Friday, February 18, 2011


Willow is an epic yet silly movie. There are plenty of adventurous and glorious battle scenes with a pretty well designed climactic set of conflicts, but yet the heroes always seem to be humorous than serious. Some of this is by design as Madmartigan is clearly comic relief and you could easily argue that making the main character a midget is a cheap comedic method from the get-go. As I was growing up my brothers used to quote this movie to yell at me "Out of the way Peck!" Which still kind of cracks me up to this day.

I suppose since this is an 80s movie the ridiculous hairstyles are somewhat normal, or perhaps they're intended to be absurd. George Lucas actually created this film and I guess it was supposed to be the successor of Star Wars in his amazing film career. I do think this film is substantially better than the second set of three films and probably about as good as Return of the Jedi but it didn't do quite as well at the box office, naturally. There's still a Rancor like creature with classic pre-CGI effects that look goofy but once again make me feel nostalgic and loath modern CGI all the more.

As I said before this is Val Kilmer's finest role by far, even before he grew corpulent he wasn't really all that good of an actor, but he's certainly entertaining and believable in this movie. The incredible quote "I don't love her she kicked me in the face" is perhaps one of the finest lines in cinematic history. Willow, though played by storied dwarf Warwick Davis (Also in a few Star Wars movies and Harry Potter), isn't all that interesting except as a punchline. However his presence makes Madmartigan all the more heroic and silly. While there are a ton of comic relief characters I think the heroics of Val Kilmer are what make this movie extremely rewatchable, he's essentially Han Solo except with Maximus' fighting skill (though no decapitations unfortunately).

As a kid I found the villains of this film to be both impressive and horrifying which I guess makes sense given how long it takes for them to die. General Kael takes somewhere around 7 stabs and piercings to finally fall over and the Queen gets tossed around a bunch in a silly sorceress duel and finally succumbs to a few lightning bolts from the sky. The Queen is still pretty scary I suppose given the nature of her castle and crazy laughter, equally as impressive as the White Queen in the Narnia trilogy without the CGI enhancing her. Kael however is hilarious in retrospect, every time he yells something it's in the exact same tone of voice that grows increasingly ridiculous as the movie goes on. "Find the Child!" "I have the Baby!" "Kill Them"; his dialogue is limited to such one liners throughout. I think this movie could have easily sprouted an interesting trilogy or series but medieval fantasy is much harder to sell than Sci Fi unless it happens to be based on the source of all modern medieval fantasy.

Final Score: 8/10

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