An often overlooked 80s classic is getting a slick HD makeover on the occasion of its 25th birthday: the George Lucas-produced and Ron Howard-directed fantasy film Willow comes to Blu-Ray on March 13. First released in 1988, Willow follows the adventures of a farmer (Warwick Davis of Harry Potter and Leprechaun fame in the title role) from a humble village of little people who finds himself pursued by entire armies as he protects a magical baby from a tyrannical witch. There's a roguish swordsman, a rebellious princess, even an evil knight who dresses in black armor. Basically, it's Star Wars meets the book of Exodus meets (duh) Lord of the Rings. Which is fine, especially since it was at the time the closest we thought we might ever get to anything remotely Tolkien-esque on the big screen*.
Of course, 13 years after Willow's release we actually got that live-action LOTR, which is probably why the new trailer for the Willow Blu-ray really, really, no really, seriously wants you to think The Hobbit while you watch. In fact, the tagline 'from smallest beginnings...' shamelessly apes The Hobbit's “from small beginnings” to the point that you wonder if the original title was 'Age Of Hobbits'. Here's a look:
Despite a rather underwhelming ending and TV movie-level direction (sorry, Ron, but it's true), Willow was a wonderful bit of cheesy 1980s fantasy at least worthy of a double feature with Krull. True, Willow lacks a “hey, wait, he's in this??!” appearance by Liam Neeson, but it does have a pre-fat Elvis period Val Kilmer, Davis in one of his rare chances to act without first being covered under piles of latex and makeup, and plenty of magic and swordfighting in finest late-80s green screen style.
If the trailer is anything to go on, the Blu-Ray version is going to look kind of great. So, OK LucasFilm, if blatantly trying to fool people into making a Peter Jackson-Lucas connection helps sell copies, I'm in. Just don't release Howard the Duck as the spiritual predecessor to Meet the Feebles, okay?
*Excalibur doesn't count and you know it.
Ross Lincoln is a LA-based freelance writer from Oklahoma with an unhealthy obsession with comics, movies, video games, ancient history, Gore Vidal, and wine.
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