Legend Movie Review

Seventeen years after its release, noted film tinkerer Ridley Scott has returned to his entry in the fantasy genre, Legend, which has been subject to as many scathing one-star reviews as it has five-star ones. Why the disparity? The movie is enchanting and has moments of magic, but it's an utter train wreck, overwhelmed by cheesy special effects, dialogue writ insanely large, and a kind of goofy plot.

To wit: This is a movie about a Puck-like character named Jack (Tom Cruise, before he hit it really big) who wages war against the Lord of Darkness, a demon seeking to create eternal night in his fantasy kingdom by marrying the local princess (Mia Sara) and killing the last of the unicorns. A quest naturally follows, with the goal of saving the princess -- and along the way, the world.

While Billy Barty's appearance as a helpful goblin/dwarf/thing is understandable, casting Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness is simply begging for trouble. Cruise exhibits the likability he so often displays in films, and even Mia Sara isn't all that annoying. But very little of this can overcome a plot heavy on sparkly things, dancing, and endless slow-motion shots. And the film never really overcomes the limitations of being shot on a soundstage instead of in a real forest -- and you can tell, as everything always looks a little plastic. (As a side note, the stage actually burned down in the middle of production and it had to be finished on location.) You can even see the shadow of the fishing pole that drags the Tinkerbell-esque fairy through the scenes.

Now many complaints about Legend tend to be directed toward the version of the film released in the U.S., which is about 24 minutes shorter and features a "hipper" soundtrack from Tangerine Dream (which I actually prefer) instead of Jerry Goldsmith's somber score. Now released on a special edition DVD, Legendheads can compare the two versions side by side, as both are presented in their entirety in the package. Scott provides a paternalistic commentary on his original, longer cut (which he is careful not to put down as "better," only "different"), which is interesting if a bit self-congratulatory. A handful of other extras (including two "lost" scenes not seen in either cut) round out the discs.

You gotta fight for your right to wear armor!

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :


Legend Rating

" Weak "

Rating: PG, 1985


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