Okay, The Lord of the Rings was a pretty decent flick. But watching it, I felt as though I'd seen it all before. Oh wait, I have. Many films stole liberally from the works of Tolkien. Hell, almost any movie that involves a sword, a quest, and a monster is basically a bastard version of LOTR. Here are a few DVD titles to illustrate my well-formed point.
Krull (1983, Dir. Peter Yates)--How many early '80s sword and sorcery tales were there, anyway? Fifteen, sixteen hundred? I lost count after Dragonslayer. Krull stands apart from the crowd, though. It has the depth and breadth of Star Wars (maybe more), solid direction from Peter Yates (Bullitt, Breaking Away), and inspirational art direction that mixes the familiar with the downright cuckoo. However, it all breaks down in pacing and story. I still really can't tell you what it was all about, and why that princess was stuck in the eye of the dragon-devil creature. But it sure is pretty to look at. The special edition features "Journey to Krull," a behind the scenes expose of how hard it was to get humpy starlet Ken Marshall into those tight tights.
Willow (1988, Dir. Ron Howard)--Who likes a good ol' Ron Howard movie? I know, honey... nobody does. His stumbles (The Grinch, Edtv) far outway any triumphs (Apollo 13, Splash). Willow is right smack dab in the middle, neither grand, nor entirely dull, but watchable nonetheless. I probably would have called it... The Quest, the Midget, and the Hack, since we all know Val Kilmer couldn't act his way out of a clown convention. This special edition offers the charming insight of Warwick Davis, the vertically challenged star who has graced the screen in other roles such as the murderous Leprechaun in Leprechaun and the good-hearted Ewok.
These other films also pretty much fit the bill, and can be very handy when defending my argument in your nerdy internet chatroom: Neverending Story, the Conan movies, The Beastmaster, Deathstalker, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and many many more. M. LON FREE