As much as I think Fellowship of the Rings is a fantastic movie* and as much as I am looking forward to a decent adaption of my favorite Tolkien book (The Hobbit) I kind of miss 80’s Fantasy films.
Much like the Spaghetti Western I think they have a unique style and charm all of their own. Of course I suspect part of this is due to growing up in the aforementioned decade but even as a man in his (mid) Thirties** I still have a soft spot for those low budget classics.
And yes, I do think they are classics in fact I want to use this weeks blog to draw your attention to some of the finer examples out there.
Krull is the perfect example of an 80’s fantasy flick. High concept, low budget, full of cheesy dialog and cool weapons. The basic plot is that a prince is due to marry a princess to unite two kingdoms then aliens show up and try to take over the world. They literally do not make films like this any more. Along the way he meets a cyclops, a crappy magician and Liam Nesson. Given a bigger budget this could have been one of the best films ever made, as it is though it’s still great.
Highlight of the movie: The Glave, The Prince’s very awesome weapon that is very good as dispelling bad guys.
The Princess Bride: (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093779/)
Columbo reads a story to Fred Savage, but contained in this story is Andre The Giant, Billy Crystal and Nigel Tuffnell. If that is not enough to make you watch it then there is no hope. Seriously though this film is chock full with a great cast and has a simple yet brilliantly told plot. It never takes itself seriously but at the same time does not fall into parody.
In the UK every Christmas all the theaters put on Pantomimes. If you have ever been to one then that is the best way to describe this film, a bunch of actors having fun with a not so serious plot.
Highlight of the movie: To many to mention, it’s just full of quotable lines and clever scenes. My personal favorite though is the sword fight between The Dread Pirate Roberts and Inigo Montoya, each time they try to one-up the other is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
The Sword and the Sorcerer: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084749/
This film has a three bladed sword in it. Still not convinced? In one scene the hero has a sword fight with a shoulder of lamb. Still not convinced? It’s one of the few films where a hero finds out he is a prince and does not reclaim the kingdom.
More than any other film in this list I want you to watch this one. But do so with a bunch of friends, some beer and pizza. I promise you that you will not be disappointed.
Highlight of the movie: Our hero pulling himself off a cross egged on by his men while the Villain holds a banquet below him. This is quite possibly one of the best scenes in any movie, ever.
Jim Henson made two non muppett movies, this and The Dark Crystal. Both are great but this one, for me is the more entertaining. David Bowie as the Goblin King owns pretty much every scene he is in, and Jennifer Connelly was the stuff of many a teenage boy’s dreams*** A wonderful fairy tale told with charm and wit. Also A Fox rides a Dog into battle and some dudes take their heads off.
Fun Fact: Dr Beverly Crusher, of Star Trek fame did the choreography for the dance scenes in this movie.
Highlight of the movie: David Bowie, seriously he is. But if i had to pic one scene it would be the “Magic Dance” sequence. “You remind me of the babe….“
Conan The Barbarian: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082198/
This is the film that started it all. A damn fine adaptation of Robert E Howards first couple of Conan books. Arnold gives a pretty good performance here as Conan and James Earl Jones is great as the Villan Thulsa Doom. An epic movie that I think has aged very well.
Highlight of the movie: Again there are tons of great scenes but the sequence where a young Conan is put with the slaves on the wheel does a great job of showing the passage of time and that shot of the now adult Conan pushing the wheel on his own is iconic. My other personal favorite is the fireside chat about gods and which one is better, this always brings a smile to my face.
So there you have it, just a few gems from the past. A lot more can be found in this thread (http://www.chud.com/community/forum/thread/99457/80s-fantasy) on the message boards so if you still crave more then jump right in.
Until next time……
*I’m not so hot on the other two.
**Dammit I’m 35 this year what the hell happened?
*** Well mine anyway