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vertov
Jun 14, 2003

hello

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry

Legend is the last of Ridley Scottís truly exotic films from the late seventies and early eighties, before he decided to move on to more commercial fare. It is set in a sylvan fantasy world, where good and darkness hang in a delicate balance. Tom Cruise plays Jack, a wild boy of the woods, and Mia Sara plays Lily, his love interest and a princess. When Lily disturbs the last pair of unicorns, the Lord of Darkness (played to incredible effect by Tim Curry) seizes his chance to gain the upper hand on the forces of good. He orders his group of goblins to kidnap the unicorn so he can use the magic of its horn. Lily follows them back to Darknessís lair, compelled by her guilt, but finds herself in over her head. When Darkness discovers her, he tries to bring her to the side of darkness by tempting her with precious gifts and power, as his final triumph over innocence.

Legend is a case of art direction run amok in an otherwise mundane film. The sets, costumes and creature effects (by Rob Bottin) are all stunning, but ultimately distract from the story, and drown out the actors (most noticeably Cruise, whoís performance is lost in the orgy of eye-candy). Bubbles and flower petals fill the frame, overwhelming the audience with its fairy tale stylization.

Scottís direction lacks the intelligence of his earlier films, and he allows for a lot of the plot and characters to go undeveloped, instead giving primary focus to the impressive visuals. Legend looks like a cinematic opera, more so than almost any other film, with theatrical staging and performances that reach brilliant crescendos of energy and fantasy, but it isnít enough to save the film from the weak story. One of the biggest flaws of the film is the Scott fails to develop the setting into a believable world like he did with Alien and Blade Runner. Nothing outside of the forest or dark lair is ever shown, and the existence of an outside world isnít even hinted at. The directorís cut, available on the DVD, features an incredible score by Jerry Goldsmith, which feeds the operatic production of the film.

While the primary actors (both relatively young and inexperienced actors) fail to deliver compelling performances, the supporting cast provides a lot of the films liveliness and momentum. Tim Curry IS the Lord of Darkness, and manages to act through the heavy make up, and impressive feat. He is as charming and repellent as most people would imagine the devil to be, and his make-up is an effective mixture of elegance as it is horror. Alice Peyten as Blix, the leader of the goblins, delivers an ideal fairy tale characterization, speaking in rhyme and poetry.

Legend works best in short, individual scenes, but the final product is less than the sum of its parts. The narrative is a weak as the visuals are extraordinary, which results in a bells and whistles type of film, leaving the audience feeling empty despite all of the sugary imagery.

vertov fucked around with this message at 01:42 on May 3, 2004

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vertov
Jun 14, 2003

hello

quote:

Wendell came out of the closet to say:
I hate Legend. I feel pretty stupid for buying the Ultimate Edition DVD.

It is a pretty good package despite the film's shortcomings. Scott is one of the few directors who gives interesting commentaries, and there is a lot of interesting information on his track for this film.

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