There are some movies I'm surprised I haven't reviewed yet. Legend happens to be one of them.
Jack (Tom Cruise in his youth) lives in the forest. He's sort of like its protector, even though he's human and not fairy or dwarf or anything else like that. He's hopelessly in love with the beautiful Lily (Mia Sara), and so one day he shows her the mystical Unicorns, the bringers of light into the world. Much to his horror, Lily springs out and touches one.
Darkness (Tim Curry) hates the Unicorns for their goodness and light, and sends his goblin minions out to capture them. They use Lily's distraction to their advantage, and soon the entire forest (if not the world) is covered in darkness and ice. Lily is captured, and it is now up to Jack and the inhabitants of the forest to rescue Lily and the remaining Unicorn before light and love are lost forever.
Legend is one of those movies that's just deliciously 80s. You make fun of it because it's so lame, and yet at the same time you love it for that very same lameness. The story is quite simple; rescue the girl, kill the bad guy, save the world. It's about a fairy-taleish as a movie can get in its 1 hour and 30 minutes (1 hour and 54 minutes if you choose the director's cut) with unicorns, swords, fairies with wings, forest sprites, an evil bog witch, goblins, a dancing black dress, and a bad guy with really, really big horns.
The special effects are so old school, I love it. I can't help it. As a child of the CGI explosion, I can tell when just about anything is CGI and it sucks (except in Mirrormask where everything was done like that on purpose). I like all the old, fake stuff, when glitter makes fairy dust, a hell of a lot of makeup transforms Tim Curry into a creature akin to Satan, Unicorns are real horses (albeit with a horn attached to their heads), and sets are drawn or built or otherwise physically fabricated. If you like CGI stuff, well then too bad for you. Go watch King Kong instead. But if you enjoy the occasional crazy imagination of the 80s, come on in.
Of course, you can't talk about Legend without mentioning the actors. You see them listed above. That's right. Tom Cruise is our main man. He was only in his 20s here, so it's before he got weird and stupid. He does a fair enough job of acting here. I mean, what can you do when you're on a set that's totally fake and full of glitter and bubbles and fuzzy things and whatnot? I don't begrudge any bad acting that shows up here. Besides, you get people like Tim Curry and Billy Barty (Screwball - he's a lot of fun, trust me) and heck, even David Bennent (Honeythorn Gump - forest elf who reminds me of Puck) that just rock in their roles.
Everyone always talked about the music. Tangerine Dream really does put a nice touch on the movie. You might even feel sad when you see that hornless Unicorn lying in the snow with his mate trying to wake him up and Tangerine Dream synthesized style music playing. And yes, I do have the soundtrack. Of course, the director's cut uses the score made by Jerry Goldsmith, which is instrumental with chorus and all sorts of good things. And yes, I have that soundtrack too.
Depending upon which DVD you buy, you can get the original theatrical version or the director's cut. Some DVDs have both (like mine). The difference is essentially a few scenes and the ending, so basically whichever you like better. Frankly, I wish I could mix the two together to get some of the extra stuff of the director's cut, but keep the ending of the theatrical version...and the Tangerine Dream music. Haha.
I'm just a complete sucker when it comes to fairy tales and fun fantasy, so if you enjoy similar movies like Labyrinth and Willow, definitely pick this one up. High five to Ridley Scott for a great bit of entertainment.
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
What did you think of this review?