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Krull – Episode 119

I came to find a king, and I find a boy instead.

34 Responses to “Krull – Episode 119”

  • Cristiona:

    God, I love this movie so much, warts and all. Honestly, reining in the cinematographer probably would have streamlined things a little. And, of course, more glaive use and less Power Of Love would have helped too, but still… this movie fucking rules. And they had to kill Liam; otherwise, he would have throat-punched the Beast and ended the movie early.

    I liked the sci-fi elements they added, especially the single-shot spears. It was weird, but it just works somehow.

    That Nestle joke was pretty great; I remember those ridiculous commercials.

    Honestly, I could see remaking it, but it would be tough. There are certainly some rough edges that could be smoothed (endless climbing, riding, establishing shots, etc), and some of the chromakey stuff looks really bad now, and like you mentioned, the pacing and quest order could be tweaked (or just more glaive use). I wouldn’t mind someone who loved the original taking another crack at it, as long as it wasn’t wall-to-wall CG. Sadly, it’d probably turn out horrible and they’d get Daniel “The Poutiest Bond” Craig to play Colwyn or something stupid like that.

    • Cecil:

      Right there with you. The movie is just so inventive I can overlook its flaws, which aren’t as glaring as most people say.

      Some tighter editing would have helped the movie but the same could be said for the Nolan Batman movies. There is a bit of director’s indulgence that could have been reigned it a little.

      Thanks! I’m really glad the Nestle bit is going over so well. It was making me laugh as I was doing it, which is always a good sign.

      Oh, and I like Daniel Craig! Ever since I first saw him in Layer Cake, which is one of the best films ever.

  • Steve:

    One of my all-time favorite movies!
    Considering the journey we see in The Lord of the Rings, I have no issue with Colwyn’s ascent up the mountain to retrieve the glaive. I also think the Slayers are extremely badass. They’re scary looking. They have awesome weapons. They can climb walls, and (this is probably just me) I always assumed they weren’t killed by their armor being destroyed, but continued to live, only to regenerate. So, they were fairly unstoppable. Okay, that’s entirely an excuse. I just love the design of them.
    Let’s discuss, just for a moment, George Lucas and his “inspiration”. In the late 1970’s in an interview in Starlog magazine, Lucas admitted that The Hidden Fortress was the “inspiration” for Star Wars. Of course, this was prior to VHS and DVD, so it was unlikely most people outside of certain film schools would ever see it. This was also prior to the re-release with the new title Star Wars, Episode 4: A New Hope. The Hidden Fortress (I know you know this, Cecil, but maybe your other viewers don’t) opens with two men walking through the desert arguing. It’s a familiar argument if you’ve seen Lucas’ opus. See, the evil empire has overthrown the country, and only a headstrong young princess, her rogue, master samurai, the two arguing buffoons, and a rescued slave girl (who vows her undying allegiance to the princess) can make it across the enemy held territory with the gold to finance a rebellion. Unfortunately, the entire empire is out to get them, including the rogue samurai master’s former student, who is clad entirely in black armor, and has a scarred face. Inspiration? I think we can say rip-off. Splitting Han Solo (rogue) and Obi-Wan (master) from the character of her bodyguard (brilliantly portrayed, as always, by Toshiro Mifune, who was actually offered the role of Obi-Wan), and the princesses realization that she loves (and comes to understand) the people of her land, are the only two things Lucas did differently, character-wise. Worse? On the Criterion edition of The Hidden Fortress, he DENIES this film inspired the story for Star Wars! Of course, he also denies the Star Wars Holiday Special, but we all know it exists. He’s also never given a reasonable explanation for The Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster, the original sequel novel for Star Wars, which has nothing to do with Lucas’ supposed grand scheme story.
    I really loved Krull. I agree that it doesn’t need a remake. It just needs to be shown as often as Beastmaster so more people get to see it.

    • Cecil:

      The ascent wasn’t all that bad, I was just emphasizing for comedic effect. The scene did run long but it helped to show just how far he had to go to get the weapon.

      The Slayers were scary and your theory about them regenerating makes sense. I just wish they would have shown something, anything about what happens when then go into the ground. They just flopped out and we don’t know what they do after that.

