After taking on action and horror within the Science Fiction realm, director Ridley Scott embarked on an incredible fantasy adventure in 1986's LEGEND! Despite numerous edits resulting from mixed reviews upon its initial release, the film has remained one of the most stunning visual experiences in the Fantasy genre.
LEGEND takes place in a whimsical world that is painted in pastels and filled with fanciful creatures like goblins, fairies, and unicorns. Jack hopes to impress the princess, Lily, by introducing her to the immortal unicorns, but when she breaks her promise and touches them, the evil forces are able to kill the beast and remove its horn for their dark lord. Lily is kidnapped along with the magical horn and taken back to the Lord of Darkness, and it is up to Jack and his woodland friends to summon the courage needed to defeat the evil that threatens to destroy their world!
Drawing from a wealth of fairy tales and fables, LEGEND is rooted in classic character archetypes and the medieval themes of love, courage, valor, innocence, and evil. Unfortunately, these characterizations are never fully developed, and are placed haphazardly into a muddled plot. Unlike other fantasy epics like WILLOW or THE LORD OF THE RINGS, the adventure in LEGEND is relatively short-lived, with the heroes gathering and reaching the dark palace in very little time with few obstacles. What it lacks in structure, however, it more than makes up for in the breathtaking set work and otherworldly environments that fill each and every frame. While LEGEND excelled on almost every technical level imaginable, it would be Rick Bottin's incredible make-up designs that would earn the picture an Oscar® nomination in 1987 for his work on the demonic lord and many of the other terrifying creations.
Tim Curry takes on yet another unforgettable role as Darkness, a towering devil with piercing horns and a thundering voice. He is thwarted by a young Tom Cruise, whose early performance lends plenty of charm but very little heart to the role. Mia Sara rounds out the cast as the beautiful but troublesome princess upon whose shoulders the fate of the world must be decided.
Although LEGEND was not met with a positive reception in the late-80's, it has since become a cult-classic amongst its many fans. The imaginative world of sublime fantasy that Ridley Scott has created makes for an incredible viewing experience like no other.
If you liked LEGEND, check out:
THE NEVERENDING STORY, WILLOW, THE COMPANY OF WOLVES.