Throwback Thursday Review: “Krull” (1983)



Title: Krull [Blu-ray]
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Posted September 7, 2017 by

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I have a shameful confession to make. Before today, I had never seen Krull. For someone who grew up obsessed with all things fantasy and sci-fi, it hurts to admit that I never watched one of the more widely celebrated films to blend  those genres, and one from the decade I grew up in. I think it had something to do with my mom not liking the cover art on the VHS, but whatever the case today was my first viewing of the 80s cult classic.

Krull has a lot of awesomeness in it, but it also has some glaring flaws that keep from being a true sci-fi/fantasy masterpiece. My first issue with the movie is that, 15 minutes in you can already see that Krull is heavily (and I mean HEAVILY) influenced by Star Wars: A New Hope. From the opening shot of the monstrous Black Fortress flying through space (which looks almost identical to George Lucas’ classic shot of the Star Destroyer in A New Hope), to the movie’s story being about a princess (Lysette Anthony) being abducted by a powerful villain and needing rescue from an assembled group of unlikely heroes, it is impossible to ignore the strong similarities. Be that as it may, Krull is still a really fun adventure!

Princess Lyssa (Anthony) is set to be married to Colwyn (Ken Marshall). Although Colwyn is the son of her father’s enemy, Lyssa not only is in love but also desperate to seal an alliance that will help the planet of Krull fend off the dreaded Beast and his army of Slayers (who… you guessed it… are a lot like Storm Troopers, and shoot about as accurately). Unfortunately, the Beast finds out about the wedding, and sends his army to break up the nuptials and kidnap the princess.

Colwyn survives the attack, but his army is destroyed along with both his father and the father of Lyssa. Determined to find the Beast’s Black Fortress and rescue his true love, Colwyn sets off with a wise old man (Freddie Jones), a cyclops (Bernard Bresslaw), and a group of bandits (which includes both Alun Armstrong and a young Liam Neeson). But, Colwyn needs one last thing, before heading off towards the battle with the Beast… He needs the Glaive!

The Glaive is a badass weapon that basically looks like a giant throwing-star. Armed with it, Colwyn might stand a chance against his powerful foe. So he scales a mountain, removes the Glaive from some glowing goop, and the fellowship of the Glaive set off, and encounter many strange, fantastical, and deadly things on their way.

Like I said before, Krull has some really high points. Besides the great effects and the incredible score by James Horner, there are multiple scenes that rank among the best of 80s, fantasy/adventure moments. There are really cool set pieces, a giant spider, and some breathtaking cinematography for the time.

So what keeps Krull from being a masterpiece, in my opinion? Well there are the aforementioned, glaring similarities to another monumetal sci-fi film, but that isn’t the only issue I had. There is seemingly no editing to this film… Like at all! I get the feeling they just loved everything they had on film so much that they just said “Screw cutting anything!”. Even the coolest scenes (battles with the Slayers, Ynyr escaping the giant spider, the final showdown with the Beast) seem to drag on too long. Multiple times, I went from being really excited to just sitting back and waiting for a scene to end. If they had cut it down from its 120 minute run time to say 100 minute, I think it would’ve made a huge difference, and maybe resulted in a tighter-paced film.

Even with those complaints, I still really like Krull. It fits in nicely, with films from my childhood, like “The Neverending Story” and “Willow”. I am glad I finally got around to watching it, and will be adding it to my Blu-ray collection soon.




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