Copyright Company and Date: Universal, 1985
Submitted by KooshmeisterThe Characters
- Jack: Tom Cruise! A young Peter Pan wannabe (without the flying powers) who lives out in the woods.
- Princess Lili: Mia Sara! Jack's girlfriend, who winds up in a very revealing black dress.
- The Lord of Darkness: Tim Curry! The villain, an evil red devil dude who hates sunlight and goodness. Blasted into outer space.
- Honeythorn Gump: Short, half-naked elf boy.
- Screwball and Brown Tom: Billy Barty and Cork Hubbart! Gump's comic relief elf buddies; Screwball is the designated coward whilst boozehound Brown Tom is a master in the art of Frying-Pan-Fu.
- Blix: Slimy, evil green goblin who works for Darkness and resembles the Wicked Witch of the West.
- Blunder and Pox: Blix's two goblin cohorts; Blunder wears what looks like a big horned bucket on his head while Pox looks like Porky Pig after a Twinkie Binge.
- Oona: Incredibly slutty fairy who has the hots for Jack.
Tom Cruise with bad teeth and no pants. Mia Sara in that black dress that shows a lot of tummy. Tim Curry hamming it up as the villain. Not to mention comic relief Scottish elves, Mexican goblins and unicorns with wobbly horns that sound like whales.
Why, yes, I'm talking about 1985's Legend
, quite possibly the strangest of the big-budget 80's fantasy flicks, outdone only by Krull
in terms of sheer What-The-F*ckery. A movie that seemed doomed from the start, it's certainly confident in its ability to draw the viewer into its world, because apart from an expository monologue from the Lord of Darkness at the beginning, characters are introduced....without being introduced. For the first ten to twenty minutes of the film we know only that the scary-looking devil guy wants the unicorns dead, and his vile goblin minion thinks that oblivious Lili will lead him to them. Blix suddenly gains two more goblins, Blunder and Pox. And then suddenly here comes Jack wearing a Peter Pan getup and he and Lily start making out while the voyeuristic goblins spy on them, and, well, to be perfectly honest, I can see why some people would be severely turned off by this movie.
Once it kicks into high gear, though, with the slaying of the first unicorn, the stallion, though, the movie actually gets interesting....in a weird sort of way. Nevermind the huge plot convenience that the goblins choose to tail Lily whose boyfriend Jack just happens to be the one mortal who knows about the secret stream where the darn things come to drink. So Blix kills the stallion and cuts off his horn, causing everything to turn into winter. Jack, searching for Lili's ring in a pond at the time, becomes trapped underwater when the surface freezes over. Lili runs away for help, while Jack manages to finally free himself from the ice. Lili finds a house with its occupants frozen solid. These are some friends of Lili's friend earlier in the movie, Nell and her husband Arthur; no indication is for why they
are frozen solid whereas Lili (and Jack) are not. The goblins show up at this point; Lili hides while they trash the house and talk about eating various parts of Lili's anatomy, during which time Blix discovers that the unicorn horn, or the "alicorn," as it is called, has magical powers. Lili decides to follow them to "make it right." She has apparently forgotten all about Jack, who, as far as she knows, is still stuck underneath the frozen pond.
Jack, meanwhile, isn't doing a whole of searching for Lili either. His fireside snooze is rudely interrupted by the sudden appearance of Gump the elf and his entourage; Screwball, Brown Tom and Oona the tiny fairy. Gump demands to know what is happening, and Jack tells all he knows, which is that Lili touched the stallion. Apparently, this is a huge no-no. Gump is severely p**sed, but forgives Jack after he tells him he "did it for love." Deciding to team up, they go searching for the unicorns and find the dead stallion. The mare shows up, Jack cries, and then decides the must get the alicorn back because "only then will the world return to normal." Gump decides, on the spur of the moment, that they need a hero, and that Jack is it. Leaving Brown Tom to guard the mare, he, Screwball and Oona take Jack to a cave somewhere. For some reason only Oona can go with Jack; Gump and Screwball have to wait at the entrance. The cave turns out to contain lots of gold and weapons, and during this scene Oona reveals to jack that she can turn human-sized and more or insinuates that she likes him and that this way they can do the horizontal mambo. Jack's mind is on other things, though, and instead he grabs a sword.
