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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Legend of the White Horse (1986)

(aka: White Dragon)



Reviews and Comments

"How do I stop from falling?"

A plodding, pathetic little movie, The Legend of the White Horse tells the story of a environmental analyst, a witch, and a horse that turns into a cheesy dragon and turns people into rocks with red lightning that comes out its eyes. The movie is confused about its identity. The opening scenes fill us in about the main character's shady past. This turns out to be irrelevant. Later he is given a job: analyze the environmental impact of paving a road through a rural area. This turns out to be a Maguffin. What's utterly inexplicable is the part that matters. A witch lives nearby, and the analyst asks to stay there while he conducts his study. This witch has bizarre and unexplained pastimes and has some apparently important but undeterminable history with an Asian opportunist. All this raises too many important questions that the film never answers. By the end, when hit men from an exploitative company try to take everybody out, including one who climbs around on the ceiling support beams in the dragon's lair (???), we're left shocked from puzzlement. It doesn't make any sense, it's stupid anyway, and the one element of the film that might have been attractive under different circumstances is foiled by the worst special effects imaginable. Rarely have I seen effects so worse as when the white horse transitions into its dragon state. The film basically just dissolves to a creature that looks like a rejected prototype for The Dark Crystal. Worse are the effects that occur when it turns people to stone or dead wood: another dissolve is used while the characters stand awkwardly motionless as the transition occurs. The worst special effect of them all has no apparent reason for being: the film cuts to a cheesy bat all of a sudden. The scene ends, no explanation is ever given, and it has no bearing on anything. It's a metaphor for the film as a whole.