      Exactly. While I love Star Wars people need to realize that Lucas lifted a lot of material from The Hidden Fortress.

      When I was little I loved to Beastmaster so much I had hamsters named Kodo and Podo.

  • The spider looked really impressive in your review. When I saw it I assumed it was a real spider that moved really quickly and when shot at normal speed just looked jerky when slowed down.

    I’m sure there are exceptions, and I know 80s fantasy often has this whimsical dialogue delivery from supporting characters for whatever reason, but I lump this with Dune and conclude if you’re trying to tell an epic story there’s no reason to needlessly avoid just playing it straight. Surrealistic sets and goofy makeup effects don’t seem likely to add much to an action film.

    • Cecil:

      Stop motion animation, when done well, is amazing. So much work goes into it but the payoff is great. The skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts still look awesome, while a lot of CGI today looks ok now but doesn’t age well.

      With Krull there wasn’t a lot of “thou” and such, which made it much more appealing. Some fantasy movies go a little overboard with the dialog. With this they knew they had much to explain, so speaking with weird words and such would only confuse people more.

  • Stampy:

    One of my favorite movies from childhood, certainly one of the better fantasy movies. For me a movie in this genre without topless women is made for kids, and in that sense it works mightily, on par with Ladyhawke imho. But also compared with the other fantasy movies of the early 80’s like deathstalker, sword and sorcery etc it also holds it own as a good movie.

    Hopefully it’s on blu-ray – i haven’t looked.

    • Cecil:

      Many of the old sword and sorcery films were done like the Post apocalyptic films. They were easy to shoot (they just filmed in the middle of nowhere) and threw in some fx, explosions, and naked ladies. Low cost, quick to shoot, high return.

      While I like those flicks like Deathstalker, movies like Ladyhawke and Krull did fantasy right.

      Krull has a special edition DVD but no blu ray that I am aware of.

  • daniel rees:

    Really loved this review krull is an awesome movie. But your idea for the sequel sounds very intetesting. This film strangly reminds me of the video game shadow of the beast. They dont make these films anymore. If i had billions of dollers i would totally make this into a series of films. And obviously bring back liam neeson.

    • Cecil:

      Thanks! I don’t think I mentioned it on my post about remakes but most often movies would benefit from a well done sequel instead of a half baked remake. I love Tron and I think Tron Legacy did a great job of continuing the story. More should follow that lead.

      They don’t make movies like this anymore because movie making has been reduced to product. There are still some directors and producers out there that are passionate about making movies but from the mainstream POV, its business. There was a time when studios would take 10 films and give them 20 million each. The chances were that one or more of them would be a hit and they would get a solid return on investment. Now, they dump all their money into 1 movie and the studio’s full fiscal year depends on the success of that one movie. It is a stupid way to do business and that is one of the reasons why you see so many studios going under or merging.

  • I’ve found that I’m often critically indifferent towards fantasy films, and I think its because I didn’t grow up during the 80s were there was an abundance of that particular genre. When I was a kid during the 90s, the re-release of Star Wars and the emergence of CG in movies like “Jurassic Park” put sci fi adventure and action/horror in the forefront while fantasy was almost non existent. Which is a shame because even just looking at films like this you can see an incredible level of imagination at work.

    • Cecil:

      Fantasy unfortunately was pushed to the side in the 90s. Frankly, with the massive success of The Lord of the Rings and The Harry Potter movies, you think there would be more fantasy films.

      • slxslippy:

        Unfortunately, the few we did get were the result of studio execs saying, ‘This Harry Potter is a goldmine…what can we option that’s like that?’ So we get mountains of Harry Potter and Twilight clones instead of good, original stories.

        I agree with you that instead of endless remakes, they should focus on creative and lovingly crafted sequels (or prequels). The problem is that even when (somehow, against all odds) a genuinely good idea gets through the studio system they fuck it up. A great example would be the prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing. I consider that film a masterpiece and an inarguable success as both a well-crafted film and in terms of storytelling. When I heard about the prequel, I cringed. At first because I consider the original untouchable, and it seemed like heresy to mess with it. Then I read more. Oh, it’s not a remake but a prequel. It’s the story of the Norwegian camp? Ends at the exact place the original begins? That actually sounds like a great idea. I had my hopes, but still cringed inside because this is Hollywood, and I knew they’d fuck it up. I was right.

