Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hit or myth?

In the aftermath of Star Wars, back in the late seventies, there was a slew of sword and sorcery films such as Hawk the Slayer, Lord of the Rings - the original animated version, Dragonslayer, and, according to a friend of mine who says it's the best film ever - Krull! A bit later, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a couple of outings as Conan, and George Lucas had an attempt with Willow.
There are a lot of fine fantasy novels, but we had to wait for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, before we had a truly epic fantasy film. It wasn't the special effects that were the problem - they were good for the era - the actual plots were all a bit weak.
(Warning - plot spoilers ahead)
In Dragonslayer, Ralph Richardson plays a wizard who dies in the first act, returns to life in the final act only to do a suicide bombing on the dragon. In Willow, it is prophesied that the baby will bring about the destruction of the villianess, in fact it's Willow that does it. The baby is irrelevant. In fantasy fiction, prophesies should be iron-clad. They may not unfold as the characters expect, but the prophecy must be fulfilled to the letter. George Lucas has redeemed himself by incorporating the best example of a fictional prophecy - Anakin Skywalker bringing balance to the Force - in the Star Wars epic.
Which of these films is your favourite? My vote goes to Dragonslayer.

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