Meanwhile, the goblins have made camp someplace and Blix uses the alicorn's magic power to set Blunder's ass on fire, and thinkings he's king of the world and even more powerful than Darkness himself. Then Big D shows up, and Blix immediately reverts to subservient bootlicker mode. Blunder's attempt to imitate Blix and act tough winds up getting him chucked into a pit by a mummy, and then Darkness takes the alicorn orders the remaining two goblins to go back and get the mare. Why they didn't do that in the first place is never gone into. I guess they're just lazy. Lili, overhearing all of this, runs to warn....somebody. At this point she knows nothing about Gump's party, or where to find the mare, so she's really just going out on a limb here. But thanks to the magic of plot contrivances, she manages to go straight to where Brown Tom is watching over the mare! Her efforts to warn him about the goblins prove futile, as Blix and Pox show up and attack. Brown Tom fends them off with a frying pan (!), but is overcome and the goblins abscond with both Lili and the mare.
Returning to find Brown Tom unconscious and the mare gone, Jack and Gump get the skinny about Lili and the goblins and all that jazz, and now that all of the characters are finally up to speed, they follow the goblins' tracks in the snow to the swamp where Darkness' tree lair is. Screwball is made to go in first, because he's the expendable one, but he gets grab by something and dragged into the water. That something turns out be an ugly green woman named Meg Mucklebones, who releases Screwball because he tastes bad. But Jack apparently tastes good because she tries to eat him, instead, but falls victim to his swordsmanship as Jack completes his first heroic act by (apparently) cutting Meg's head off. Then it's on to Darkness' tree where our heroes immediately fall victim to a booby trap that winds up dumping them down into the same pit Blunder fell into earlier. This deposits them in a cage in the fortress' kitchen, where they discover that Blunder is their cellmate.
In the most f*cked up plot-twist ever, Blunder takes off his helmet to reveal he isn't a goblin at all but instead, apparently, an elf (this doesn't explain his deformed left hand however). From him they learn that they are to be cooked and eaten by the Lord of Darkness, and no sooner as he delivered this exposition than a big ugly cook comes in and grabs him and takes him off to be cooked and eaten. Jack reveals that Oona can turn human-sized, something he apparently wasn't supposed to do, but Oona rolls with it and tells Jack she'll fly out and get the keys if he'll kiss her. To entice him she transforms herself into Lili (how does she even know what Lili looks like?), though Jack sees through this facade and can't do it. Despite throwing a temper tantrum, Oona gets the friggin' keys anyway. Once free, it is decided that they will split up to look for Lili and the mare; Jack with Gump and Screwball with Brown Tom and, uh, Oona by herself I guess. The adventures they have inside Darkness' fortress are fairly lackluster.
First Jack and Gump get attacked by shrieking midgets with Freddy Krueger claws, but escape; meanwhile Screwball and Brown Tom just sort of stumble across the chained mare in the dungeon, and all the while the lack of any guards or servants (except the cooks) in the place is pretty glaringly apparent. In the meantime, Darkness, who we still
haven't gotten a good look at, converses with what I'm assuming is the spirit of his father. It seems Big D has got the hots for Lili, who is now roaming freely through his dominion (seriously, Big D, man, hire some more goblins!), and his pops advises him to seduce Lili to the Dark Side. Lili eventually finds her way to Darkness' throne room, with Oona following her, where she is compelled to put on a sexy black dress after it dances around by itself, and then Darkness makes his big entrance into the movie by stepping through a mirror. He explains to an understandably terrified Lili that, more or less, she is evil because she played a part in getting the stallion killed, etc., and he wants her as his queen.
Oona leads Jack and Gump to the throne room, where they hide and listen as Darkness exposits firstly that he plans to kill the mare, and thus banish light forever, and, furthermore, that the reason for this is that sunlight can kill him. This of course makes Gump realize, "As long as the sun still shines, we can destroy him!" After meeting up with Screwball and Brown Tom who reveal the location of the mare, Jack comes up with an admittedly brilliant plan to "bring light to Darkness." Then it's back to the kitchen, where they fight the giant, cleaver-wielding cooks and save Blunder from being baked into a pie, and then begin gathering up all the shiny dinner plates and begin arranging them so as to reflect sunlight deep into the bowels of Darkness' lair. Since the only place the sun shines in from is the kitchen's chimney, Screwball has to climb up to the top with one of the plates. Then the others head off and begin arranging the other plates.
