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Legend Blu-ray Review

“Legend” is far from legendary.

The Plot: Wanting to plunge the world into darkness, the Lord of Darkness sends his minions (led by the goblin Blix) to sever the horns of the sacred unicorns who are the guardians of light. To cut the story short, Blix severs one unicorn horn and captures Princess Lili and the other unicorn. Only a forest man (Jack) who is in love with Lili, an elf (Honeythorn Gump), 2 dwarves (Screwball and Brown Tom) and a fairy (Oona) can stand in the Lord’s way and save the world.

1985’s “Legend” is a movie I wanted to like more as the dark fantasy film helmed by Ridley Scott certainly has a lot going for it. Visually, the movie is a triumph. It’s atmospheric and dreamlike, the grand sets are award worthy, the costumes are lavish, the Jerry Goldsmith on the director’s cut is enchanting, and the creature make-up work by Rob Bottin is nothing short of excellent. I think we can all agree that the design of the red devilish Lord of Darkness is the most memorable part of this movie. Unfortunately, everything else doesn’t work.

I’ve always maintained that fantasy is the hardest genre to pull off in film and TV simply because it’s hard to make those fantastical worlds come to life and seem believable. Yes, the visuals are splendid here, but the script by William Hjortsberg lacks magic. One would think that a movie with Tom Cruise, goblins, elves, action, a Princess and fairies would be dynamite, but this epic tale about trust, love, light and dark is flat. The story is very surface level and the characters themselves lack depth. It all feels like a bunch of fantasy story cliches rolled together. 

The cast does their best here. Tom Cruise may be the big name in the movie (nowadays that is), but he’s rather stiff as Jack. Mia Sara (who was always underrated) really shines here as Princess Lili. Tim Curry is the clear MVP as the Lord of Darkness. You’d never know it was him if you didn’t see the credits because it was such a transformative role.

Note: This set contains the theatrical cut and the 23 minute longer director’s cut.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How do the versions look? The theatrical cut has a 2K restoration theatrical from original film materials and a 4K scan of the original camera negative. Obviously, the theatrical cut looks sharper here but I was still impressed with the director’s cut print too. Both of them provide quality upgrades that maintain the 80’s aesthetic. 

Audio Track: 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA for both versions. How do they sound? Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either of these layered tracks.

Extras:
* 10 postcards and 6 art cards
* A double-sided fold out poster
* A booklet containing credits, production notes, essays by Kat Ellinger, Nicholas Clement, Simon Ward, an intro for a book by screenwriter William Hjortsberg, an interview with Charles De Lauzirika, and comments from Ridley Scott on the 2011 Blu-ray transfers.
* 2 drafts of the screenplay
* 3 trailers and 4 TV spots
* 8 storyboarded sequences
* Production, continuity polaroids, and poster and video art still galleries
* Ridley Scott commentary
* 2 lost scenes (alternate opening and The Fairie Dance and a TV version opening
* 9 minutes of alternate footage and takes
* An archival promo featurette
* “Creating A Myth: Memories Of Legend”- A 51 minute 2000 documentary with cast and crew interviews.
* Isolated Tangerine Dream score and isolated music and effects tracks.
* 2 featurettes on the creature make-up effects and illustrations and the music by Tangerine Dream and Jerry Goldsmith.
* A music video for Bryan Ferry’s “Is Your Love Strong Enough?”
* A visual essay by Travis Crawford who talks about the versions of “Legend.”
* “The Directors: Ridley Scott”- A 2003 documentary about Ridley Scott’s filmography.
* A new commentary by Paul M. Sammon.
* “Remembering A Legend”- A new half-hour retrospective documentary with British cast and crew members.

October 2, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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