Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Willow (1988)

his movie was made quite a while ago, but it was a good movie and a good starting point. It had its problems like any other movie, and certainly not a horror film in any sense of the word, but I thought it would be a good way for M♦I♦S♦S M♦U♦R♦D♦E♦R to try her hand at this little endeavor of mine. She may review horror, comedies, anything she likes as long as she remembers certain things.

M♦I♦S♦S M♦U♦R♦D♦E♦R: Like what?
Me: Like be respectful of your readers, have no respect for the filmmakers (unless they deserve it), maybe shorten up your moniker...
M♦I♦S♦S M♦U♦R♦D♦E♦R: My what?
Me: Your name sweetheart. How about M♦M?
M♦M: 'Kay.

We also discussed things I didn't want as part of reviews, like giving a 'number' or 'stars' - I mean what does '3 stars out of 5' really mean to anyone anyway?

M♦M: They liked it?
Me: Yeah but why? And what plot points did they really like and how about sound, cinematography and...
M♦M: Wait, we tell them what happened in the movie? What if they haven't seen it?
Me: <Points to name of blog> Unless the movie is brand new (in which case yeah, tell them if there are spoilers), people either have already seen it or don't want to. That's what we do - watch what others don't or wouldn't want to.
M♦M: But don't we want to tell people when a movie is good?
Me: Not unless the filmmakers start writing me checks.

Made long before the now-famous Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Willow, directed by Ron Howard and made by Lucasfilm was filmed primarily in New Zealand and was kind of a combo of a good-ole'-boy connections and who-was-popular-at-the-moment kind of casting. I'm not sure why they picked Joanne Whalley, she was a British actress and maybe they had seen some of her work. Her first role was a non-speaking part in Pink Floyd - The Wall in 1982. Among the popular was my favorite potato, Val Kilmer...

M♦M: Wait, what?
Me: Read my review on Twixt sweetheart.
M♦M: You called the gorgeous guy a potato?
Me: Well, not in this one, in...
M♦M: Could you get into his pants?
Me: What?
M♦M: Could you get into his pants?
Me: Okay, that's not appropriate number one. Number two I'm married and...
M♦M: No, no. IF he GAVE you a PAIR of his pants, could you wear them?
Me: Umm, I'm not answering that one.
M♦M: Didn't think so.

Ahem. This movie combined both those who had worked together before along with some we hadn't seen in a while and some we really never saw at all. In other words - a decent mix. George Lucas picked Warwick Davis as the lead because he really liked the idea of the 'little guy' (pun only, he wasn't making fun of little people) being the big hero...

M♦M: This was Lucas' chance to show that little people could live and be in a society just as well as any other.

Me: That was good kiddo. Why don't you just present the movie and I'll just point out a thing or two along the way.

M♦M: 'Kay. Willow had a rather large cast with people both very well known and some not-so well. With heavy star power and a lush filming location, George Lucas was able to develop the story he started in the 70's but never thought could be done. 

It included Warwick Davis (who played one of the Ewoks in the Star Wars movie), Val Kilmer, whose star power was very big due mostly to Top Gun, the late Billy Barty whose film career had started in the 1920's as well as Gavan O'Herlihy in one of the few roles where he got to be a good guy.

I love New Zealand, I'd live there if I could afford it. Just watching all the wonderful scenic places in the Lord Of The Ring trilogy I knew if there was a place on Earth I could choose to live in, that would be it. The movie begins with an evil queen bent on destroying babies because of a prophecy that one would end up destroying her, kind of like the baby Jesus...

Me: Nooooope.
M♦M: What?
Me: No religious allegories if you can help it.
M♦M: But it was like...
Me: Nooooope. Just say there was a prophecy about a baby with a birthmark ending her reign and call it good.

M♦M: Anyway, the Queen, Bavmorda, is afraid of a little baby and so makes sure every pregnant woman is imprisoned until their babies are born. Wait, how could she cover a whole kingdom...

Me: Good point. She really couldn't - unless she found out through her magic - she did have that.

