Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Review of Pendragon: Behind the Scenes

Pendragon: Behind the Scenes
By Sara and Shannon Burns
Published 2009 
106 pages, paperback
Before Beyond the Mask, Burns Family Studios produced another movie. Called Pendragon: Sword of His Father, this movie was an exciting journey into the world of 4th Century Britain. As the Roman legions evacuate Britain, the British people are left alone to face the onslaught of Saxon barbarians invading their country. In this darkness, a hero rises to defend the British from their Saxon oppressors.
This is the basic plot of the movie, and this book details the process of making it. This book’s table of contents lists 7 sections of varying lengths:
  1. Journey’s Beginning
  2. The Story
  3. Creating the World
  4. Extras on Set
  5. The Team
  6. Journey’s End
  7. The Journey Continues
Journey’s Beginning is a preface to the book, and the first chapter is entitled The Story. This chapter tells the basic plot of Pendragon and introduces the characters, major and minor. It is lavishly illustrated with pictures: concept sketches, movie stills and “making-of” photos.
The next section “Creating the World” describes each major set and scene along with some of the work that went into it. For example, the village of Dubrinium was built in their parents’ backyard!* In addition to sets, this section also shows how various props were made. The spear heads are made from paper, the catapult could only fire 50 feet and the bows were made from PVC pipe.
No period movie would be complete without extras—people dressed in costume to populate the historic world. Pendragon is full of extras, and this section “Extras on Set” details some of their adventures and misadventures. A hilarious poem about the disasters an extra can run into ends this section. In the poem, the narrator is baked in summer, frozen in winter, wades through swamps and gets hit by an axe—only to find out that all his scenes were cut from the movie!
Chapter 4 “The Team” interviews some of the technical crew (cameraman, composer, etc.) who worked on Pendragon. Many of these crew members were also a part of Beyond the Mask.
This section is filled with fun facts about recording fire sounds, camera work, visual effects, and many other details that make up a movie.
At last, Pendragon was finished and the book ends with a word from the director Chad Burns and the producer Aaron Burns. The last word I’ll leave to Pendragon, who says in the movie, “The One who gave the vision still calls.”
This book is worth getting for the hilarious poem alone, but the additional information is both interesting and entertaining. I highly recommend it. 5/5 stars.
This book is available at
*The village of Dubrinium was re-used in Beyond the Mask. Do you know which scene it is in?

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