one can hear that the words of the song with which Sir Orrin is attempting to drown out the Sandmirks are those of "Sumer is icumen in" — the oldest secular song preserved in English, though Sir Orrin does not sing it to the proper tune.
  • Villain Has a Point: It's never acknowledged, because Ommadon's actions would cause a lot of suffering, but it's not like he's entirely wrong in being angry that science started the destruction of the magical world, or in wishing to actively fight against the end of his entire world, people, and way of life.
  • Villainous Vow: The Red Wizard Ommadon comes to the Temple of Eternity to meet with three other wizards to decide their course now that mankind is developing science to meet his needs. While the other wizards agree that an enclave realm of magic be created, Ommadon refuses to retreat to this "fools' paradise" and swears upon his red crown that he'll keep mankind fearful and trembling of his magical powers. Part of this effort includes Mind Control of heretofore docile dragons, converting them into Ommadon's Elite Mooks.
  • Wife Husbandry: As mentioned, when Sir Orrin first met Melisande when she was five and he was a fully grown adult he decided he would marry her... he changed his mind pretty quickly when the (also fully grown adult) Danielle appeared.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Peter towards the Magic Realm throughout the film. Ultimately subverted when, by denying magic, he sacrifices his only chance to remain there.
  • World-Healing Wave: After defeating Ommadon.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Sir Orrin's first encounter with Bryagh was when he found him eating an entire nest of ready-to-hatch dragon eggs. After he drove Bryagh off, the last surviving egg hatched - into Gorbash.
  • Wrong Guy First: Gender-inverted. Sir Orrin's love for Melisande and desire to marry her rather conveniently disappear once Danielle joins the party.
  • The X of Y: "The Flight of Dragons"
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Perhaps inadvertently done by Sir Orrin towards the Hell's Way Innkeeper. When the Innkeeper laments that the party's draconic allies are basically devouring his larder in the basement, an inebriated Sir Orrin reminds the man that "dragons have gold, you know." The relieved Innkeeper asks if they have it with them, only to be told that he will be paid eventually and lamenting that his father told him never to extend credit to a dragon. Becomes harsher in hindsight when the Ogre of Gormley Keep destroys the inn to kidnap the party, "paying" the Innkeeper for offering the heroes hospitality by killing him.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Melisande gives up life in the Magic Realm to live in modern times with Peter.
  • You Killed My Father: Melisande accuses Carolinus of killing her parents during a moment of madness induced by the Sandmurks.
  • You Rebel Scum!: Both this and Your Little Dismissive Diminutive from Bryagh's mouth.
    "Puny scum of Carolinus!"



Ommadon detailing his plans to corrupt humanity into destroying itself.

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