        What made the original great (in my opinion, of course), was that awful, creeping feeling of dread. The paranoia that dripped from every scene, every interaction between the characters. That and the amazing (not only for the time, but just in general) practical FX work of Rob Bottin (with an assist from Stan Winston). The ‘prequel’ had none of this. The CGI was just flat and lifeless. It was technically competent CGI, I’m not saying it was Syfy Channel Original Movie bad, just that it had no ‘heart’. The creatures in the original movie seemed truly alien, with the multitudes of tiny tentacles. Weird, misplaced, half-identifiable organs and such mixed together. Even after the creature goes through several evolutions and ends up as the Blair monster you can see bits of dog in it. The prequel…not so much. Just plastic looking amalgamations of whatever the FX designers thought might look cool. The acting, again, was competent. Some of them were even good. I like Joel Edgerton in general, and thought he was good in this movie. The problem was in the writing. The hero of the Norwegian camp is inexplicably American. I guess there are no competent ice excavation experts in Norway (commence eyerolling). There’s no paranoia. Some is written in, but this achieves nothing (first rule of writing: show, don’t tell). The ending doesn’t even match up properly with the beginning of the original as intended. It just didn’t work the way it should have on multiple levels. So you end up with a film that doesn’t satisfy fans of the original, and isn’t good enough on its own to create its own fans.

        So, the conclusion I’ve drawn is that even sequels and prequels are a bad idea because they’re inevitably mishandled. I never saw the original Tron, though i did see the sequel (and other than Olivia Wilde in a jumpsuit, it did little for me) so I’ll take your word that it was a well-handled example. I guess it can happen, I just won’t count on it. For every Tron, you have a couple dozen Thing prequels or Akira remakes (Studio exec: “Hey guys, let’s take a popular story that’s deeply rooted in a particular culture, transplant it to LA and cast Keanu Reaves or whoever as a teenager! It’s Win-Win!), or F’d up versions of original ideas (Studio exec: This book ‘All You Need is Kill’ is a great story. But instead of a japanese teenager, let’s make it Tom Cruise! And lose the cool mecha suit. We’ll just CGI a goofy-looking HALO suit onto Tom. Much better.).

        Bah humbug.

        • Cecil:

          Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be as many “movie” folks in the producer chair these days. They are guys who one way or another landed a monstrous pile of money and they use it to crank out soulless big budget films that somehow continue to make bank despite getting a 10% on rotten tomatoes. In their eyes, what would be the value of working to make a good film when a bad film that gets marketed out the wazoo makes just as much, if not more?! This isn’t always the case (Battleship, for example) but it works more often than not. I just think in the case of Battleship, everyone realized how much of a terrible idea it was.

          The Thing is one of the high water marks in cinema. They made some of the most mind bogglingly amazing visual effects with nothing but ingenuity. It still looks incredible and it works. I did enjoy the prequel but I wished they would have kept the practical effects. (they did the whole thing with practical effects and then after it was shot one of the producers insisted they go back and do it all digital…so 2 versions exist but the studio only released the CGI version) I’ve seen the practical effects and they look amazing. A shame that, as usual, the idiot with money had no idea what filmgoers really want.

          I liked Tron. Visually I thought it was amazing, for this they had to do it with CGI so I was fine with it, and I thought they did a great job of keeping the story going instead of rebooting. Some things were silly, like a computer program night club? However, it didn’t bug me all that much.

          You want to talk about misplanted movies, look at all the J-horror remakes. They don’t realize that the “creepy girl with long hair” is their version of a ghost. So every movie has the creepy girl in it. They seem to forget there is a cultural divide. They overlook it and just think it is a stylistic choice. I was watching the Apparition the other day and the ghost in that was “creepy girl” but it wasn’t a remake! They just did it for the style. So stupid.

          A live action Akira movie made in the US will never work.

      • john:

        That’s the problem with Lord of the Rings it is basically the benchmark of which the genre is now set against so if there is any fantasy films in the future they will try to emulate it instead of the less epic fun style of fantasy films from the 80’s.

        Snow White and the Huntsman tried to have a Lord of the Rings feel to it that the main screenwriter said was his biggest influence in writing the script.