There's a number of problems with this. Firstly, as mentioned, except for the cooks and those screeching little clawed monsters, Darkness' lair seems fairly devoid of any kind of security. Meaning once they defeat them, they have free run of the place while the main villain is locked away in his bedroom wooing the damsel in distress. Where the heck did Blix and Pox go? The second problem is how do they know precisely how to arrange the plates? This all depends on Darkness being in the right place and the right time, and it's not like they can predict his movements or anything. Nevertheless, the way they arrange the plates does, coincidentally, wind up corresponding to Big D's movements for the evening, and they win the day, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
In the throne room, Darkness' efforts to seduce Lili appear to be working. Despite her refusal to have dinner with him or even do so much as have a seat in his throne, when he gets mad at her she suddenly turns evil and says she wants to kill the mare. Darkness buys it, and after laughing his very best maniacal villain's laugh, it's off to the dungeon for him and Lili where he orders her to use the stallion's alicorn to kill the mare. Jack and Gump are watching from somewhere above, bows and arrows trained on them, and although Gump is also buying Lili's sudden turn, Jack isn't, and he refuses to kill her. He's proven right when Lili uses the alicorn to cut the mare's chains, and she runs off. An enraged Darkness b***hslaps her, causing Jack to fly off the handle and attack him. He and Darkness then have a pretty impressive swordfight, which Darkness looks dangerously close to winning, before Jack manages to grab the alicorn right out of what appears to be a pool of molten lava (shades of Krull
). Darkness demands that he give him the alicorn. Jack gives it to him, all right; Darkness winds up with it stabbed into his stomach. Then the whole let's-reflect-sunlight-off-of-dinner-plates plan is put into motion and Darkness is blasted with the power of the sun, which makes him drop the alicorn (he pulled it out of himself) and get sent spinning into outer space (!). In the meantime, it looks like Darkness smacked Lili harder than it looked, because she's completely unconsciouss. Gump then takes the alicorn and restores the stallion to life by just sticking it back on, while Jack goes back and retrieves Lili's ring from that pond and putting it on her finger restores her to life, too, and they all live happily ever after.
Make no mistake, I love this film. I grew up with it. But I'm all too aware of just how silly it is. No matter which version you watch, no matter which score it's got, no matter which scenes are present and which scenes are missing, it's a still a film with ten minutes of Tom Cruise and Mia Sara frolicking while monster guys follow them around before actual plot kicks in.
And yet, I love every second of it.LESSONS LEARNED
Unicorns sound like whales.
Giant tree fortresses of unspeakable evil are always right around the corner.
Bullfrogs are poisonous.
Nobody dresses warm when a blizzard hits in fairy land.
A bunch of goblins in clunky armor can be super-stealthy.
Giant tree fortresses of unspeakable evil are extremely lightly guarded.
When a magical blizzard hits, everyone will be frozen solid except the principal characters.
Frying pans are excellent melee weapons.NOTABLE QUOTESDarkness:
Are you not the most loathesome of my goblins?Blix:
And is your heart black, and full of hate?Blix:
Black as midnight, black as pitch, blacker than the foulest witch.
[about the unicorns
Nothing is more magical. As long as they roam the Earth, evil can never harm the pure of heart.Lili:
Do you speak their language?Jack:
They express only love and laughter. Dark thoughts are unknown to them.Blunder:
Lucky day! Kill ugly one-horned mule!Blix:
You act like you
do all! It was me
who shoot the poison stinger!
[Blunder defiantly points at himself; Blix hits him
Me! Me! Me!Pox:
You only got the shot in because 'twas beauty led the beast to bay!Blunder:
She was so sweet! I could eat her brains like jam!Pox:
I could suck her bones--Blix: Enough!
[finding Brown Tom "dead" with an arrow through his hat
Gump. Screwball. Jack, lad. They kill you too?Gump:
'Course they didn't. But what in blazes are you talking about?Brown Tom:
Shot me through me brain pan.
[Gump removes Brown Tom's hat; the arrow only pierced a stashed bottle of wine
That's one spot an arrow'll do no harm.
[about the giant tree fortress of unspeakable evil
The Great Tree. When evil anarchy rule the land, the wicked came here to sacrifice.Screwball:
Ugly. I hate it.Gump:
Good. You go first.Screwball:
Why always me?!Gump:
How like you like my gifts? Does the gown not please you?Lili:
Can you speak so of your bridal gown? I have found my true mate. And you know it.Lili:
Beneath the skin, we are already one. Was it not your sin, trapped the unicorn? Even now, the evil seed of what you've done germinates with you.Lili:
You lie. Yuu disgust me! You are nothing but an animal!Darkness:
We are all animals, my lady.Screwball:
You know what?Brown Tom:
I vote we run like hell!Brown Tom:
I second the motion!