The Golden Years: Fantasy Films of the 70s & 80s

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by Vortigern99, Jan 15, 2008.

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  1. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    The late 70s and early 80s was a magical time, when, owing largely to the unprecedented success of STAR WARS, there was a flood of fantasy films, many of which were actually quite good. And of course there were a few films prior to STAR WARS which may have been influential on it, and after it when the genre seemed to quickly peter out.

    I'd like to review each of these in turn, and I invite your comments on them as well -- either from the perspective of one who saw them in their original theatrical release, or who has only seen them on DVD or video, if at all.

    Here's the list:

    1974 - The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (Harryhausen).
    1977 - The Hobbit (animated -- Rankin/Bass). WIZARDS (animated -- Bakshi). Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (Harryhausen). The original Star Wars (Lucas).
    1978 - Lord of the Rings (animated -- Bakshi).
    1980 - The Empire Strikes Back (Lucas). Flash Gordon (DeLaurentiis -- which I include b/c of the swordplay and fantasy "feel"). Return of the King (animated -- Rankin/Bass).
    1981 - Excalibur (Boorman). Clash of the Titans (Harryhausen). Time Bandits (Gilliam)
    1982 - Conan the Barbarian (Milius/DeLaurentiis). Dragonslayer (Robbins). The Dark Crystal (Henson/Oz). The Sword and the Sorcerer (Chase/Pyun). Beastmaster (Coscarelli). The Last Unicorn (animated -- Beagle/Rankin/Bass). Hercules (Cotzi, with Lou Ferrigno).
    1983 - Krull. Return of the Jedi (Lucas).
    1984 - The Neverending Story.
    1985 - Labyrinth (Henson/Oz/Jones/Lucas). Conan the Destroyer (Fleischer). The Black Cauldron (animated -- Disney). Ladyhawke. (Donner)
    1986 - Legend (R. Scott). Red Sonja (Flesicher). Highlander. Robin Hood (BBC/Showtime).
    1987 - Masters of the Universe. The Princess Bride (Reiner).
    1988 - Willow (Lucas/Howard).
    1989 - The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Gilliam).

  2. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    I'll start the reviews by comparing two films from 1982: 'Conan the Barbarian', a big-budget and ultra-violent treatment of the RE Howard pulp creation, and 'The Sword and the Sorcerer', a low-budget and ultra-violent treatment of a very similar fantasy world (with bits of Howard's writing even making into the voice-over narration at the beginning of the film).

    'Conan' is full of deadly gravitas, and full of itself. It takes the source material absolutely seriously, and treats it with operatic heavy-handedness. This is not to say there aren't comical moments in the film, but overall it's almost oppressively bleak and unrelentingly dark.

    'S&S' is so light-hearted as to be almost ridiculous in places. It's fun and amusing; even the graphic violence which sometimes spews across the screen seems geared to make us smile at how silly it all is. There are laughs aplenty, and a sense that even though a bunch of people die hideous deaths, for our hero(es) it's all going to be okay in the end.

    'Conan' is set in a faux-historical reality filled with extremely convincing details -- architecture, costume and set design seem unified and plausibly realistic. This sense of overarching verissimilitude extends, however, to a paucity of magical aspects, removing it somewhat from the sorcerer-heavy (and monster-filled) world of Howard's creation.

    'S&S' is so full of sorcery, witchcraft and magical spectacle that it plays almost like an ultra-violent Disney movie. Spells, incantations, transforming demons, and black magic play a huge part not only in the visual excitement generated by the movie, but also in the advancement of the plot itself.

    Both 'Conan' and 'S&S' have their share of nudity and sexuality, rendering them both a deserved 'R' rating. 'Conan', however, depicts a mature and committed love relationship between the two leads (at least briefly), while 'S&S' shows sexual attraction only in its most prurient form.

    Overall, 'Conan' is a superior film. Its mise-en-scene (on-set elements such as costume and props) is par none, with the possible exception of the LOTR films. The use of wide angles on broad stretches of landscape, intercut with close-ups of impained faces, evokes John Ford as his best, while the design elements are reminiscent of Japanese samurai pictures of the 50s and 60s. The score by B. Poledouris is by turns majestic and tender, violent and jaunty. Milius' 'Conan the Barbarian', despite or perhaps because of its no-punches-pulled gravitas and self-imprtance, is an emotionally affecting film and an unparalleled masterpiece of the fantasy genre.

