Krull - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Krull Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2017
Before Lord of the Rings this was the closest you got to a fantasy/action epic. Had good SFX for the time of filming '83! Featuring a young Robbie Coltrane and Liam Neeson.
½ May 18, 2017
I don't hate Krull but its not very memorable.
January 23, 2017
Do you know those movies you haven't seen in years and your thinking, This is the greatest thing ever. Then years later, you watch it again and dread it? This is one of those.
January 1, 2017
The planet Krull is invaded by an entity known as the "Beast" and his army of futuristic "Slayers", who travel the galaxy in a mountain-like spaceship called the Black Fortress. In a ceremony involving exchanging a handful of flame between the newlyweds, Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshal) and Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) plan to marry and form an alliance between their rival kingdoms in the hope that their combined forces can defeat the Beast's army. The Slayers attack the wedding before it is completed, killing the two kings, devastating both armies and kidnapping the princess. Prince Colwyn is found and nursed by Ynyr (Freddie Jones), the Old One. Ynyr tells him the Beast can be defeated with the "Glaive", an ancient, magical, five-pointed throwing weapon. Colwyn retrieves the Glaive from a high mountain cave before setting out to track down the Black Fortress, which teleports to a new location every day at sunrise. As they travel, Colwyn and Ynyr are joined by magician Ergo "the Magnificent" (David Battley) and a band of nine thieves, fighters, bandits and brawlers. Colwyn offers to clear their criminal records, successfully enlisting Torquil (Alun Armstrong), Kegan (Liam Neeson), Rhun (Robbie Coltrane), Oswyn (Todd Carty), Bardolph (Dicken Ashworth), Menno (Bill Weston), Darro (Andy Bradford), Nennog (Bronco McLoughlin), and Quain (Gerard Naprous). The cyclops Rell (Bernard Bresslaw) later joins the group. The search for Princess Lyssa and the "Beast" puts Prince Colwyn and his band of fighters in all sorts of difficulties...

Some critics offered praise for the film. Janet Maslin, reviewing Krull for The New York Times, found the film to be "a gentle, pensive sci-fi adventure film that winds up a little too moody and melancholy for the Star Wars set"; she praised director Yates for "giving the film poise and sophistication, as well as a distinctly British air," as well as "bring[ing] understatement and dimension to the material". Baird Searles described Krull as "an unpretentious movie . . . with a lot of good things going for it", noting the film as "very beautiful, in fact, a neglected quality in these days when it seems to have been forgotten that film is a visual medium". The Aurum Film Encyclopedia called Krull "a likeable, if lightweight, mix of sword and sorcery and science fiction" and expressed admiration for the "engaging characters who surround the pallid hero and heroine...and some nicely judged action sequences".

Peter Yates "Krull" from 1983 has this mix of sword & sorcery and science fiction trying to blend Star Wars with Lord of The Rings and as far as I remember seeing it back then I liked it, but re-seeing it today I see a poor mans adventure flick with crappy special effects, bad script, cheesy studio sets, theatrical acting and with a general campiness to it. It was a bit painful to watch it as it hardly is up to scratch today and in my opinion "Krull" isnīt really worthy of a cult status either. When reading that the picture was one of the most expensively produced motion pictures of its time you wonder where the money went in one way, but the production did utilize ten sound stages at Pinewood Studios, including the biggest of them all, the gigantic 007 Stage, which was used for the exteriors of the swamp sequence. And I reckon that do cost money. My only treat in this film was to see the beautiful Francesca Annis as the Widow of the Web. "Krull" is a movie I wonīt come back to re-visit again.
½ October 20, 2016
Incredibly disappointing venture for what seemed to be a fun romp between aliens and medieval knights.
August 25, 2016
a very good and strong fantasy film that merges both Sci-Fi with Medieval aspects of the Hero's Journey!!
August 19, 2016
How do you know when to use your spinny flying blade and flame thrower finger powers? Is it when your friends are being slaughtered by the enemy? No, it's in the last 10 minutes of the film when you want to cut a ridiculous zigzag escape hole into your lover's prison.

Great special effects for the time, and it's like watching the best scenes from a bunch of different fantasy movies in one.

It's 80's Fantasy Salad.
August 15, 2016
This fantasy movie follows a typical adventure storyline but adds some science-fiction elements. There are lots of interesting ideas, good parts, special effects, and there are many entertaining things going on, but nothing ever achieves greatness. The musical score (by James HORNER) is annoyingly similar to the one he created for Star Trek II (one year earlier).
½ July 4, 2016
Come for James Horner's amazing foxhunting/swashbuckling soundtrack, stay for surprise, first-rate actors in initial tertiary roles such as Liam Neeson, Robbie Coletrane, and MTV Video-starlette Lysette Anthony. Overshadowed by Empire Strikes Back this dark adventure tale is on-par with LadyHawk, Legend, Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.
June 17, 2016
awesome 80's movie!!
Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2016
Should be required viewing for film students, otherwise it's probably entirely missable.
½ May 28, 2016
The 50 Foot Turkey in the room.

I saw a lot of films in the 80's on VHS. I can't ever remember seeing Krull. It's more likely that I saw Krull but it left such a dull impression on me that I can't remember ever seeing it. I attempted to watch it the other night and turned it off halfway through. Without your "Nostalgia Goggles" on, this film is a real snooze fest.

