Archive for April, 2012

Ridley Scott’s lavish 1985 fantasy Legend had a taxing and interesting history, script revisions, the studio burned down, the film had to be reedited and Jerry Goldsmith’s score was removed from the US version and replaced by Tangerine Dream followed by a Brain Ferry track over the closing credits to name a few.
Despite there being a 140-minute rough cut, which was then cut down to a 125-minute work print, Ridley never intended an audience to see these versions. The 113-minute version is the Director’s Cut (which has now been released on Blu-Ray) and is as close to complete as Ridley Scott intended it to be. Legend is no Blade Runner, Alien or even Gladiator and still remains a flawed film yet there is something magical about Legend even if it doesn’t literally live up to its title…
After a unicorn is killed darkness falls across the land and a forest boy named Jack must save the world and his love before last ray of sunlight disappears forever.
1985’s Legend is simple fantasy tale of good versus evil that unusually leaves room for interpretation. Debatably it lacks any likable characters which is possibly the reason why Labyrinth (1986) and The Princess Bride (1987) fair better in comparison. Tom Cruise, Mia Sara and co are surprisingly subdued and William Hjortsberg’s screenplay is missing the required attention-grabbing dialogue and a sense of journey and adventure. That said, what legend does have is atmosphere, and abundance of it. Many of the visuals in Legend are far superior to the aforementioned and there is no doubt this is due to Ridley Scott’s handling of the production.
Tim Curry’s brief performance and make up design as Darkness is fantastic, as to is the makeup as a whole. A notable cast also include Billy Barty (Masters of the Universe) and Kiran Shah (The Chronicles of Narnia). Alice Playten’s Blix is sorely underused, Annabelle Lanyon is the peculiar fairy Oona and David Bennent is excellent as the eerie elf-like Gump.
The sets are wonderfully constructed this coupled with lighting create a enchanting environment. The Meg Mucklebones is segment is truly creepy reminiscent of the witches featuring in Clash of the Titans (1981). Jerry Goldsmith’s score (reintroduced in the director’s cut) gives the film a timeless feel and underpins the mystical element.
Ultimately despite being magnificently crafted it’s a fantasy that is too straightforward and underdeveloped for adults and too scary for children.
Given that Tintin is over 80 years old he’s kept his boyish looks. I was introduced to the Tintin books in my youth after borrowing a friends hardback comic strip book, I also watched the cartoon series. While my friend collected the series reprints my focus was on Asterix the Gaul bashing Romans, looking back Tintin’s sophisticated satire and political/cultural commentary went over my head and I was more into comic book super heroes. Nevertheless, I was excited to hear that Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg were bringing Tintin to life. Here are a few thoughts on the latest incarnation…
Courageous reporter Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for three scrolls hidden within a model ships while fending off the villainous Sakharine.
There’s something delightfully wonderful about the visual experience that Steven Spielberg’s Tintin offers yet it is still a stilted adventure.
Based on Hergé’s comic book series Tintin is a celebrated European character (much like Asterix the Gaul which would be amazing if produced in the same medium). John Williams gives a solid yet Indiana
Jones sounding score. The characters are wonderfully faithful and the detailed CGI cast really capture their spirit successfully. There is an array of famous actors Jamie Bell(Tintin), Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig to name a few and their voices and movement really bring the
characters to life.
It’s an immense first outing for Tintin, although like Spielberg’s use of the motion capture technology, it feels like it’s trying to find its feet. You can’t but help feel that the first instalment may have fared better
under Jackson’s direction (given his experience with the technology) overlooked by Steven’s watchful eye. Then have Spielberg direct the next one. However, it wasn’t meant to be. With all the focus on the action
there is little mystery that Tintin is renowned for and while the action is wonderful along with the slapstick comedy there’s something missing that writers Moffat, Wright and Cornish exclude and that is a
true sense of mystery.
Although it has some awe-inspiring set ups it is just not as fun or as intriguing as you’d possibly expect given Hergé’s source material.