Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King starring Benno Furmann is an engrossing tale as well it should be as it is an adaptation of The Ring of the Niebelungs. The simple fact is that this is a good movie which does not rely solely on CGI to carry it but treats the viewer as if they have enough intelligence to suspend disbelief and not have to be convinced with digital wizardry of the existence of dragons and the Niebelungs themselves. This is not to say that the small amount of digital effects in this movie are poorly done – the dragon and the Niebelungs are well executed but they are not the whole story and the story does not hinge on those special effects.
The blocking and direction of Edel’s version of the story owes much to the Wagnerian interpretation of the northern European folk story which also served as the inspiration for Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. The story itself is fast paced and the sheer volume of treachery exhibited by the characters is enough to make you wonder where the all the honor was in the days of yore. Bravura performances by Max Von Sydow, Julian Sands, Kristanna Loken and Alicia Witt more than make up for the just out of acting class thespian skills exhibited by Benno Furmann in the lead role of Siegfried.It would be easy to fault Furmann for his acting were it not clear that the director has some very clear ideas on how the story needed to be interpreted. There is an over the top operatic intensity in every key scene of the movie which contributes to the films atomosphere and beauty. No one will mistake this movie for an Oscar hopeful it is not that kind of movie. It is clearly a personal interpretation of the story and a successful one for the watcher who is willing to give it the 132 minutes required of them. Dark Kingdom is definitely worth watching.