Willow

Film

Fantasy films

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>1</span>/5
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Time Out says

Producer George Lucas and director Ron Howard’s hokey 1988 Tolkien knock-off may pale in the wake of Peter Jackson’s monumental trilogy, but there’s still plenty to enjoy. Built on fantasy stereotypes – friendly little folk, evil witches, misunderstood heroes, guys on horseback with bloody great swords – it nonetheless contains enough epic action, narrative momentum and spit-and-sawdust pre-CGI special effects to hold the attention.

Revisiting the film, a few things stand out. Val Kilmer’s performance as the wisecracking Madmartigan (great name) feels like a true star turn, packed with breezy charisma, in contrast to the more ‘difficult’ persona he now inhabits. The backdrops are a triumph of the matte painter’s art – recognisably fake at times, but beautiful nonetheless. And all of this is undercut by a mile-wide streak of slushy, gushy sentiment – a tendency which mainstream action cinema has mercifully abandoned in the years since.

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Release details

UK release:

1988

Duration:

126 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Ron Howard

Cast:

Billy Barty, Patricia Hayes, Jean Marsh, Warwick Davis, Joanne Whalley, Val Kilmer, Pat Roach

Music:

James Horner

Production Designer:

Allan Cameron

Editor:

Richard Hiscott, Michael Hill, Daniel Hanley

Cinematography:

Adrian Biddle

Screenwriter:

Bob Dolman

Producer:

Nigel Wooll

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