Was that Legend movie any good?

No, Bridget. Tom Cruise didn’t kill this movie.

I’m not a Tom Cruise fan either. Except I don’t hate him like you do. I just think he’s overrated.

But the beauty of his role in the Legend movie – you don’t even notice it’s Tom Cruise playing the lead character. He’s so out of his usual roles that you barely notice that’s him.

Now the second question. Do you like fantasy films? If so, you need to see this one. It’s one of the few high fantasy movies that doesn’t suck.

Now if you don’t know the difference between regular fantasy and high fantasy, high fantasy is set in a fantasy world. Regular fantasy is fantasy in our world. For instance, Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons are both high fantasy. Harry Potter is not.

The Legend movie is high fantasy

Ridley Scott. We know him from two great movies – Alien, and Blade Runner. Scott wanted to do a high fantasy movie with unicorns and goblins, so he studied fairy tales. Yes, fairy tales are where it’s at. I’ve been saying this for years.

Anyways, Tom Cruise plays the hero. Mia Sara (Ferris Beuller’s love interest) plays the heroine. And Tim Curry plays an awesome Lord of Darkness.

Torture scene from the Legend movie

Ogre torturing someone while an imp chews on some more than likely humanoid flesh

Scott spared no expense. Filmed almost entirely indoors in a fantasy set, I loved the actual look of the movie.

Tim Curry Prince of Darkness

Tim Curry did a splendid job as the Prince of Darkness

A quick synopsis without giving away the ending. Jack (played by Tom Cruise) is a wild forest boy in love with a Lady named Lily (played by Mia Sara). One day, he takes her to see the world’s last two unicorns. The unicorns are so good that they keep the Prince of Darkness (played by Tim Curry) in the underworld.

Lily touches the unicorn from the Legend movie 1985

Touching the unicorn is forbidden

Well of course, Lily has the bright idea to touch the unicorn, which is strictly forbidden. As Lily touches the unicorn, a goblin shoots the unicorn with a poison dart. Only Lily was close enough to the unicorn but she didn’t see the goblin and why the unicorn jumped.

The realm immediately plunges into winter, and this is where the movie really picks up. I’ll stop the synopsis here so as to not give away any spoilers.

Cult classic

The movie bombed. Why? You tell me. It did pretty much everything right. It was downright gorgeous. And you’d think in 1985, a fantasy movie would pack the theaters.

But no. It didn’t even break even.

However years later, it became a cult classic. If you love fantasy movies, you more than likely have heard of it.

Princess Lily is both beautiful and innocent

Princess Lily is both beautiful and innocent

Two versions

Americans like happy endings. Europeans are darker.

So we ended up with two versions of the film. Of course being an American, I saw the American version in the theater. The American version features a soundtrack by the band Tangerine Dream. I actually liked the soundtrack a lot.

Decades later though, I finally got around to seeing the European version. And no offense to Tangerine Dream – the European version is better.

The European version is scored with an orchestra and is simply darker. The elves and fairies are more European elves and fairies instead of their more gentle American counterparts. It has several additional scenes the American version didn’t have; most notably, a rather wicked dance with the elves and fairies.

Plus the European version’s ending is rather vague.

Legend movie - heroes plan offensive

Our heroes plan an offensive against the Prince of Darkness

I actually prefer the European version. It wouldn’t have settled well in America in the 80s though.

If you like fantasy, especially high fantasy, you need to see this one. Ridley Scott is a consistently good director, even when I can’t stand the movie. I hated the Prometheus movie, but still could appreciate what he was shooting for. And of course, Alien, Blade Runner, and Thelma and Louise were pretty good movies, with Blade Runner being one of the best sci-fi movies ever made.

About

Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie, and he can still throw a football

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