L for Legend


by Lillian Csernica on April 14, 2015

Legend (1985) is one of those tragedies of film-making that leave you sitting there thinking, “This could have been so good!”

The Lord of Darkness is lonely.  Instead of settling for finding a consort, he decides to destroy the power of Light completely by killing the last two remaining unicorns and seizing their horns.  He sends his goblins out to do the deed in the magical forest.

Tom Cruise plays Jack, a young fellow who frolics about in this same forest with an elf, a fairy, and two dwarves.  Mia Sara plays Princess Lili, who meets up with Jack in the forest.  (There is no castle or royal family or Unpleasant Betrothed in this movie.  Princess Lili exists in something of a medieval vacuum.)  Jack offers to show her the unicorns.

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Hands up, everybody who thinks this is probably a really bad idea.

Sure enough, the Lord of Darkness’ goblins follow Jack and Lili and succeed in shooting the unicorn stallion with a poisoned dart.  Jack gets all upset, knowing how dangerous this could be.  Lili, who is apparently a heartless airhead, laughs off his worries and throws her golden ring into the pond, saying she’ll marry whoever finds it.  She’s standing in a magical forest where goblins have just assassinated one of the only two remaining unicorns and she’s willing to marry whoever (or whatever) is the first to find her ring and return it?  When I was sitting in the theater watching this movie, this was the point where I decided Lili deserved whatever happened to her.  Here’s a hint:

From here on the plot takes some strange turns.  For a while it felt like I was watching two different movies that had been spliced together in alternating scenes.  My thinking is Ridley Scott has enough material for two or three movies here.  Putting all of it into one movie doesn’t work because some fairy tales are meant to stand alone and cannot be mixed together into one big glittery enchanted stew.

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This is an elf playing a violin while standing in the snow surrounded by a cloud of soap bubbles.

The truth is, Legend is worth seeing, especially for Tim Curry playing the Lord of Darkness.  All that makeup can’t possibly interfere with or obscure his talent.  Legend won a lot of awards centered on cinematography, costuming, and special effects.  The complete version ran 125 minutes long.  Screenings indicated that taxed the attention span of audiences, so a total of 30 minutes were cut from the film prior to its official theatrical release.  What made it to theaters was a rush job, butchered and stitched back together.  Once you know this, you know why continuity goes to hell in a handbasket when Our Heroes are about to attempt the daring rescue of Princess Lili. In 2002, Ridley Scott released his director’s cut, giving the world the movie he intended to make.

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15 Comments

Filed under bad movies, Blog challenges, fairy tales, fantasy, Horror, legend

15 responses to “L for Legend

  1. I always found this movie weak, and yet the scene of Lily’s seduction is impressive and sensual – and then there’s Tim Curry playing the Darkness.
    To me, Curry makes watchable almost anything 🙂

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  2. I watched Legend only once on TV soooooo many years ago, but I remember liking it quite a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent choice for L. So much to love about this movie. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Here from the A-Z, Your visuals are amazing. Legend is my L word too, though in a different way.
    Best of luck for the rest of the challenge

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What? No love for Tim Curry as Darkness? He was the best part of this while concoction!

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    • You know, I did talk about that, but as I moved bits around and went looking for graphics, that must have been taken out. More fool me! This was one of Tim Curry’s finest performances.

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  6. essentially the editing made the movie incomprehensible? too bad. like you, I’m a fan of Tim Curry. thanks for sharing Lillian!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never seen this movie – but now you’ve made me want to check it out! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Alex Hurst

    I remember the Lord of Darkness unsettling me as much as the villain from Fern Gully… now I know why! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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