Saturday, January 22, 2011


A Sword and Sorcery Tale with Alan Trehern

This film has been baking in my queue-oven for almost as long as I've had Netflix. So it was this weekend that I finally got the chance to sit down and take in the "heroic fantasy" that is Krull. At least, Wikipedia calls is a "heroic fantasy"; Trehern calls it a fantasy/sci-fi epic with an affinity to adventure! Read on, sires!

Krull (1983)
Directed by Peter Yates
Starring Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony and Liam Neeson

Two suns? Damn. AC bills go what??

It came to my attention by Ben Pearson that Yates, the director, passed away last week. Sad news, but he left behind this heartwarming tale of love, aliens and fantastical journeys on the planet of Krull. Yeah, Krull is the planet. Didn't see that coming, did you? Me neither. Thought Krull was the prince the whole time...but then they called him Colwyn. So I thought it might have been the weapon he used, but it wasn't that either. Had to read about it online. Nice job with the title, writers.

Most, if not all, of the characters in this film are likable, although somewhat predictable. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and there's really no threat of that character-landscape changing. Colwyn (Marshall) marries the princess Lyssa (Anthony) to unite two fairytale kingdoms. After a bloody attack from alien invaders, Colwyn and Lyssa are left as the royal rulers, but Lyssa is kidnapped and taken to the Black Fortress.

Our hero is then met (predictably "epic") by a wizard, who sends him off into the unknown world to collect a magical weapon that will help him in his quest to rescue his bride and exterminate this foreign invader from the planet forever.

Colwyn is met by a band of thieves, a terrible magician and a cyclops. Pretty cool? Yeah, I thought so too! Neeson makes his appearance as one of the thieves, but doesn't deliver anything worthwhile.

The music is astoundingly enjoyable. Crafted by James Horner, who recently did the score for The Karate Kid and a film entitled...**adjusts spectacles and squints at notes** Avah-tar? Hmm.

From the very beginning of the film to the sweeping camera shots of Krull's geographical landscape, Horner's music is part of the enjoyment in watching this movie. At the beginning, you think you're going to see a science-fiction film with the appropriately themed music, but then Horner is able to revert to those classical fantasy/adventure themes you get used to throughout the rest of the showing.

I usually like to say what I liked about the movie before I bring up my problems with it. Not necessarily problems, mind you, just critical questions. Soundtrack was great. Characters were fun. And the adventure was there, and I like that. Movies today have a really hard time achieving a good adventure movie when directors have that 3D-Product Placement Contract so far up their butts.

Wait! You forgot your carry on!

That weapon that's blazed across the movie poster? Colwyn doesn't use it until the very end. He gets it at the very beginning, fights and fights and fights, and THEN decides to use it. Further, Colwyn is way too happy throughout this movie. His wife has been kidnapped and taken to a f*cking BLACK FORTRESS OF DOOM, and this guy's gallivanting around with his Merry Men and a cyclops. It's like a Weblo camping trip for him.

The fantasy and the science-fiction are a good mix, but the fantasy is waaay too much. At every turn, the group is talking to another magical being that has all the answers. Why the alien is here. Where the alien is located. How to deal with the alien. But these beings keep getting killed off before Colwyn gets all the answers. Listen, buddy, why not jot down all the questions you have and the next time you run across an ancient druid of the Third World, get his answers for ALL of them. You're wasting time. The wife could have been killed 7-times before this "hero" realizes he's walking the wrong way!

I sensed a number of common themes and attributes in this film that can be found in other sci-fi/fantasy epic, most coming our AFTER Krull was released in theaters, possibly giving Krull a "pioneering" role in cinema. Masters of the Universe ( review of this here? That should be remedied.), for instance, merged science-fiction and traditional fantasy together, and many of the scenes in Krull are similar to those in that Dolph Lundgren classic. Dune and Conan the Destroyer come to mind, as well. Krull had the sci-fi feel of Dune and the fantasy feel of Conan; meaning I loved it.

Also, Krull felt very much like a Dungeons and Dragons game scenario: the task, coupled with an assembly of heroes (wizards, warriors and thieves), and the final boss battle (i.e. The Beast of the Black Fortress). Somewhat of a throwback nerd reference, but I stand by it.

The Krull weapon never does that. False advertisement.

Final Thoughts
I would recommend this film to people who like the films I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Like I've said, it contains the adventure of a classic fantasy with the intriguing undertones of a science-fiction film. However outdated it may be, the endangered "movie-magic" is still fun to see, and the music is beautiful. Check it out on a rainy day. As for me, catch me weekly on the NJNM Podcast as Ben's quasi-reliable co-host or at my main squeeze blog, The Solar Sentinel.

** Krull on NetFlix Instant

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