This week’s post was delayed since I was on a plan returning from BC. So worth it!
Willow: I had noted through commercials that Disney+ was streaming a new series called Willow. A sequel to the original film from Lucas Film back in 1988, directed by Ron Howard.
It followed Return of the Jedi but preceded Lord of the Rings (not a Lucas project but rather Peter Jackson) which for me is the closest that it resembles. Why? It involves a journey with the leader who is vertically challenged. I am hard pressed to think of another movie in which so many little people are used. Lucas himself used many as Ewoks in Star Wars. The Wizard of Oz way back in the day with the Munchkins. But the story also borrows from the New Testament with Herod and Jesus. There is a female baby born that was foretold in ancient stories to replace the existing Queen. The Queen orders all newborn female children to be killed. A determined servant escapes the city and sets the child upon a river to the unknown. Hearing the news of the escape, the Queen sends her daughter to fulfill her wishes, she is played Joanne Whaley.
Our hero Willow (played both times by Warwick Davis) is the father of two young children himself with wife in the story, and his children find the babe in the river and then he takes a reluctant liking to the infant and is put in charge by a town council with returning her to safety.
He is joined by a small band of his fellow villagers. Along the way they run into a man encased in a cage hung from a tree. Played by Val Kilmer, he is a scoundrel seemingly a sword for hire. Of note this is the movie that Kilmer meets Joanne Whaley and they later marry in real life.
My memories of this movie were better than the second viewing. Once again it seems that George Lucas is challenged with writing any type of believable romantic aspect in a story. It was Lucas’ story, but he didn’t write the screenplay. It is evident on any viewing where that the story falls down on this front. Elsewhere Lucas and Howard have more success for the love of the town which is very similar to the Shire. A couple of the challenges for me include: the Queen who is the picture of evil, and yet takes so long to complete her ultimate task that she should be a Bond villain. Or at least Dr Evil in shockingly allowing a small band to try and infiltrate what would seem to be an impregnable castle. Also, the trolls are silly with a crude early use of CGI that was not effective. Then the monster in castle near the end also does not hold up well to today’s technology unlike Return of the Jedi with the Rancor in Jabba’s palace which was very similar in use of technology.
George Lucas did look to branch out in new ways post Star Wars with this and movies like Labryinth but the money of Star Wars just was too tempting it would seem and thus began the prequels totally financed by Lucas. Of course he was involved with a little project too called Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark that had some modest success itself!! Having seen this once again I don’t feel the need to watch the series. I think Disney+ has shown itself to have less than a stellar record in creating series based upon earlier material.