    'S&S' is loads of fun: exciting, funny, action-packed, and crowd-pleasing -- but it is not a 'great' film. It uses stock footage in some of its establishing shots, and the impact of the whole affair is lessened by its obviously low budget mise-en-scene. Still, the plot is solid, with no overt holes or inconsistencies, and the characters are memorable and vivid. The score, like the movie itself, is at its best when it's having fun. 'The Sword and the Sorcerer' is a romp through similar territory as 'Conan' -- a revenge tale of magic and battle -- but it's got its tongue placed firmly in-cheek throughout.
  3. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    you forgot Masters of the Universe.

    The biggest mistake MotU made was tying He-Man to Earth. Much like BeastMaster 2, taking the characters to Earth was totally pointless and spoiled a lot of the suspension of disbelief. It also dated the movie and locked it in time in the worst ways possible.
    On the other hand, it wasn't nearly as bad a movie as it usually is accused of being. Sure, there are gaping flaws. But compare it to the incrediblly silly FHE cartoon. This at least had humanistic limits to the character. It also shows of the fact that Dolph Lundgren actually can act, even if he usually isn't allowed to. Anyone who can seriously play a character named "He-Man" deserves some credit. Truly, the saddest aspect of the movie is that due to budget restrictions, they did not get to propperly film the climactic fight between Skelator and HeMan in the throne room. That was supposed to be the last scene filmed, but getting up to it took too much time and they had to release the studio space back to the owners for another movie. Consequently, the sword fight that was supposed to move across one of the biggest sets in hollywood (and that throne room was very majestic and beautiful for the time) was cut down to a shadow-play in front of a rainbow swirly light.
    The effects were otherwise fairly good (80s ILM looking very RotJ for obvious reasons).

    While by no means an "art filllmmm", it is still a fairly entertaining movie, and does work within the world it sets up.
  4. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    I have not seen S&S in a very long time. I only remember that three bladed sword that could shoot the blades.

    Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was just on recently. I still love it, though POTC show what modern special effects can do for a sea farring film. I would like to see Sinbad films done today. The Minoton rules.

    Conan the Destroyer was a result of Conan the Barbarian not doing well at the box office. It was not a bomb, but it didn't do well enough. CtB is far superiro to CtD. I like CtD but it is a watered down version of the first film. When I watch the first film I see Conan, when I watch the 2nd film I see Arnold in a Conan costume.

    Krull. I have heard people try to call SW "space fanatsy", but Kull is what space fantasy looks like. Despite my love for this flick I still wonder why the blaster carrying bad guys were afraid of a tiger.

    I cannot watch the Lou Ferrigno Hercules movies, they make me feel vomitous.

    Clash of the Titans is going to be remade. Now here is where they can screw up. The special effects still hold up, but it's the charcaters made great by the actors and writers and such that make it great. If they become too concerned with making the Kraken look cool and not enough TLC is given to the characters then it will flop and flop hard.

    Conan The Barbarian
    Dragonslayer
    Excalibur
    Clash Of The Titans
    Beastmaster
    This would be my top five favs of the time period; the LOTR live action films would be placed just above Clash of the Titans.
  5. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    Koohii -- I added MotU to the list. I agree it's underrated, and must be seen by all genre fans just for the sake of Frank Langella's performance alone! As Skeletor he chews scenery like its made of cotton candy. The influence of Jack Kirby's Fourth World comics series (early 70s DC) is evident in the dimensional transport "Boom Tube" and in the general thrust of the plot. This makes sense, given that Kirby's style influenced the design of the action figure characters in the first place. Thus I don't mind the Earth-based storyline as much as some.... but I would still love to see an updated live-action film, with bada** action sequences a-la the CN animated series from a few years ago.

