When I got it in my head to these Live-action Fairy tale-like movies, I ended using IMDB lists to get movie ideas. Many movies I had never heard or knew anything about and Legend, a film by Ridley Scott and released in 1985, was one movie that I had never even remotely heard of before. So prior to watching it I just read a quick little summery on google and based solely of the first three words I knew this movie was going to be the greatest and best movie in the history of the human experience. Those words were and I quote “Darkness (Tim Curry.)” I mean how could this movie not be greatest movie ever with that casting? But then I watched the movie…
Mia Sara as Lili with the Unicorn
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie in parts. The plot is a Princess named Lili and a forest dude named Jack sees some unicorns which are scared animals that keep the darkness away, Darkness is also literally the fricken Devil. Also Unicorns in this world make Humpback Whale noise, how confusingly awesome is that? As Jack and Lili are viewing the Unicorn, Darkness‘ minion are trying to kill the unicorns. Lili pulls a taboo and touches one of the unicorn which gives the minion the opportunity to get the male unicorn‘s horn which freezes the world except for Jack and Lili and fairy type Children of the Forest like people (pardon the Game of Throne reference there) the main one is named Gump.
Anyway, Lili* and the female unicorn get captured by Darkness so Jack and the good fairy type people have to save her and unicorn. Most of it solving riddles and going into dungeons. Darkness also falls in love with with Lili and her tries really hard to woo her and even gives her a sexy black gown, her scene when she dancing with the gown is great. Lili then tricks Darkness to let her kill the unicorn but she frees it instead and then they all save the day and the unicorn comes back to life, hooray Jack and Lili smooch.
(*I have seen her name spelt Lily but IMDB had it Lili so I will just go it that)
Tim Curry as Darkness
Ok so what is GOOD about this movie? Well for starters, it has a really good look. It’s both cheesy and dark. I have seen people complain about the use of glitter on the set pieces but it adds the style and flair of the movie. There is nothing so great as cheesy dark fantasy from the 1980’s.
Mia Sara as Lili in her evil gown
Second, the parts with Darkness and Lili (Mia Sara) are really engaging. They are the most interesting parts of the movie as they just play off each well as they have way better chemistry than Lili has with her lame love interest. But also I really have a soft spot for romances between demonic-type dudes and innocence maidens, like Hades and Persephone. But I think most people would agree that those scene are great if for no other reason than Tim Curry.
Mia Sara as Lili and Tom Cruise as Jack
I also I like Lili as a character. She is both naive, romantic, impulsive but she tries to fix her mistakes and does own up to them and she does stand up for herself. I also like that she didn’t scream when she saw Darkness but gasped. It was a nice touch. Also her being a seductive femme fatal to save the unicorn and persevere innocence was a nice reversal.
Tom Cruise as Jack with David Bennent as Gump
What really drags the movie down, down are the adventure parts. They are not bad but they are chalked full of Jack scenes. Jack is played by Tom Cruise and let me just say, Cruise sleepwalks through this movie and for a guy playing hero that is just appalling and most of the movie’s run time.
What is good about the adventure scene is that they are very much like the Legend of Zelda. There are rumors that the creator of the Zelda games, Shigeru Miyamoto, used Legend as inspiration and yeah I can see that especially in the riddle solving and Onna, the fairy gave shades of Navi at one point. If only Jack had been more like Link and not a comatose victim.
Mia Sara as Lili and Tom Cruise as Jack
All in all, the darker parts of Legend are really great and imaginative but anytime Jack enters the frame prepare for lots of massive yawns. But I would recommend this movie because “Darkness (Tim Curry!!!!!)