Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry
"May be innocent, may be sweet, ain't half as nice as rotting meat"
Poor brave Legend, it's become a bit of a forgotten gem over the years. I guess in a way, it has reached some sort of MILD cult status, on a smaller level.....amongst fantasy film fans anyway. Anyone from the 80's will most likely remember it, and anyone into fantasy films will most likely LOVE it. Or so they should.
It was one of those movies i grew up watching, along with, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Red Sonja, ect. The 80's were FULL of fantasy adventures, and Legend always stood out among the rest for me because it had much slicker production behind it than the others did. Don't get me wrong, the other films i mentioned were great, especially Labyrinth, but Legend was so much darker and more adult.
The story follows 2 young lovers named Jack [Tom Cruise] and Lilly [Mia Sara]. Jack is like some sort of Tarzan-esque forest boy [with great legs], and Lilly is the local Princess. Lilly doesn't enjoy the servant filled life of a Princess, so she spends her days frolicking around the forest making friends with animals and villagers. It's all very sweet and cheerful.
One day, Jack takes Lilly to see the ancient Unicorns [he's trying to impress her you see]. The Unicorns are very sacred animals, you aren't allowed to go near them or touch them. Lilly, being the pain in the ass she is, chooses to ignore these rules, and makes her way towards one of the Unicorns, to Jack's horror!
Eventually word gets out about these Unicorns and the Princess, and the evil LORD OF DARKNESS sends out his minions to fetch them, so he can use the HORN on top of the horses head to blanket the world in complete darkness FOREVERRRRR!!!!
Jack sets off to find Lilly after her and the Unicorn's are captured, meeting a whole flurry of friends along the way, including one freaky pointy eared dwarf thingie with a chipmunk voice and scary eyes.
The plot is basic and straight forward. It's you're standard boy meets girl, girl gets kidnapped, boy goes to rescue her adventure story we've seen 100 times. What makes Legend special is the characters we meet in this movie, the BEAUTIFUL production design and the music. Let's start with the cast....
The co-stars are the biggest highlight of this movie! forget Tom Cruise, the role asks him to do nothing but jump a lot and look perplexed by everything. Characters you gotta watch out for are Gump, the freaky eyed dwarf thingie that i mentioned earlier. Oona, the Pixie who falls in love with Jack. Blix, the evil troll henchman [or women, i can't tell], who speaks in riddles......and last, but not least, Tim Curry as The Lord of Darkness! Now THAT is some serious awesome shit right there! The make up on Tim in this film is STILL superb. He looks like SATAN personified with his massive black horns, hooved feet and red skin. Tim completely gets lost in the character and you can't take your eyes off him, it's a fantastic role. The entire movie is built around his FINAL reveal, we only see glimpses of him through most of the film until the end where he's shown in all his GIANT glory.
My favourite scene out of the entire movie is when he first shows up and turns virginal Princess Lilly into a Goth Queen from Hell. They play a game of cat and mouse over a "dinner date" that turns ugly once Lilly refuses his hand in marriage. It's an EPIC meeting!
The cinematography is stunning, especially during the Unicorn slaughter scene, but it's the MUSIC in Legend that elevates it even more! For the longest time i thought there was only ONE version of Legend, but later i found out, there were in fact 2. There's the international version which is the one i am familiar with, and it was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, which is BEAUTIFULLY scored. The other is the AMERICAN version of the film, which sadly features music by Tangerine Dream, BIG FUCKING MISTAKE! I had the opportunity to see that version only recently, and i tell you what, the movie lost SO MUCH atmosphere and ambiance with that shitty score, i couldn't believe it. No wonder the movie wasn't well received on it's release!!!!! Legend is the PERFECT example of how much sound and music can enrich something we are watching. If you ever get the chance to see it, ONLY watch the international cut of the film, you have NO idea how much better it is. It's like a completely different movie!
Ridley Scott doesn't talk about the movie much now days. Not because he doesn't like it, but i guess because it was a much more low key film compared to the previous movies he made back then. Tom Cruise never includes it on his resume, or so i read. Maybe he doesn't like it, i dunno. Either way, it's a great movie which i think he should really get behind when he talks about his previous films. Since it wasn't a career defining moment for him, i guess he doesn't find it all that important to remember. That's too bad.
For me, it will always represent a part of my child hood, and one of the best fantasy epics i've ever seen. It's simple, but well acted and BEAUTIFULLY filmed.