Legend of Darkness
USA / UK 1985
Arnon Milchan, Sid Sheinberg (executive) for Embassy International
directed by Ridley Scott
starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo, Tina Martin, Ian Longmur, Michael Crane, Liz Gilbert, Eddie Powell, Mike Edmonds
written by William Hjortsberg, music by Tangerine Dream, special makeup effects by Rob Bottin
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Jack (Tom Cruise) and Lily (Mia Sara), denizens of some fantasy world
full of light, are as innocent as they come, so when Jack takes Lily to
see the last two unicorns, it should be nothing but a romantic gesture -
but she goes ahead and touches them, which gives evil Lord Darkness (Tim
Curry) access to them, and he has one of them killed and the other
abducted, which engulfs the realm of light in darkness. Now Lily knows she
has made a mistake, so she follows the trail into the lion's den eyes wide
open, to if necessary perish to save her realm from eternal darkness.
Meanwhile, Jack teams up with the mysterious Gump (David Bennent), his
gnome-sidekicks Screwball (Billy Barty) and Brown Tom (Cork Hubbert), and
the sometimes mysterious pixie Oona (Annabelle Lanyon) to save Lily, the
last unicorn, and the realm in one sweep. But of course, their path to
Darkness's lair is perilious, and once there they have to realize that the
only way to defeat Darkness is with light - as in the light of the sun -
but as Darkness's palace is deep underground, chances to light the place
up are limited ...
While director Ridley Scott's previous two films Alien
and Blade Runner to a degree re-invented the science fiction genre,
one can't exactly accuse Legend of originality - actually, when
looking on fantasy movies from the 1970s and early 80s, this movie almost
feels a bit generic, a very simplistic fairy tale story of good-vs-evil
inhabited by the typical assortment of demons, gnomes and goblins, fairies
and of course unicorns. But the film's very rich imagery and fluid
cinematic language pretty much make it a perfect throwback to the era, and
for Rob Bottin's awesomely detailed special effects makeup alone, the
film's almost worth a watch. And while Tom Cruise and Mia Sara's
performances are pretty much as bland as their characters, David Bennent's
is suitably intense, and Tim Curry eats the screen up, as his role
demands. All of this doesn't make the film a masterpiece, but entertaining
and very well-crafted genre fare at least.