A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 124 – Willow

Willow – July 2nd, 2010

I admit it. I had never seen this before. Sure, I laugh when MST3K makes fun of it, but I’d never actually seen it before. That doesn’t seem quite fair, so here we are. It seems strange, I know. I’m a big fantasy fan. I’m sure the local Blockbuster had it when I was a kid. I saw Labyrinth. I saw The Dark Crystal. I saw Neverending Story about a billion times. I saw the Ewok movies and a whole host of forgettable made-for-tv fantasies. How did I miss this one? I have no clue.

As fantasy plots go, it’s fairly standard fare. There’s an evil queen, a prophecy about a child who’ll be her downfall, and then the quest to keep said child away from said queen until… You know, I’m not sure. The whole movie takes place while Elora, the kid, is still a pre-verbal baby. Maybe I missed some key plot exposition or maybe the plan was to somehow hide Elora long enough for her to grow up and vanquish Bavmorda, the queen, herself? Given how easily Elora’s found in the first place, that seems like a totally unworkable plan. The way it turns out, it’s not Elora who’s Bavmorda’s undoing, it’s the people acting on her behalf to protect her. So. Yeah. Let’s not dwell. Let’s just move on.

Baby Elora ends up in the hands of Willow Ufgood, a farmer from a small peaceful village who has aspirations of being a sorcerer. When the village is attacked not a full day after Elora’s arrival (see? she floated there on the river! and they still found her a day later!) the village council decides to send Willow off to bring the baby back to where it came from – presumably a village full of taller people, as Willow’s village is all a small race known as the Nelwyns. Of course it doesn’t go as planned and he ends up traveling across the land with a rogue swordsman, Madmartigan; a sorceress, Fin Reziel; and two Brownies whose names I don’t care about.

Okay, hold on. The Brownies. Just. No. Please. I liked Madmartigan very early on just because he hated them and got them off my screen. They’re supposed to be funny but really they’re just grating.

Back to the plot. Our trio (okay, quintet, but let’s ignore the Brownies) heads off to um. A castle? Where they’ll supposedly be safe? They aren’t safe there, not at all. So why go there? Because it has weapons? Who knows. They go, the baby gets grabbed, and the climax is a big battle at Bavmorda’s fortress with her army and an army Madmartigan somehow convinced an old friend to bring along and upstairs there’s Bavmorda and Fin Reziel battling with magic. Oh, and somewhere along the way, apparently in a deleted scene, Bavmorda’s daughter Sorcha turns against her and falls for Madmartigan.

It’s kind of messy. From what I can tell, there was a lot cut out that gave the world more depth and the story more coherence. As it stands, it’s not bad, but it’s kind of confusing in places. But I’m watching this as an adult and holding it to the standard of movies like The Dark Crystal and Neverending Story (which it shares an actress with, by the way – see if you can spot her) and my nostalgia for them. If I ignore the plot holes and stuff that’s cut out and the Brownies and the dated effects, and focus on the fun stuff, it’s really not a bad movie at all.

I do really enjoy seeing Warwick Davis on screen in a leading role. He’s a lot of fun and he does a good job with the character of Willow. Val Kilmer is just plain bizarre as Madmartigan, but that fits the role the character plays, so I’m down with that. It’s got three Wilhelms, which is so awesome I can’t express it. I’m kind of curious about finding the books IMDB mentions, because the world feels like it has a lot more to it that we never see. I’m sure if I’d seen this as a kid I’d have wanted to read the books and spent as much time thinking about it as I spent thinking about Neverending Story. So I feel kind of bad about laughing at it for all this time. I mean, sure, it’s got some cheese and the effects aren’t great and there are plot holes. But it’s fun and well-acted for the most part and it’s got good action and battle scenes, so what’s the problem, right? I liked Willow just fine.

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July 2, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

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