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Masterpiece Cinema - Legend

 article about Masterpiece Cinema - Legend
Hi, and welcome back. How's it going? At the time of this writing, I'm
looking forward to a preview screening of Kill Bill Vol. II that I have
tickets for, so look for a review of the Kill Bill saga soon. But for
now, let me take you on a trip to a mystical land that I like to
call1985.

Legend
Starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry.
Written by William Hjortsberg.
Directed by Ridley Scott.
Genre: Fantasy / Action
Released: 1985
Running time: Depends on the cut you get.
Rated: PG.
IMDb link: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0089469/maindetails

For
a long time, your best hope of seeing "Legend" was to find a video
store that had a good variety of forgotten 80's films and hire out
their scratchy, worn down VHS copy (which invariably smell of
cigarettes and stale pizza). And even then you couldnt be sure what
version of the film youd be getting. Owing to studio interference and
Ridley Scotts own indecisiveness, there are at least four different
cuts of the film, ranging from 84 minutes to 150 minutes.

Legend
bombed when it was released in 1985, and thus was relegated to the
realm of obscure video stores and the conversations of obsessive movie
geeks (the 80's were a hard time for Scotts career, but a boon for
genre fans - the film he made previous to Legend was 1982s Blade
Runner, another box office and critical failure in its day, but which
is widely regarded as a classic now).

In 2002, thanks no doubt
to the success of The Lord of the Rings, Legend was given a re-release
on video and DVD (with an Ultimate Edition directors cut released in
the States) that made it very easy to not only find a copy to rent, but
to own one as well. But is it worth it?

Well, yeah. Hell yeah.
In my opinion, of course. The movie tells the story of Princess Lilly
and Jack o the Green. Lilly is a whimsical young girl, forever shirking
her responsibilities to fraternize with the peasants and gallivant
around with Jack, a fairly simple-minded forest boy who nevertheless
has a good heart and a pure soul (don't they all?).

Lillys
carefree lifestyle is threatened, however, when a demon lord known
simply as Darkness sets in motion a plan that will leave the land
enshrouded in an eternal night, giving him ultimate power. Lilly is
unknowingly manipulated into helping Darkness, and so to make up for
this its up to her and Jack to make sure that the demons plans do not
come to fruition.

It's difficult to write about Legend without
overselling it. It's a movie I absolutely love, but to hype it up too
much in someones mind is to ruin it for them. They'll come to it with
far too many expectations, perhaps being left disappointed with how
simplistic the story is. But the story's simple nature is, in my
opinion, one of its best features it's amazing how many fairytales,
fables and mythological characters the film harkens back to and
references, truly reinforcing the reason that it's called, simply,
Legend. With this film, Ridley Scott weaves a post-modern myth that
embraces all stories of old, and he does so beautifully.

There's
not a single frame of the film that isn't lavishly and sumptuously
composed. Despite how confused he may have ended up in the editing
process, Scotts vision really pops on the screen. And then there are
the actors. Tom Cruise (before he was THE Tom Cruise) and Mia Sara give
charming performances as the two would-be lovers, but its Tim Curry as
the Lord of Darkness who is the true standout, both in appearance and
presence.

Currys villain is a true force to be reckoned with,
a decadent brute whos unseen for the majority of the film, but when he
makes his appearance he is, quite simply, awe-inspiring. And then
theres the characters Gump and Blix, played by actors David Bennet and
Alice Playten respectively (with Playten also doing the voice of Gump)
who bring a real life and menace to both their characters and truly
make the movie what it is.

Have I oversold it now? I hope not.
Bear in mind when you sit down to watch Legend that you might not come
away being as head-over-heels in love with it as I am. But, I sincerely
hope youll like it, and I'm pretty sure you will.

Next week : Bills been Killed. Now what we do we do?



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