        “What does Snow White, a fairly tale about the fairest woman in the land, have to do with “Lord of the Rings” and the battle for Middle-earth?

        Quite a bit, according to Evan Daugherty, who wrote a spec script nearly a decade ago that blended the two tales.

        Daughtery was enamored of the film version of “Lord of the Rings” trilogy while an undergraduate at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

        Lucky for him, Joe Roth and Universal soon shared his affinity for this fairy-fantasy blend, turning Daugherty’s script into director Rupert Sanders’ “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

        “As you say, revisionist versions of classic tales have become quite popular, but you wrote this almost a decade ago. Why take that approach? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t inspired by “Lord of the Rings.” I was in college and my sophomore year “Fellowship of the Ring” came out. My junior year was “Two Towers.” My senior year was “Return of the King.” College was four years of Lord of the Rings fever.”

        I would prefer just the classic fantasy set up Big Evil threatens the land for some reason where a hero with a group of various oddball characters with different skills have to journey on a quest to fight and kill Big Evil and his henchmen shoving that big sword or whatever up it’s ass. 🙂

        If it is part of a prophecy or not is optional.

        Even Dragon Strike did a pretty good outline of a basic fantasy adventure.

        “Feeling brave tonight? How brave? Brave enough to battle with hideous monster? Hmm? Brave enough to sneak around dank castles in the dark and become the next victim of a DRAGON STRIKE!!”

        • Cecil:

          While I love the LotR films, there is a place for more light hearted fantasy. Unfortunately, as I often rant, the studios don’t see the reason to do anything other than “whats hot”. They just make whatever style works until it stops working and then they move on to the next thing. A little variety would help.

          From what I’ve heard, the original script for Snow White and the Huntress spawned a bidding war between 2 studios which ultimately led to a huge payday for the writer. I thought the movie was well done but Stewart just wasn’t a strong enough lead. I do have a new found respect for her since seeing Adventureland but I think she was cast in the role for her “star power” and not because she was the right person for the job. I also heard rumors that most of her dialog was cut from the film. (not sure, just something I heard)

  • Al:

    I’ll never see a more fantastic use of the Nestle commercial ever.

  • Oh,how I remember those Nestle commercials(and for the record,the Alpine White was pretty tasty). I somewhat recall reading the novelization of Krull and a sequence where the Beast took the form of Colwyn in order to seduce Lyssa,which in some weird way reminds of that part in Legend where Mia Sara is similarly enticed by Darkness(she winds up with a cool goth girl outfit).

    Great review,Cecil and these new intros are awesome!

    • Cecil:

      I was never big into White Chocolate but I did like the Alpine white…it was the almonds. Still, give me dark chocolate.

      In the movie there was a scene where he turned into Colwyn but I skipped over it.

      Oh Legend. The makeup and prosthetics on Tim Curry were incredible. Mia Sara was just stunning back then too. I’ve had a crush on her since Ferris Bueller.

      Thanks! I have my buddy doing a few more intros. They are going over really well, which is making him want to do more. So keep the compliments coming! They are helping to increase the quality of these productions! 🙂

  • Mike:

    Awesome review, this along with Damnation Alley are on a short list of movies I need/want to watch. There is something so interesting about these older movie that don’t solely rely on CGI. I’m not a big sci-fi buff but the sci-fi films from the 70’s and 80’s draw me in and capture my imagination, while the modern ones seem very much a like to me. Those are just my feeling and certainly not fact. It just seems that heroes from that time period were allowed to have flaws and be edgy. Like I said I’m not a sci-fi buff so I welcome people to school me on what the modern gems are.

    • Cecil:

      When you look at movie like Battleship or Transformers, they look a lot alike. Lots of muted grays, with a healthy dose of orange/teal. If you were to take a bunch of movies today and stitch them together, chances are no one would notice. They don’t have their own look or identity.

      A lot of the older movies may not be perfect but at least they have character.

      There are some modern sci-fi’s that shouldn’t be overlooked. Moon is amazing. Looper was terrific. Source Code, Limitless, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes will all be watched many times in the future.

