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Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real (aka The Last Dragon and Dragon's World) is a 2004 British-American Mockumentary describing the finding of an actual dragon carcass frozen in the mountains of Romania, its study and subsequent explanations (via CGI re-creations a la Walking with Dinosaurs) of the anatomy, ecology and evolutionary history of these mythical creatures, ending with their final extinction in the 15th century. Or did it?
Notable for leading many viewers to think that everything told in the documentary was truth, and therefore dragons actually existed. This might have been fueled by some format similarities with Impossible Pictures Walking with... series and the fact that it was aired on educational TV stations like Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel.
Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real provides examples of:
- Adventurer Archaeologist - Dr. Tanner
- Atlantis Is Boring: The Marine dragon segment of the documentary is much shorter than those of the 3 terrestrial dragons (Prehistoric, Forest, and Mountain).
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons - Subverted. Despite first popping up right alongside the dinos, dragons are stated to be highly derived crocodilians.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs - The show states that dragons have been around since the early Triassic. Why do the prehistoric scenes have to take place in the very late Cretaceous? Because everything's better with Stock Dinosaurs.
- Free Fall Romance
- Green Aesop: Thankfully, a much more subtle one
- Humans Are Bastards - Damned humans, killing all the dragons...
- Ignored Expert - Dr. Tanner's backstory; he's the joke of the scientific community for believing in dragons.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
- Last of Its Kind
- Mama Dragon: The prehistoric dragon mother.
- Monster Is a Mommy - Inverted. The first frozen dragon found is a baby. Her mother is even bigger.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The mother dragon decides to raid human farms... which makes the humans angry, leading to the death of her daughter and herself
- Non-Malicious Monster: The dragons
- Only Six Faces / Palette Swap - Apart from the "Prehistoric Dragon", all of the other dragons look almost identical apart from a few small changes in wing size.
- Our Dragons Are Different - Four different species are shown: The Prehistoric Dragon (similar to a Wyvern), the Sea Dragon, the Chinese Forest Dragon and the European Mountain Dragon.
- There's also a "Desert Dragon" in the phylogenetic tree shown, but its never elaborated on.
- The Precursors - Humans learned the values of cooking from dragons. No joke.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The mother Prehistoric Dragon managed to drive off the Tyrannosaurus Rex and save her son at the cost of her own life.
- Reluctant Monster: Dragons only raid human farms because they have no choice
- Rule of Cool
- Sacrificial Dragon: The mother prehistoric dragon.
- Sea Monster - The Sea Dragon is used to explain legends about sea serpents and other aquatic monsters.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog - The story of the Prehistoric Dragon seems to be this. The young dragon lost his mother to a T-Rex. He barely avoids death at the hands of an older dragon. Later he grew up and then he managed to defeat another dragon. With that he managed to gain his own territory and his own mate. But then the K-T Extinction Event happens.
- Shown Their Work - The premise of the documentary is to show how giant six-legged, flying lizards that breathe fire could exist. And it mostly succeeds.
- Stealth Pun: In one segment, a tiger attempted to pounce on a dragon waiting in the shadows
- Stock Footage - You'll be seeing that shot of the mountain dragon's head entering the frame, then turning to face something a lot. Sometimes it's flipped so she's looking the other way. Along with several other shots recycled several times (curiously, only the mountain dragon segment has this reuse of footage).
- Tiger Versus Dragon - A literal case; dragon wins.
- Together in Death: In the end, the mother dragon and the daughter dragon that was discovered and studied was put in a museum exhibit together.
- Tyrannosaurus Rex: A rival predator of the Prehistoric Dragon.
- Vertebrate with Extra Limbs - Most species shown have six (four legs and two wings). The "Prehistoric Dragon" they presumably descend from has four (two wings and two legs) and the extra legs came to be via a later, somewhat massive mutation that affected the Homeobox genes that regulate growth and development in animals.
- Maybe a proto-dragon with a parasitic twin was actually two haploid animals combined at conception, having two legs on its back.
- The Worf Effect - Look, a Tyrannosaurus Rex! What do you think will be the dragon's breakfast?
- The Tyrannosaurus almost killed the young dragon, the mother only wanted it gone, and used her fire only after the T. rex had grabbed and broken her wing, dooming her as well. So the fight was pretty much a draw.
- The also prehistoric, but much more recent, Chinese Dragon preys on tigers.