Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Film Review: Legend (1985)

Ridley Scott's Legend (1985) is a film with a plot that has been used so many times before that the audience can just sit back and observe it's visual wonders and according to reviewer Christopher Null, "a plot heavy on sparkly things, dancing, and endless slow-motion shots"- Null,Christopher.(2002).FilmCritic.com review. Legend.
Fig 1: Legend Movie Poster
There is a large element of King Kong (2007), The Jungle Book(1967) and Tarzan (1999) with Tom Cruise as a jungle boy with a severe need for dental work and Mia Sara as a princess with a large heart who befriends this boy. The sets and costumes of this film are detailed to such a high degree that they look like they could be eaten. With swamp demons that put one in mind of The Slitheen in Doctor Who and a fairy boy who has the voice of an older woman; an idea found in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle's character Elva, this movie has many iconic creatures and characters that are intricately produced.
Fig 2: Lili and Jack in the Enchanted Forest
The story progresses as Mia Sara's character Lili touches a unicorn, unintentionally distracting it, giving an evil goblin to shoot it with a poison dart. Due to the unicorn's death, the balance of magic in the forest is shifted and winter engulfs the land. That, along with darkness.
Another very important substance used in this movie is glitter. Every prop, costume and bit of set is adorned with a few flecks of glitter which seem to be there as the director's interpretation of fairy dust. Or according to Vincent Canby, "The air is heavy with dandelion fluff"- Canby,Vincent.(1986).New York Times Movie Review. Legend(1985) The Screen: Ridley Scott's Legend.
It then becomes clear that Satan is trying to engulf the world in darkness and can only do so by taking Lili to be his wife and killing the last of the two unicorns.

Fig 3: The fairy creatures who assist Jack

He should have thought this through, clearly, because Tom Cruise's character, Jack intends to marry Lili and will not let some red faced, large horned demon get in his way.
Lili is kidnapped by the Satan's goblins as she tries to unsuccessfully hide from them. Meanwhile, Jack intends to find Lili with the help of his magical forest friends.
They trace Lili to the demon's lair and intend to destroy him with the use of light. Hence, bringing light to darkness. This is a cue for the audience to die of a cheesy overdose
A fairy provides Jack with some mail armor so that he may fight the demon. However, the trousers are suspiciously missing. That said, the detailing of the costume is of a high quality with the layering of the mail representing fish scales, which gives it the 'false' look that this movie is famous for.
Having captured Lili, the devil (whose costume and make-up is the most detailed and convincing in terms of realism. Although, the horns upon his head tend to be highly out of balance with regards to the proportion) uses magic (is that even questioned?) to make Lili into a fairy-creature. However, the purity in her heart is so high that she is not turned into pure evil. As Jack and his posse attempt to rescue to captured unicorn and Lili, they witness Lili putting up an act of evil and preparing to slay the unicorn. Jack, however, 'trusts' Lili and fires an arrow into the demon just as Lili sets the unicorn free.
Fig 4: The Mail Armor

This is when the audience erupts in cheers.
Legend is more of an amalgamation of different fairy stories and myths that get caught up to fight for the greater good (which is what they are known to do in any case)
Although reviewer Robert Ebert believes that "All of the special effects in the world, and all of the great makeup, and all of the great Muppet creatures can't save a movie that has no clear idea of its own mission and no joy in its own accomplishment"- Ebert,Roger.(1986). RogerEbert.com. Legend.
 Legend does please the audience as it takes them back to their childhood conceptions of magic and metaphysical creatures and spaces."
Bibliography and List of Illustrations:


Null,Christopher.(2002).FilmCritic.com review. Legend. Available online at: http://www.filmcritic.com/reviews/1985/legend/ (accessed on 7th November 2011)

Ebert,Roger.(1986). RogerEbert.com. Legend. Available online at: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19860418/REVIEWS/604180302 (accessed on 7th November 2011)

Canby,Vincent.(1986).New York Times Movie Review. Legend(1985) The Screen: Ridley Scott's Legend. Available online at http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9A0DE2DC1E38F93BA25757C0A960948260 (accessed on 7th November 2011)

Reitherman,Wolfgang.(1967).The Jungle Book.

Buck,Chris. Lima,Kevin.(1999).Tarzan.

Paolini,Christopher. (2002).Eragon. London. Alfred A. Knopf.

List of Illustrations:

Fig 1: Scott,Ridley.(1985).Legend http://www.amazon.co.uk/Legend-DVD-Tom-Cruise/dp/B0000634AN

Fig 2: Scott,Ridley.(1985).Legend http://www.allstarpics.net/0634475/010526725/legend-1985-pic.html

Fig 3: Scott,Ridley.(1985).Legend http://www.thefancarpet.com/FilmGalleryPicture.aspx?mg_id=36230&m_id=4918

Fig 4: Scott,Ridley.(1985).Legend http://howtheylooknow.livejournal.com/483178.html?thread=16584298

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