    VadersLaMent -- Your list is spot-on, except that in place of Beastmaster, I'd put Sword and Sorcerer, a favorite film of mine despite its many flaws and general pedantic tone. I like Beastmaster, too -- it's very imaginative -- but S&S has a gruesome, black-magic-drenched weirdness that I adore, and Talon's tri-bladed sword is hard to beat for sheer entertainment. (Incidentally, regarding Beastmaster, its director Don "PHANTASM" Coscarelli is an acquaintance of mine, and he has some really terrific stories about the making of that film, mainly involving Marc Singer's prima donna antics on-set. But I digress and name-drop simultaneously.)
  6. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    I updated the opening post to include Disney's The Black Cauldron -- more about this atrocious misfire later -- and to indicate the key players of each film as I know them.

    Now, here's a review of Krull I posted in another forum:

    I like Krull and all; I saw it in the theater in '83, and I've seen it many times on cable and video since. It does have its moments, and a spirit of fun that's hard to beat. The Glaive is one of the coolest weapons ever depicted on-screen, and the characters are memorable in a kid-friendly kind of way. The villain is a slimy, bizarro 'what-the-heck-is-it' -- always a good thing in a fantasy film IMO.

    However, the film lacks teeth, and it lacks cinematic aplomb; the action sequences are disjointed and undercooked. The entire enterprise seems limited, not by imagination or the willingness to entertain, both of which it has in spades, but by budgetary constraints that keep it from ever soaring above a rather rote and contrived storyline.

    So... underrated? Yes, a bit, but perhaps deservedly so. Willow is a better movie -- better-made, better-acted, and with surprising plot turns that keep you guessing about how it's all going to end. Krull is predictable from start to finish, even if it does manage to entertain and amuse.
  7. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    THe big problem with Krull is that they rewrote it mid-filming. When Dragonslayer bombed, the studio decided to completely rewrite "DragonRiders of Krull" to remove the dragons. This is like removing the spaceships and lightsabers from StarWars.

    As for the Glaive, very cool. Of course, there is a real weapon called a glaive. Think of a giant butter knife on a pole. Oh well...
  8. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    Koohii, I didn't know Krull once featured dragons. In fact, I know next to nothing about it except what's on-screen. I'd like to know more, as the movie has always captured my imagnation. I take it that the fire-steed sequence (or whatever those super-speed horses were called) were originally conceived of as dragons?

    As to the glaive, interestingly enough, the term once applied to any bladed weapon, deriving from the Latin word for sword, gladius. How and why the filmmakers decided to make it a five-pointed boomerang shuriken is anyone's guess!
  9. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    It is possible I could place S&S higher but I have virtually no memory of it.

    (Incidentally, regarding Beastmaster, its director Don "PHANTASM" Coscarelli is an acquaintance of mine, and he has some really terrific stories about the making of that film, mainly involving Marc Singer's prima donna antics on-set. But I digress and name-drop simultaneously.)

    You must tell us about all of it! Pleeeeeeeeeeease? [face_praying]

    According to Wikipedia:

    Early in production, Krull was actually supposed to be the official Dungeons & Dragons movie, based on the role-playing game of the same name.[citation needed] There was even some production art and press releases where the movie was called Dungeons & Dragons. At some point before the movie was completed, however, the D&D license was either lost or dropped

    I didn't know that. I'm kind of glad it was dropped as a D&D movie. The film is very formula, bad guys taking over, a prophecy, all-knowing guide, special weapon etc, but it pulls it off well. I liked The Beast, it's a cool villain with a unique look and the organic and shifting innards of its domain were cool too.

    EDIT: In looking up info on Krull we find that the music is done by the same guy who did Star Trek II and one reviewer comments/complains/praises the similarities of the two sound tracks. Personally I think musical scores of this quality are missing from films these days.


  10. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    I added a film to the list: The Princess Bride. Perhaps because it exists in a category all its own -- a kind of satirical/adventure/comedy/fairy-tale -- I neglected to include it alongside heavier fare like Conan. But it's certainly a fantasy film, replete with moments of reality-bending magic, and it's also one of my all-time favorites.

    I want to say a quick word about Coscarelli and his stories about the making of Beastmaster. It's been five years since he regaled my friends and me with the tales of Marc Singer's on-set prima donna antics, and even if I could remember all the detials, I couldn't share them because Don promised us all not to. The stories are very funny but cast Singer in a negative light; Coscarelli is a genuine and sincere man, and would not want it known that he ever spoke ill of one of his actors. That said, I can't remember the details well enough anyway to make a good anecdote out of them... so you're welcome to use your imagination!
  11. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    It's always better not to say, when in doubt. Especially if you may have to work with someone in the future. Plus, if you blab details about one person, others may worry about being blabbed about, so it just isn't worth it. I understand the reluctance entirely.

