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Willow (Special Edition) (1988)

Comedy and Kids & Family movie directed by Ron Howard

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A Charming Tale.

  • Mar 29, 2005
When George Lucas was younger he wanted to become a race car driver. Instead, he has become one of the richest and most powerful men in the movie making industry. Besides dreaming up STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES, Lucas was the driving force behind several other filmmaking projects. One of the best of these is the movie WILLOW.

WILLOW is the story about a Nelwyn (hobbit-like creatures) farmer and hopeful sorcerer named Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) who finds a baby girl in some water weeds at the edge of the river. At first Willow is unsure what to do with the child, but after warhounds invade his peaceful village Willow approaches the village council to reveal his dicovery and find out what to do. Willow is chosen as part of group that is to take the child and give it to the first human being they meet. The first human they meet is an encaged warrior by the name of Madmartigan (Val Kilmer). Madmartigan is imprisoned in a cage for offenses not revealed. After trying to give the baby to other humans, Willow and his companions realize that no one else will take the child. Madmartigan swears he will keep the child safe in exchange for his freedom.

Unfortunately Madmartigan isn't much of a match for a race of tiny people called Brownies (they are related to fairies) who steal the child. Eventually it is revealed that the baby is a princess, Elora Danan who will grow up to become the Savior Princess. Willow is chosen as her guardian and sets for with Madmartigan and a couple of Brownies on a journey to take Elora Danan to safety and defeat the evil sorceress, Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) who has been killing newborns in an attempt to protect herself from a prophecy that predicts she will be overthrown by a baby female princess. Add in some trolls, a giant two-headed fire spewing monster, a couple of battles, a banished sorceress, and a magical wand and it makes for a very charming fantasy film.

The acting in the film is on par with some of the better fantasy movies. Warwick Davis is lovable as the film's title character and is a fine actor despite his size. I wish there were more opportunities for him to do film's like this instead of having to play evil bad guys (he's the Leprechaun in the LEPRECHAUN movies).

WILLOW hosts the first computer effects of the process known as "morphing" that were ever used in a movie. From a film history perspective, the movie is worth watching for that.

However, provides a good story. Lucas has never claimed to be all that great of a writer and the tale that he weaved in WILLOW is soaked in all kinds of great stories from the past from LORD OF THE RINGS, to THE ODYSSEY, to Lucas' own STAR WARS saga. Nevertheless, everything seems to fit into a coherent whole that makes for a very charming and entertaining movie.

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More Willow (Special Edition) (1988... reviews
review by . September 26, 2006
I remember when "Willow" first came out on the big screen. I remember how cool it was to watch the skull-helmeted General Kael ride onto the screen. I loved the swordplay of Madmartigan. The trolls were the creepiest things I've ever seen. Flash forward twenty-eight years, and "Willow" has lost some of its luster. It doesn't appeal to me as much as it did when I was a youngster. However, it is still a great film to watch with your family.    For those uneducated, "Willow" is …
review by . June 22, 2006
Before Harry Potter, before the Lord of the Rings, before the slew of comic book movies like Spiderman, X-Men, etc... there were very few good fantasy movies that were not sci-fi. One could probably count them on one hand; Legend, The Dark Crystal, Dragonslayer, and this impressive family movie by George Lucas: Willow. Named after the central character of the movie - Willow Ufgood, this movie follows his adventures across a mystical, wooded land of monsters, trolls, magic, dwarfs, midgets, an evil …
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About this movie


This epic Lucasfilm fantasy serves up enough magical adventure to satisfy fans of the genre, though it treads familiar territory. With abundant parallels toStar Wars, the story (by George Lucas) follows the exploits of the little farmer Willow (Warwick Davis), an aspiring sorcerer appointed to deliver an infant princess from the evil queen (Jean Marsh) to whom the child is a crucial threat. Val Kilmer plays the warrior who joins Willow's campaign with the evil queen's daughter (Joanne Whalley, who later married Kilmer). Impressive production values, stunning locations (in England, Wales, and New Zealand) and dazzling special effects energize the routine fantasy plot, which alternates between rousing action and cute sentiment while failing to engage the viewer's emotions. A parental warning is appropriate: director Ron Howard has a light touch aimed at younger viewers, but doesn't shy away from grisly swordplay and at least one monster (a wicked two-headed dragon) that could induce nightmares.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Ron Howard
Screen Writer: George Lucas, Bob Dolman
DVD Release Date: November 27, 2001
Runtime: 126 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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"A Charming Tale."
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