An utterly charming movie from the 80’s. One that sadly marked the end of the 70’s-80’s era of High Fantasy movies that we would not return to until Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. This was the last of the era that gave us Conan the Barbarian, The Beastmaster, The Dark Crystal, Dragonslayer, Ladyhawke, and a ton of charmingly bad direct to video Barbarian and Boobs flicks. Willow is thankfully not that. And falls more in line with The Dark Crystal in terms of tone and story.
Willow is far from a perfect movie. At times it has trouble figuring out quite what it wants to be, as it can veer a bit between very dark, to oddly slapstick silly. But it was an excellent cast who seem to be having fun. Leading the cast in the titular role is Warwick Davis. The man of a thousand characters himself (no really to this day I believe he remains the actor with the most separate characters in Lego Minifigure form.) Warwick plays the young Pech” (unlicensed Lucas Hobbit!) sorcerer who finds a human baby girl. And sets out on a quest to keep her safe and return her to where she should be. Joining him is Val Kilmer in one of his most fun roles, the great swordsman Mad Martigan. From there it is a fairly formulaic romp through 80’s swords and sorcery territory and cliches, backed up by some impressive ILM effects. The movie was written and produced by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard. (Astonishingly this is no longer Ron Howard’s worst performing movie for Lucasfilms!)
It’s worth watching to see the great fun and chemistry between Kilmer and Davies. And the somewhat fun chemistry between Kilmer and the female general Sorchia played by Joanne Whalley (well they were pretty clearly enjoying themselves.) Among the highlights of the movie is a stirring score by James Horner.