    James Horner, who composed Krull, also composed Trek 2, Trek 3 and Aliens. Arguablly, Trek 2 & Aliens are the same score--there is something like a 2-second difference between "Battle in the Mutara Nebula" and the Aliens 2 climactic music, and they sound nearly identical. I'm (almost) sure placed side by side they might be different, and that the similarity is purely superficial. As for Krull, I'd have to say "Ride of the FireFuries" is probablly the only really interesting piece of the entire score. The Web Woman and other bits that are trying to sound creepy just don't work--too much like a bad halloween haunted house demo CD. Sadly Horner didn't or couldn't continue his string of successes. He did revisit the Trek 2&3 tempos again in a WWII movie about 2 snipers on the eastern front (name escapes me). His work on Braveheart, like the rest of the movie, failed to impress me, nor did it particularly invoke the flavor of the setting or history (rather like the rest movie).

    Still, at least he rose to the top once, which is more than most people can say.
  12. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    I think Stardust fits in that same category. Doesn't necessarily pull it off as well, but it's part of the same sub-sub-genre.
  13. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    I thought this was fantasy films of the 70s and 80s?
  14. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    Horner is still at it today...watch a movie like Troy and Enemy at the Gates...or Titanic and then Bicentennial Man.

    Most composers you can pick out thematically (I can't sit through a Harry Potter movie without hearing Star Wars in the score)...but Horner literally rips himself off, he cheats and used not just themes, but actually scoring over again from film to film...sometimes I think this what people want when they go to him...and he just cuts and pastes tracks he keeps on file.

    It gets real annoying going into a Horner movie, cause it ALWAYS will end up reminding you of some other movie, which takes you right out.
  15. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    I'm gonna take a crack at reviewing Excalibur.

    King Arthur meets the cocaine generation! Which is exactly how this movie should be tagged. shiny, bombastic, and as larger-then-life as the budget would allow, Excalibur show us that "good" is represented best in "shiny" light, best off a golden or silver toned surface...and the film is packed out with this...there is rarely a scene where the eye is not drawn away to a glinting chest plate or chalice, giving the obvious impression that since Arthur was a "good" king...he obvious relished in opulent glimmering piles of treasure. And thus Excalibur helps to usher in the transformation of the decadent pleasures of the Studio 54 era, into the money grubbing "me-first" mentality of the 80s in a single theatrical presentation.

    It's saving grace, the inclusion of orchestral works to prop up an otherwise uninspired score, adds a level of Wagnerian bombast that both thrills, but also strikes home the ostentatious absurdity of the film. This "period" piece was done as seen through the rose-colored spectacles of the 80s. But sadly, the result of this film has been a near total collapse in the industry of anyone attempting to make a true-to-material Arthur film...from the unusual character-driven art film that is First Knight, to the bizarre, non-credible historical recounting of Clive Owen as "King Arthur", the original legend has been abandoned because Excalibur either set the bar, or burned it down, depending on which side of the generational gap you stand on.

    Pros:
    Does offer a decently large scale...especially for the time...though the second half of the film feels very cramped.

    Inclusion of classic orchestral music, though ostentatious, adds vigor to the film.

    Does do a decent job to working in multiple Arthurian legends into a single narrative...though slow at moments, it's not jarring, and you aren't lost in the character names.

    Cons:
    The look of the film shatters any concept of "period", as the sleek 80s sheen permeates 85% of the film. Tie that to the otherwise very late 70s disco vibe (especially in regards to the ladies of the film) you get a "worst of both worlds" and complete disconnect from the legend.

    Dialogue that was meant to sound rustic and antiquated, instead sounded like the rehearsal of Shakespeare by a troop of amateurs come in from the fields of Saskatchewan. They tried to play poetic and try to fool you into thinking these were Malory or Tennyson's words. EPIC FAIL.

