On a good note, I feel like I am catching back up with life again. This is a good thing. Of course, as it would happen, I ended up having to reset my iPad due to a strange glitch. The good thing is, the only thing I really lose in this process is the apps because I like to do a clean sweep and clear out everything. All the important stuff is saved in other locations so I don’t have to worry about losing any important information or anything.
Of course, none of that has anything to do with the topic of the day. I thought this might be semi fitting since we will be running across Valentine’s day over the coming weekend. I mean, yeah, love isn’t really a big topic around here but there are some things I enjoy that touch on it in various ways. The world of fairy tales is rife with thoughts of love and desire. So it is only fitting that we discuss a more modern take on the fairy tale (well, as modern as the 1980s).
Is Your Love Strong Enough
I’m going to approach this in a strange round about way, or maybe not. Let’s see how it goes. Heck, I can’t really think of how I want to get into this one yet so instead I am just going to jump right into it.
Back in 1985 Tom Cruise was known as that guy from Risky Business. It was the movie that put him on a much bigger trajectory. Tim Curry was famous at midnight movies as Dr. Frankenfurter, the transvestite from transexual Transylvania (Rocky Horror Picture show, do I really need to point stuff like this out?). And Mia Sara was completely unheard of. Although she hasn’t had the larger career of the other two, can you imagine Ferris Beuller’s Day off without the love interest? But here’s the thing, Ridley Scott took these three and created a fantasy movie that is just as good today as it was in 1985. I am talking about the movie Legend.
For quite some time, fantasy movies have been hit a little harder than science fiction movies. Sure we have seen a number of them over the years but they haven’t really stood the test of time. This is one of the instances when CGI has been put to a good use in creating fantastical worlds. At the same time many of the true fantasy movies have been cast as children’s films because of stigmas toward the genre.
Enter Ridley Scott, the director who had given us Alien, and Blade Runner and so many others. He created a fantastical world and made it believable. Through movie magic we had unicorns, fairies, gnomes, and elves, not to mention goblins and of course a giant demon only known as Darkness. All of this without CGI (granted the unicorns horns did visibly move at times but that’s really little more than a quibble).
The crazy thing about this movie is at times it can feel utterly predictable. Good does triumph over evil, we get exactly what we should expect from a story like this. In fact, all through the story, Darkness parades around essentially using the entire movie as his villains monologue to say exactly what will defeat him.
But you see, once that stuff is out of the way we are able to concentrate on the nuances of what makes this such a great film and story. Throughout the story we hit all the markers that make for a great adventure. The hero is tested on several occasions. The hero isn’t a great warrior though he must take up weapons, but it isn’t his prowess that allows him to save the day.
The hero’s companions act as aids throughout the story and at times they are flighty and strange. But this fits with the types of characters they are. The fae folk are not as serious or determined as man. Man has agendas and things that must be done. The fae, who live forever, have time to explore their own folly.
As much as the fae can be frivolous in their good, the goblins are wicked and dark. Darkness is vile and revels in his plans and machinations. These different interactions set the stage to show us how different good and evil are. And yes they are both at the outer edges of good and evil. We can’t mistake the two, until we can.
I feel a bit like I am dancing around the outer edges of what the story has in store for us. But at the same time this is one I don’t want to completely spoil. It is a story that should be experienced to enjoy. But there are some good moments within the story to explore a little bit.
The message of the story is of course, the power of love. How strong is your love, how much can you trust the one you love. Sure in real life there will always be shades of grey, and in this story we are shown those shades of grey as well. It is the tests, the moments when we are unsure that bring out the dramatic tension. Can we as people fall prey to our evil nature or is there something more within us that will allow us to do the right thing.
In more direct question within the movie, is Jack’s (Tom Cruise) love for Lily (Mia Sara) to trust her to make the right decision. It isn’t the battle with the big baddy, it isn’t all the work that goes into winning the day. It is that moment when he has to decide wether or not he really trusts her that is the key moment of the story. Everything that happens outside of that moment is the window dressing that makes the whole thing worthwhile.
For me personally, Tim Curry as Darkness was one of the things that will always draw me back to the movie. This is one of the characters that shows the power of a great character actor. When you have 4 foot long horns glued to your head, you better be good at what you are doing.
That brings me back to what makes this movie so good. It is the characters themselves that drive the movie. They make up for the limits of the special effects at the time.
The version I watched recently was the director’s cut. This one clocks in at roughly 30 minutes longer than the original theatrical release. It had been a while since I saw the original so I didn’t really notice the changes. (I actually had to check out the differences on a website). To be honest, I didn’t really notice the differences. Well, except when it came to the end of the movie.
In the original movie Bryan Ferry had a few songs on the soundtrack. The video from the start of this piece was actually the song played at the end during the credits. It was not in the Director’s cut. For me, it was actually the main reason why I bought the original soundtrack so many years ago (I had it on cassette). At least the rest of the movie was still good…
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