Krull: Movie Review

krull08h_8x10I recognized the touch of James Horner from the beginning of the opening title sequence. I love his soundtracks and this is certainly a big plus for Krull! Actually, when I finished watching the movie I was thinking that music is probably the best thing about it: it’s really epic, although perhaps a little too reminiscent of the soundtrack of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but it’s really catchy and perfect to evoke the fantasy atmosphere that Peter Yates gave to this film released in 1983.

And what are the ingredients of Krull? The love story between Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) and Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall), who are in love with each other, is abruptly interrupted when their planet, called Krull, is invaded by an evil beast that resides in a black fortress and unleashes its slayers to kill and subdue the whole world. When she’s captured (there’s a princess captive in a black castle: is there an older cliche than this?), he has to begin an adventure to free her in which he meets numerous allies on the way (the wise Ynyr, Freddie Jones, the cyclops Rell, Bernard Bresslaw, the wizard Ergo, David Battley, the thief Torquil, Alun Armstrong, and his group…) as well as a lot of enemies (the slayers, of course, but also changelings and giant spiders).

Perhaps this abundance of characters is one of the (many) weak points of the film, since you it’s hard to remember the names of the two or three protagonists and it’s certainly impossible to get excited for the fate of those who barely have a line of dialogue throughout the film (perhaps the good Kegan is an exception, but only because he’s played by a very young Liam Neeson).

Krull does a better job than Ridley Scott’s Legend (1985) in building a world that appears vast, even if only for the variety of landscapes and locations crossed by this colorful fellowship led by the future king (the movie was partly shot in Italy, like Ladyhawke, released two years after Krull). The excuses used to move from one place to another are, to say the least, weak, since the story is basically based on something like: “we have to talk to him to go from point A to point B, and then we have to look for her to get to point C, and then we must go to point D, etcetera etcetera…“. Admittedly, this is the formula of a number of classic fantasy tales.

However, the lack of originality here is too evident. Basically, the film copies the winning formula of Star Wars (1977) with Lyssa / Leia, Colwyn / Luke, Ynyr / Obiwan, Ergo / C-3PO, Torquil / Han Solo, the Beast / Darth Vader, and the Glaive as a kind of Force. The slayers look like stormtroopers, the soldiers of the empire, with their huge helmets and laser weapons, and maybe the cyclops Rell is Chewbacca! But I could make a similar parallel with The Lord of the Rings, with a company led by an old wise man on a mission to kill an evil presence of whom we see a red eye connected to Palantyr-like stones… In short, Krull is a classic fantasy, very classic, where the story is anything but innovative!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to say that everything is bad in this movie (even the special effects for the most part are still OK), although given that it was a huge box office bomb I would say that most people would prefer not to invest two hours of their time in watching this film. Personally, I’m happy that I saw it, but it’s undeniable that it has a myriad of problems mainly related to two-dimensional characters, the lack of originality and a soporific rhythm. But, as they say in these cases, it’s a cult movie, so there are estimators out there! Ciao!


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