    A cast that at times appeared to be cut straight out of late 70s porn, it provided little in the way of memorable faces or names...a few have become successes despite being in Excalibur (Byrne/Neeson/Stewart)...it's a great chuckle to know Qui-Gon not only was in this abortion, but Krull too!

    Finally, the lasting stain of this film...which either because it's honored or despised, has prevented anyone from attempting an epic scale retelling in a era with better technology to serve the film, and certainly a more objective review of history, to make a period piece truly period.

    Final rating 3 out of 5 stars.

    _______________
    Personal Note

    I actually own this one on VHS...i put it in when I'm sick and need to fall asleep. But we'll keep that out of the review proper.
  16. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    Excalibur is a mish-mash of good and bad, imo. I think it achieves classic status without always being good. I do like Nicol Williamson's Merlin - very watchable.

    Vortigern99: suggested additions to your list:

    Warlords of Atlantis (1978 - starring Doug McClure!!)

    Time Bandits (1980)

    American Werewolf in London (1981)

    The Neverending Story (1984)

    Ladyhawke (1985)

    Highlander (1986)

    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989)
  17. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    I'll second the inclusion of Neverending Story and Highlander.
  18. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    I'll chime in to say that I also got tired of James Horner after say 1985 or so. Also part of my dislike is that the main theme from Aliens is a note-for-note ripoff of a piece from the soundtrack of 2001. I forget the track name, however.

    I also note that Basil Poledouris & James Horner are both huge fans of Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, as evidenced by Poleouris' work on Conan the Barbarian (and Hunt for Red October), and Horner's work on...well...everything [face_plain] I also think the costume designer for Conan must've seen the film as well. The armor & especially helmets worn by Thulsa Doom, Rexor, & Forgrimm (sp?) all strongly resemble those worn by the Germans in that film.

    Oh, also for cosideration for 80's movies, I submit Hawk the Slayer, a yummy slice of 80's cheese.
  19. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    I added most of soitscometothis's additions, though I haven't seen Warlord of Atlantis and therefore cannot assess its worthiness for inclusion; American Werewolf, though one of my all-time favorite films is certainly not a fantasy movie!

    Speaking of my all-time favorites, I must address Jedimarine's excoriating review of Excalibur. I'm glad that we both like the film, but Jedimarine, allow me to offer a rebuttal to some of your conclusions.

    I should say at the outset that I saw Excalibur on the big screen when I was 11 in 1981, and have seen it at least 50 times since then -- the most recently the other day, when I showed the DVD to my wife (who loved it!). The film has had a profound impact on my life as a writer, artist and appreciator of the arts. What Jedimarine complains about, I embrace. The so-called "sleek 80s sheen" was developed by director Boorman in the early 70s -- prior to the "disco era" -- when he was searching for a style of cinematography in which to shoot a planned Lord of the Rings film. There is no other movie that looks quite like Excalibur, not even in the same year or anywhere in the 70s or 80s. Boorman is an independent filmmaker who lives in rural Ireland; he is not some kind of disco-scenester or habitual cocaine-user, as your rather defamatory critique suggests.

    The shininess of the armor and objects d'art seen in Arthur's court are indicative of a time of prosperity, and stand in direct contrast to the muddy, battered look during the earlier Uther segment, and the drab lifelessness and impoverishment seen during the Perceval segment. The opulent beauty of the middle Camelot segment is not meant to show that Arthur and his knights are somehow treasure-hoarding magpies, nor is it intended as a timely social commentary on the "me" generation.

    The film is boldly ahistorical and anachronistic; this was a conscious effort on Boorman's part. His main source -- Malory's 15th-century Morte D'Arthur -- was itself wildly anachronistic, casting a supposed 5th or 6th century warlord in full medieval regalia and social customs. This is a film about legends -- Arthur acknowldeges he is living the "stuff of future memory" -- rather than an accurate period piece.

    I agree with you on a number of scores, including the observation that the second half is much compressed, but this is the inevitable result of having to cram 30+ years of narrative into a single film. If one is not familiar with the vast amount of source material -- from Malory to the French Vulgate Cycle to the poems of Robert de Boron and Tennyson, and more -- the missing elements will not even be noticed. I also agree that there is a certain pompous absurdity to the film, especially when one has seen it as often as I -- and I supsect you -- have done!

