Newly restored in 4K Ultra HD under the supervision of director/co-writer Matthew Robbins, the 1981 fantasy Dragonslayer arrives on 4K Ultra HD Steelbook and on Blu-ray March 21 from Paramount Home Entertainment. A limited-edition set in Steelbook packaging also will be available.
Set in sixth-century England, the fantasy follows an ill-tempered, fire-breathing creature — ominously known as Vermithrax Pejorative — terrorizes its citizens until a young sorcerer’s apprentice named Galen (Peter MacNicol) is reluctantly tasked with confronting the beast. For Galen to succeed, it will take more than magic to defeat the dragon.
The film features Oscar-nominated visual effects. Legendary visual effects supervisor Phil Tippett (Star Wars, Jurassic Park) created the film’s special effects, pioneering a new technique called “go motion” that incorporates blurring into each frame for more realistic images. Vermithrax Pejorative, the fire-breathing creature at the center of the story, was created using a combination of go motion and 16 massive dragon puppets.
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Director Guillermo del Toro, a fan of the film, joins director and longtime collaborator Matthew Robbins for a new commentary. The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray releases also include more than an hour of additional new special features including:
- “The Slayer of All Dragons,” in which Robbins, Tippett and ILM’s visual effects master Dennis Muren revisit the film and recount the challenging journey from concept to screen;
- “Welcome to Cragganmore,” a look back at the impact of Star Wars and its visual effects on Hollywood, the origin of Dragonslayer and its screenplay, and the film’s casting;
- “A Long Way to Urland,” following pre-production as it began in England and the film took shape as the young filmmakers sought gritty medieval realism through the production design, cinematography and costumes;
- “Vermithrax Pejorative,” showing how the filmmakers took on the daunting task of bringing a dragon to life;
- “Into the Lake of Fire,” showing how production woes at every turn, horrific baby dragons, and the challenge of creating Vermithrax’s iconic lair plague the filmmakers and featuring Tippett offering a mini-masterclass on crafting powerful creature performance through detailed animation; and
- “The Final Battle,” showing how the team faced the unique challenges of the film’s stage-bound climax, filmed entirely against a blue screen.
The 4K Ultra HD limited-edition Steelbook includes the film on 4K Ultra HD, the bonus content detailed above, and collectible packaging with a removable O-sleeve featuring an image of the theatrical poster, which, when removed, reveals original artwork of the final battle with Vermithrax Pejorative. The package also includes access to a digital copy of the film.
The 4K Ultra HD release includes the film on 4K Ultra HD, the bonus content, and access to a digital copy of the film. The Blu-ray includes the film in high definition, along with the bonus content and access to a digital copy of the film.
All three releases also include the original theatrical trailer and screen tests.