See original review here.
Pendragon: The Sword of His Father was one of the most under-funded productions that showed the most potential. Thankfully, this potential was fulfilled in Beyond the Mask, but there were some things that could have improved Pendragon. In many ways, it seems like Pendragon was filmed over a long period of time, with each part of the movie having a different level of production quality. Despite the very low funding, the Burns family did their best to make the most out of what they had, which is all we really ask for. For example, the construction and engineering of the complex battle sets and props was impressive. However, video quality and lighting were very inconsistent throughout, and a lot of the audio quality was reworked in post. Essentially, all this production needed was better funding, which the Burns family had in Beyond the Mask, so they followed through on their potential.
Plot and Storyline Improvements
Pendragon is one of deepest and most complex plots we have ever reviewed, especially since it was based on a long historical account. Unfortunately, the Burns were forced to cram almost four hours of epic content into two hours, which was still an impressive amount of time for an indie film. Even so, we feel like Pendragon could have been a two-part miniseries had the funding been there. The characters barely reach their full potential, and their epic journey across time is barely captured in this limited window we are offered. There is so much more that could have been done here if the budget had permitted. The first part could have been about the captivity of Artos and his escape, while the second part could have focused on his redemption. There are so many possibilities here, so maybe one day, we will get a remake?
Unfortunately, the casting and acting is by far the biggest detractor of Pendragon. Obviously, cast options were limited, so their hands were tied. The good thing is that casting got a major upgrade in Beyond the Mask, including the employment of an acting coach. Still, if Pendragon were remade, we would need an entirely new cast. As a side note, however, Marilyn Burns is a great costume designer.
The Burns family followed the indie film model perfectly: they began with an under-funded production that was rescued by a deep and complex plot and were given a greater opportunity to go further in Beyond the Mask. Now, all that’s missing is a follow-up film (wink wink). They are a creative team with loads of potential, just waiting to break out. If they are ever offered a full theater release and distribution contract, then Christian film will never be the same again.