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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Krull (1983)

I'm sure a lot of you who read this blog on the regular are more than aware this movie exists, but I have noticed throughout my life that few people outside of their 30's and 40's (sans me of course) have never really heard of it. That fact alone warrants me reviewing it for you here but it also happens to be a fairly entertaining fantasy film despite being rather derivative. I am pretty sure most of you reading this know that already, but I like to keep m bases well covered lest they become "are belong to us" if you get my meaning.


Plot synopsis- On the faraway world of Krull, a hideous creature known only as The Beast and his army known as the slayers is enslaving all in their wake. Two rival kingdoms are joining forces to fight The Beast's armies, but to seal the alliance there must be a marriage between Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) and Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony). After Lyssa is kidnapped, Colwyn- with the aid of a powerful ancient weapon known as "The Glaive" (which is a pretty kickass looking five bladed flying knife)- must form a makeshift army composed of everything from thieves to a crackpot wizard on a quest to rescue her from the Black Fortress and free his world once and for all.

Sure the plot is really standard fairy book stuff, and if you've ever been exposed to a story where the hero has to rescue the damsel in distress then you know how things will turn out. But come on, this one has a fucking cyclops as a character- A CYCLOPS for crying out loud! Not a CGI one either, but one made with makeup and handcraft. Alas, this movie still manages to have a rather lackluster reputation. I can see why people would feel that way but I obviously don't subscribe to that interpretation. Critics gave mixed reviews upon it's release, probably due to it's similarity in many respects to the Star Wars franchise. Couple that with the fact that it was released only two months after Return Of The Jedi and you roughly wind up with a financial disaster.

Thanks to site like imdb, movie fans like myself can crunch numbers with ease and Krull was a bona fide FLOP. The USA gross earnings were only 16 million dollars of its estimated 27 million dollar budget (some people claim it was a bigger budget than that, but 27 sounds more realistic to me). A lot of care and attention was put into the production of this film, especially where set and costume design are concerned and I find it a downright shame this movie din't manage to find its audience while in the box office. One must never underestimate Star Wars mania.

Sets and costumes aside, this movie is pretty well cast all things considered. There are some surprising appearances in the supporting character roles (perhaps most noticeably a very early film appearance by Liam Neeson). My favorites have to be Freddie Jones and Francesca Annis, their scene together is enough to have made me cry on several occasions. This is one year before they were also cast in David Lynch's 1984 film version of Dune, and it's a pity they never had another scene such as this together. The acting in the movie is so wooden it might as well be a forest, but somehow it doesn't bother me all that much considering the bedtime story type flair the movie has coming out of everywhere.

This film was obviously designed to become a smash hit by the studio judging by the merchandise produced. While not as extensive as some films it did have an Atari arcade game, a board game, an Atari 2600 game a tie in Marvel Comics adaption, and various other brik-a-brak. These plans of course evaporated as I explained earlier. I do rather find it a shame that there were never any Krull action figures though, as a toy of a Slayer would be pretty damn awesome if I do say so myself. Alas, it was not to be, maybe I can get someone to make me one? Thankfully this nice special edition DVD came out a good long while ago and for a movie so harshly put down on it has a real cornucopia of special features.

So yeah, this movie has a hell of a lot of deficiencies. The one that bothers me the most was the obvious overdubbing of Lysette Anthony with an American accent. It is jarring and really unnecessary, and doesn't really help things. Like I already said, the acting is pretty so/so, and the fact that there's a little kid and a comic relief wizard in the mix really fucks things up. One could go on for hours about just what is wrong or perceived wrong with Krull, but at the heart of it it's just a fun fantasy movie and haters are gonna hate. This is one of very few movies I can say that I really liked as a kid and still like just as much now. If you haven't seen it then I definitely recommend giving it a go, you just might like what you see. Like I said, there's a great deal of deficiencies to ignore but let's face it- this ain't Citizen Kane, it's sword and sorcery for christ's sake, and last I checked you're supposed to have FUN when you watch a movie like this.

Critics lambast this as a b-movie, I call it awesome.

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