Here again, Ridley Scott gives us a beautifully crafted and shot masterpiece. Legend is a cinematic landmark, in it's fabulous sets, it's beautiful realism yet at the same time fantastical portrayal of a once perfect world. It can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. It is light, but dark, lovely but terrifying. It's too bad, really that this is a film that next to no one knows about,or has even heard of, other than by fantasy and Ridley Scott fans such as myself. I will begin by addressing the story of the movie.
The premise is basic, yet complex. Darkness (Tim Curry), needs an eternal night so that he can live in full power, dominating the world. What is hindering him,is the presence of the unicorns, the sacred beasts, that the very essence of good in the world depends upon. Darkness devises a plan to lure one of the beasts through princess Lily, an innocent princess in love with a mystical woodsman called Jack (Tom Cruise). Jack takes Lily to see the unicorns one day, thinking no harm will come of it, yet darkness' lead goblin, Blix, is following behind and tracking them. Lily violates the ultimate rule, She, as a mortal, touches a unicorn, disrupting th very fabric that their world hinges upon, plunging the world into winter. To add insult to injury, the Goblins find the unicorn that she touched, and chop off her horn, where her power lies. The unicorn freezes in the snow and dies after this, while Blix returns with his scheming goblins, enjoying the new found power of the horn, coveting it for himself. darkness intercepts them during the night and takes the horn. Mia and Jack have been separated from each other in the dark and cold. Jack, while in the forest, meets a group of magical creatures, their leader, Gump, who appears like a child, but is incredibly powerful. He informs Jack of what he has done, and this sets off the quest to make things right.
Before I address the qualitative aspects of the film, I wish to say that this film is as blatantly biblically allegorical as the Choronicles of Narnia. But i will leave the viewer to the tie those knots.
As always, with Ridley Scott, the film is wonderfully shot, and, gleefully pleasing to fans like me, all of his trademarks are there, including his infamous fluff floating in the air! The visual style of the film is striking, and sometime you are paying so much attention to it, that for a few seconds, you forget about the story. The sets are beautiful, and sometimes Gothic, and frightening(especially inside the giant tree where Darkness dwells). You watch the film and end up wishing to live in the magical world (while it is not in peril, at least). The acting, is nothing special, but the job is done, with all of the actors putting forward a convincing performance. Tom Cruise,however,is surprisingly good in this movie! Mia Sara serves here role as Princess Lily, although I used to think of it as a sub par performance, it gets better with more viewings, she was only 15 when she landed the role too, which she had to be very gutsy and talented to pull off. Did I say the acting is nothing special? Well, That was a blatant falsehood when it comes to Tim Curry as Darkness! He is frightening, dark,and one of the best villains I have ever seen. He is an allegorical portrayal of Satan, and a fabulous one at that.
Jerry Goldsmith's score (of the fabulous director's cut), is as always, fantastic, this is possibly his best score to date, Rest In Peace Jerry, we will miss you.
I need to say that if you are planning to view the film, watch the Director's cut, and avoid the US theatrical edition . Also, you have to enter the film, with an open mind, as it is a Fairy Tale. Enjoy the film for what it is, this is why it is so under rated, I suspect. The cliché fairy tale rhyming and lines are part of the genre and should be accepted, not condemned.
This is a fabulous film. I wish this forgotten masterpiece could garner a second chance, because it certainly deserves it.