M♦M: So finally one is born with this birthmark but because she's, I dunno, pretty or something, the midwives sneak her out of the castle and the woman runs and runs and suddenly in five minutes the brand new baby has a ton of curly red hair. Now how could she run with a baby, keep it fed and clothed and stuff and still be on the run that long?

Me: You're getting the hang of this. Another good point - keep going.

M♦M: Finally though they catch up with her so like the baby Moses...

Me: Nooooope. 

M♦M: Finally though they catch up with her and so she makes a floating bunch of sticks and puts the baby on it in a small river before she is killed. The baby floats until it's caught on the edge of the river right by a Nelwyn village where two children find her. They call to their father, Willow (Warwick Davis) but he, recognizing it only as a Daikini baby decides she has to go. 

He's vetoed by his family however, and they take care of her until at a village gathering these nasty looking dogs attack and Willow knows it's because of the baby. He has to show the village council who he's been hiding. They vote that he and a select group of others take her to a crossroads where the Daikini are known to travel and give it to the first one they see. At the crossroads are these huge wooden thingies that keep large cages suspended above the ground. In one of the cages is a guy named Madmartigan and he is gorgeous. Right?

Me: Right.

M♦M: He keeps telling them he's the greatest swordsman there is and he will take care of the baby. But they find out different when an army passes by - there was a reason he was in a cage. Whether it was because he was a traitor or a thief or both is not clearly said but implied. The army goes by, and again Madmartigan tells the Nelwyns that he will care for the baby if they let him out. Since no one is left and they want to go home, they do. On their way back however, they find he has let Brownies steal the child and so off they go to rescue her.

The Brownies lead the Nelwyns to a fairy queen who tells them Willow has been picked to be the guardian of Elora Danan (the red haired baby) who will save the kingdom. Willow gets her magic wand (he's a bit of an amateur wizard himself) and travels with the baby and Madmartigan who had rejoined them to find Fin Raziel and then travel to Tir Asleen...

Me: Are these names starting to annoy you too?

M♦M: Yeah. Anyway, they get to Fin Raziel to find out she's been transformed by Bavmorda into an animal. Willow, being only an amateur cannot transform her. Then they are all caught by Sorsha, daughter of the evil queen. Madmartigan figures out an escape plan but the brownies accidentally hit him in the face with a fairy love dust which makes him fall in love with Sorsha...

Me: And he marries her, has two kids and divorces her about eight years later...

M♦M: Really? Anyway, he makes an embarrassing speech to Sorsha who apparently has never heard a man speak before...

Me: Good one!

M♦M: And they escape. At one point they capture Sorsha too but she escapes. So this chase goes on for a while but the background is so pretty...

Me: Did you notice that at some points it's nice and green and summery (Willow was getting his crops planted when this started) but when they get the baby from Sorsha there's deep snow everywhere that disappears a short time later and it's like summer again? And their outfits kept changing but there were no places where they could have bought (or stolen) the clothes?

M♦M: This IS a fantasy movie. Guess you just have to let it go and let the movie go on. They make it to Tir Asleen only to find it has been conquered by the queen. But Madmartigan finds armor and takes the most shiniest and fights a huge monster that Willow made...

Me: That was pretty stupid.

M♦M: Watching him fight the monster, Sorsha decides that she loves him because he's the only handsome guy left alive at this point...

Me: Zing!

M♦M: And betrays her mother to help them save the baby but it's captured anyway so everybody ends up at the castle and... okay this is how it ends. The queen turns everybody except Willow into pigs. Willow finally gets the hang of being a wizard, makes Raziel human again and she turns everybody back into humans. 

And the big fight in the castle begins as the queen starts the ritual to banish the baby's spirit, whatever that means, and there's magic and fighting and the baby's crying at it's getting annoying. But because this is fantasy good prevails and they save the baby, Madmortigan and Sorsha will raise it to be the new queen I guess. Willow goes home a hero and shows off his new wizard abilities and everybody's happy. So how did I do?

Me: Not bad. You've got good sarcasm, I like that. Yes this was a fantasy but there was much that we had to just take on faith and other things we're just supposed to ignore. But overall, a pretty good movie.