      Lets see, what else…Cube, District 9, The Matrix, Children of Men, Outlander, Sunshine, Timecrimes, ans The Mist. Lots more but these are just off the top of my head.

  • john:

    I thought you were going to make a Fracking joke at 1:30 when she puts her hand in the water and a flame appear. 🙂

    This is one of the films I have heard about but not actually seen like Hawk the Slayer and Zardoz.

    This of topic but have you seen the 1998 Kurt Russell movie Soldier?

    It is usually listed on the worst movie lists simply because it was a huge commercial flop and like other films on the net has gotten a bad reputation so when most people watch it they are already in the mind set that it is a bad movie that I thought was a good or at least OK.

    • Cecil:

      Soldier is BADASS. It’s Kurt Russell kicking the crap out of things for 90 minutes. A very, very entertaining flick. However, since it didn’t open #1 at the box office it has been reduced to many people saying “I didn’t see it but I heard it sucks”.

      So yes, I liked it a bunch. 🙂

  • katie:

    I think your idea for a sequel sounds pretty awesome it’s a shame that Hollywood doesn’t make idea’s like that anymore

  • Leo:

    The NESLTE White Chocolate reference was absolutely brilliant. Your style is getting better. Good job Cecil.

  • Steve:

    Can’t see this without making mention of Derek Meddings special effects work. I think Krull is overall one of his best. Some of the opticals are a little dodgy but there is a lot of really ambitious stuff going on visually in Krull. Spaceships against a black star background is one thing. Real horses with fire coming out of their feet against a real landscape looking even remotely passable is another. Back to Meddings. What an awesome career that guy had. From Thunderbirds, to Bond films, to Superman, to Batman, etc. He really knew how to build and shoot (and blow up) models, all pre-cgi. I have a book called Special Effect Superman about his career. It’s not too deep, but has some really cool behind the scenes photos from many of the movies he worked on, including Krull.

    • Cecil:

      Derek Meddings is definitely a pro. The only thing I think looks dated in the film is the green screen work with the firemares. There is a little bad chroma key composite work towards the end with Colwyn but I only really started to notice because I was looking at the footage for hours.

      Prosthetic effects is truly an art form. Not to take away from the work that CGI artists do but its sad that one day everything will be digital when it could be done practical and would look better.

  • Cecil, being the lover of Good Bad Flicks that you are, have you ever heard of these two 1990s movies that Lysette Anthony had supporting roles in? The first is the 1991 comedy Switch, in which she plays an ex-girlfriend with self-esteem issues who helps kill Perry King, only for him to come back from limbo and be reincarnated into a woman as the devil’s cruel joke. The second is the 1995 comedy Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, in which she plays the put-upon, neglected fiancee of a scientist who turns into Sean Young after creating an experiment based on Dr. Henry Jekyll’s scientific notes. They were great movies.

    So I understand the marketing angle they were going for in dubbing all of Anthony’s lines with actress Lindsay Crouse’s voice, but that doesn’t make it right. She was 17, it could have been her meal ticket! And Liam Neeson?! I forgot he was in this one. I love your “Everyone can go home, Liam Neeson is here” line – that was hysterical!

    Such a great month of viewer’s choices – looking forward to what’s to come!!! 🙂

    • Cecil:

      I remember Switch, which I thought was a great premise but didn’t work out to be nearly as funny as it should have been. Skin Deep was way funnier and it had the legendary…lets just say lightsaber scene.

      Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde I first saw on USA up all night. It was edited to hell. Funny flick but I haven’t seen it in quite a while. Fun fact: David Price directed Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde plus this coming week’s movie. 🙂


  • Dar:

    He-Man started on tv around the same time that this movie came out, and it too blended sci-fi and fantasy.

    It was successful though, unlike this movie, which tells me that the awkward blend of the two genres wasn’t the problem the audience had with it.

    It may be that audiences at that time just had too many sci-fi and fantasy films to deal with already.

    Still a great movie from what I still believe is the golden age of fantasy movies.

    • Cecil:

      Different audience. Masters of the Universe blended sci-fi and fantasy in a way to appeal to the younger crowd and sell toys. (of which, I bought a bunch) Krull, while blending sci-fi and fantasy, was a bit out of the reach of most younger kids. Although I know a few people that didn’t like it as kids but love it now.

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