    But I heartily disagree about the dialogue. It is elegantly composed. Compare it to any similar film -- any film on the list in my opening post -- and you can only conclude that the writing is by far superior to any other attempt at ancient/medieval speech. To wit:

    LANCELOT (thumps chest): "//Here// is my domain, and I pledge all that I own -- muscle, bone, blood, and the heart that pumnps it."

    ARTHUR: "And a great heart it is. Lancelot: You will be my champion!"


    That is expert psuedo-Shakespearean stuff, at least on the level of the non-Tolkien LOTR dialogue, if not suprassing it.

    Further, the fact that most of the actors did not go on to superstardom should not be taken as an indication that they failed as performers in their roles here. In any case, at least four of the actors did rise to stardom: Patrick Stewart, Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, and Helen Mirren. Nicol Williamson is also very well-known on the stage.

    And last, the fact that there has been no satisfying Arthurian film in the intervening 25+ years is not a "stain" on the film, but rather a mark of its uniqueness and singular achievement. It must also be noted that there was never a movie previously to its release that attempted to tell the whole
  20. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    Current film versions of the Arthur myth seem determined to suck all the magic out of the story; I don't know why they did this the first time (First Knight), let alone the second (King Arthur).
  21. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    Wasn't there another one that was released just recently...I remember seeing an add for it on TV...I think it was a straight to DVD number...and a "real Arthur" historical drama again.

    I'll see if I can dig up a name.

    "The Last Legion" with Colin Firth...haven't seen it...anyone know anything about it?
  22. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    honestly, with a slight expansion of the run time to allow for breathing room in the post-Lancelot/Guenevere reveal...they could actually keep the Excalibur treatment.

    Perhaps a new script adaptation...and then show us virtue in away that isn't so shimmering and reflective.[face_hypnotized]

    Funny thing, Patrick Stewart could, nearly 30 years later, return to the role of Leondegrance and pull it off just as well. That would be somewhere between freaking sweet and totally hysterical.
  23. JediPrettyBoy Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2005
    star 4
    http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTefVmhaBHEzUBQBujzbkF/SIG=12pmql683/EXP=1201788646/**http%3A//images6.fotki.com/v104/photos/2/218947/1265581/vidcap20-vi.jpg


    SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER

    OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YEAH!

  24. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    Jedimarine, there's so much that could be done with Excalibur, in terms of a re-make, to expand it and return it to its far more epic and expansive sources. A trilogy of "Arthur" films would be ideal, IMO:

    1. A prequel, detailing the origins of Merlin, who became a prophet when Vortigern the Usurper tried to sacrifice the young Merlin on the foundation stones of his castle; this film would also go on to describe the brothers' -- Ambrosius' and Uther's -- reigns in greater detail, and the reasons the land was left without a king.

    2. The rise of Arthur, his campaign of battles with the rebel kings (not just the single one as seen in Boorman!), the inclusion of characters like Pellinore, Lot of Orkney, et al.; and the famous, legendary 12 Battles against the Saxons, which culminate in the Battle of Badon Hill (the tail end of which we see in Boorman) and the forming of the Round Table.

    3. The fall of Arthur, from the glorious beginning of the RT -- introducing missing characters such as Torre, Tristan, Bagdemagus, Lamorak, Gareth, et al. -- and going into greater detail about the extended relationship between Lancelot and Guenevere, Lancelot and Elaine of Corbenic (mother of Lance's son Galahad), the Grail Quest whoich unravelled the Table, and the usurpation of Mordred when Arthur went to besiege Lancelot in France. Gawain is also given a much greater role, and the climax is far more moving when we see the consequences the endless cycle of revenge has upon its perpetrators, ie Gawain and the Orkney clan vs. Lamorak and the Pellinore clan. Lancelot and Guenevere, of course, live out their lives together as holy persons, long after the deaths of Arthur and the Knights of the RT....

    As far as I'm concerned they could adhere to the exact style of Boorman's film (though don't worry, the "shimmering" would be relegated to the Camelot segment once more). The filmmakers could do homage to Excalibur stylistcally while making it better all around in terms of the budget and scope.

  25. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Howzabout The Last Unicorn?
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