Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Flashbacks: Willow

Recently, I spent the evening with friends and we somehow decided to watch Willow.  That's right--the 1988 film directed by Ron Howard about a hobbit-like farmer named Willow who saves the baby Elora--and the kingdom--from the evil Queen Bavmorda.  It was a blast from the past; many of us remembered the movie from when it first came out, but had forgotten many of the details.  We were pleasantly surprised at how much we still enjoyed the film, even after more than 20 years have gone by.

Here are some of our favorite parts:

  • Val Kilmer as Madmartigan.  He was hilarious.  That's probably reason enough to watch the movie in and of itself.
  • The world of Willow is well-developed, with complex racial dynamics and suggested backstories.  Not every story is told, but the layers make the movie a lot richer than we expected for something not part of a multi-work series.
  • It's swords-and-sorcery, but it's not completely predictable.  Sure, the romantic hookup you can see coming about a mile away, and you know from the title that Willow is going to be the hero, but there are several false starts and twists and turns that disrupt the simple quest journey.
  • Finally, I loved baby Elora Danan.  She was actually part of the movie, not just a bundle of cloth that got carried around.  We saw her face, which was really expressive, and this filming choice made it clear how important she was to what was going on around her.  
Have you seen Willow recently?  Did you love it when you first saw it in the 80s?  Let us know your favorite parts!

By Jen Miller