Retro Sunday: Willow (1988)
Last Updated on Sunday, 12 December 2010 05:06 Written by baldalbino Sunday, 12 December 2010 06:00
Willow was a little known movie that made its mark on the film scene in 1988. Produced by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard, it had all the makings of being a commercial success, however, it failed to deliver the goods and ending up being a flop that only garnered two academy awards.
Willow (Warwick Davis) is a struggling farmer and a poor amateur magician His children while playing in the woods, near the river, find a baby. They bring the baby to Willow, who wants nothing to do with the child. The baby was sent up the river by a midwife who learned of a prophecy to destroy the evil ruler Bavmorda. The prophecy stated that a newborn baby would bring about Bavmorda’s destruction, so she imprisoned all the pregnant mothers.
The town council where Willow lives decides that he and a small group must take the baby to the crossroads and give it to a Daikini (a human). The Daikini’s have never been kind to Willow’s type of people, the Nelwyns (dwarf -like). The town council makes this ruling after one of Bavmorda’s Nockmarr hounds attack Willow’s village.
As the group comes to the crossroads, they come upon Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) who is locked in a cage but offers to take the baby. The group agrees to give the baby to Madmartigan but Willow cannot. He stays behind with the baby as he tries to find a more suitable figure to help him out. Finally, Willow agrees to give the baby to Madmartigan and leaves for home. On his way, he is attacked by brownies, who have stolen the baby from Madmartigan. Willow is told by the brownie queen, Cherlindrea, that the baby (now named Elora Danan) has chosen him as her guardian. Cherlindrea charges Willow with finding the powerful wizard Fin Raziel to help defeat Bavmorda. She gives Willow a wand and two brownies, Franjean and Rool, to act as his guides. Along the way, they meet Madmartigan, who offers his help to Willow.
They find Fin Raziel but discover that she has been transformed into a rodent by Bavmorda. The group get captured by Bavmorda’s daughter, Sorsha, but Madmartigan causes a distraction and the group escapes. Willow tries to transform Fin but turns her into a raven. Fin tells them that they need to get to the castle of Tir Alseen. However, upon getting there, they discover that everyone there has been turned to ice by Bavmorda. Refusing to give up, Madmartigan digs in and prepares to defend against Sorsha and her troops. As the battle rages, Madmartigan fights valiantly and Sorsha determines that she loves Madmartigan. Another one of Bavmorda’s generals captures Elora and rides back to Bavmorda so she can sacrifice the baby.
Willow, Madmartigan, Sorsha and the brownies chase after them and fight their way into Bavmorda’s fortress. Willow tries to turn Fin back to a human and succeeds this time. The two of them manage to get into Bavmorda’s sanctuary and Fin duels Bavmorda. The two wave wands and lightning bolts all over as Willow sneaks over to grab Elora. Bavmorda knocks Fin down and spins to fnish the sacrifice but discovers that the baby is not there. She sees that Willow has Elora and when he does a sleight of hand trick and makes Elora disappear, Bavmorda goes into a rage and ends up becoming the sacrifice. Willow gives Elora to Madmartigan and Sorsha as her new guardians. Fin gives Willow a spell book to help him become a powerful wizard and Willow goes home.
However poorly that this movie was received I did rather enjoy it. It was one of those movies that Lucas wanted to be big but it just never developed into that. I enjoyed the plot line for a fantasy movie and thought that as one of Val Kilmer’s earlier movies that it was fairly well done by him.
- Retro Sunday: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (donthatethegeek.com)
- ‘Harry Potter’ countdown: Warwick Davis lets out his inner goblin (herocomplex.latimes.com)