been too long of a while, so lets get back to work shall we?
I remember this is one of those movies that i always saw when we went to the video store to pick a movie for the night, and for whatever reason we never grabbed it. Well a number of ears ago i did grab it and now i’m here writing about it.
The Darkness is on the cusp of realising his dream of blanketing the land in eternal winter and night, it is up to forest boy Jack and his unlikely band of friends to defeat him and bring light back to the forest.
Since this is a Ridley Scott film lets get the obvious out of the way; this film looks wonderful. By wonderful however i mean spectacular, and by spectacular i mean beautiful. Scott, Cinematographer Alex Thomson, and Production Designer Assheton Gorton pull out all the stops to make the forest and other areas we see in the film feel as fantastical as anything our imagination can come up with. Particular mention must go to the sequences featuring the unicorns as images like the stallion’s death are examples of the power of striking images.
Adding to the sets and cinematography is certainly some very impressive costuming by Charles Knode, with the set piece as it were, being Tim Curry’s transformation into the deamon The Darkness, and a memorably hideous swamp hag.
The biggest problem that Legend has, is shared with many of its 80’s fantasy kin (Willow, etc), and it is quite simply that there is no feeling of a world past what’s directly in front of the camera. The world in Legend feels no bigger than 10 or so square miles and populated with only the sparest amount of people. Here we have a world that is apparently on the brink of ending and the only people who seem concerned or affected by it are the ones we’ve already seen.
Tolkien’s works and Peter Jackson’s adaptations did the exact opposite; there was life to middle earth, a feeling of place, breadth, width, depth, and history in other words it had a “setting” and the setting is the most important part of a fantasy piece. Legend fails thoroughly in establishing any sort of lasting setting other than generic fantasy forest no. 3 with dark lair no. 6 sprinkled on top.
Without a decent setting in which conflict to unfold none of the drama has any weight to it. There’s no sense of scale or sense of loss when the winter and night come and therefore there just isn’t very much excitement to be had as a result.
It could be said that another misfire in the production could be pointed out as Tom Cruise as at this early stage in his career he was far more suited as heart throb and light drama material than any sort of action and especially fantasy stories.
Well, it looks like this is gonna be a short one, but i think that indicative of Legend’s troubles. There’s really nothing lasting other than imagery to be found here, and other than it being one of the more darker pre-Lord of the Rings fantasy movies that died out after the 80’s, before being revived in the new millennium with The Fellowship of the Ring there really isn’t much to recommend here.
However, that’s not to say that Legend is a bad film, its just meh.
** 1/2 OUT OF FIVE
*based off of the 2002 “Director’s Cut”