We're talking about a film that cost 27 Million here. It wasn't some cheapy sword and sorcery film. Yet. somehow that 27 million never made it on the screen!

THE PLOT- Huh? What plot? Aliens land and attack. take girl, guy goes to save girl and collects a series of people to help him in one boring scene after the next. End.

THE SCORE- James Horner did a decent job here of breathing some life into a film on life support. However, this is no Wrath of Khan or Aliens score. I'm going to excuse Horner because he likely wasn't given much to work with in the film.

VISUAL EFFECTS - For an 80's film, the visual effects stand up ok.

CHOREOGRAPHY - Dreadful. Enemies just kind of mosey onto the scene like they are taking a weekend hike through the woods. They shoot little laser beams while everyone else plays backyard sword fight. THIS HAS by far the most boring fight scenes I have ever seen in a film. It's like they are playing Water Ballet with swords, "Uh, Ok, I need to move this way while you slowly swing a sword at me." Utterly Dull.

THE ACTING - Whoever hired the actor to play Prince Colwyn needs his license to practice casting taken away. Equally goofy and serious, this character goes nowhere. I can't help but think this character would have been better served if they had went the Kurt Russell Big Trouble in Little China route. Arrogant and dumb. Freddie Jones is ok in this film but playing it so straight he just doesn't come off the screen too well. More like drying paint. He works much better when he is allowed to go off the rails in movies like FireFox and Dune. WTF is Liam Neeson doing even being in this film?! I know it was early in his career but compare this to his work in Excalibur. Here he is totally in the background. So small back there that you can barely even see him. What a waste of talent.

I can't help but think this film was used to pad someone's wallet. The 27 Million to make the film is not on the screen. This looks like a film that Roger Corman could bang out for 10 million. Compare this to Excalibur - a much better film- 11 million. The Empire Strikes Back -20 million.

Huh? Where did the 27 million go? Up someone's nose?
April 22, 2016
So much good so much bad.
March 13, 2016
If you watch it on Psychedelics it's three stars.
½ February 18, 2016
Absolute cunt of a film, shit special effects, boring characters, full of scenes blatantly ripped off from other much better movies. This film has its dick and its pussy all covered in shit.
Super Reviewer
½ February 5, 2016
Coming off the back of the massive [b]massive[/b] [i]Star Wars[/i] hype train was this transatlantic cult, a blend of classic fairytale fantasy and good old fashioned science fiction (kinda unique at the time). I remember seeing this on the telly back in the day (must have been late 80's I guess) and being quite scared by it, I never really saw all of it, just the dark imagery of the Beast and his eerie Ringwraith-esque minions. I even remember seeing the VHS in the old videoshops back in the early days, up on the top shelve with other grown-up looking covers (for the time obviously). Yes even the cover gave me the willies too, but can you blame me, its pretty grotesque and vivid really (and a spoiler).

Anyway the plot is pretty much your standard, Prince saves the Princess from an evil monster type situation, along with wizards, jesters, warriors and young apprentices, completely cliched hokum. The planet Krull is attacked by an evil force know as the Beast, a huge hideous creature that dwells within a giant fortress made of rock that apparently can fly through space. In time the Beast manages to gain control of the planet forcing its inhabitants to live in fear, everyone knows of the creature and its legion of faceless Slayers. Eventually the Beast's Slayers attack one of the main kingdoms of Krull, kill pretty much everyone and kidnaps the Princess in true fairytale style (might as well call him Bowser/King Koopa). Unfortunately for the Beast, the lone Prince Colwyn survives this attack and sets off to save the Princess (his future bride) with the help of a plucky band of warriors.

Now lets get one thing straight here, suspension of disbelief is required throughout this adventure, yes we all know its a hokey 80's fantasy so...duh! But seriously, this ain't no classic George Lucas or Ridley Scott flick here, this is pure cheesy cheese with extra lashings of cheese on top...with cheese. The whole idea of this movie is from the outset, kinda daft, but interesting nonetheless. The planet of Krull is a typical sword n sandals type place where everyone goes around on horseback, uses swords, armour and all manner of ancient weaponry, and there is magic and mythical creatures abound. The alien race that comes down to Krull are your typical armour suited creatures with laser guns and...errr, they also ride on horseback? Actually it makes you wonder really, apparently these aliens have swept across the galaxy conquering worlds easily (apparently), but how? They use horses, they don't seem to have any futuristic vehicles to travel around in, no heavy weaponry, they all walk really really slowly making themselves easy targets, their fortress is a flying lump of rock and their only weapons seems to be sticks that fire one laser bolt. Once that shot has been fired they reverse the stick and it becomes a sword or spear of sorts. How the fuck did this guys manage to conquer anything??! Surely they might have come across an alien race that could match their powers at some point. Luckily for the Beast and his Slayers they've stumbled across another planet full of lifeforms that only use swords to defend themselves.

As the adventure starts the hilarious plot holes do start emerge, and they are hilarious...but still cool. Colwyn (Ken Marshall) meets up with Ynyr the old one, an old Obi-Wan Kenobi type clearly. Now this guys knows everything, absolutely everything about anything, handy at the best of times. He knows exactly what can defeat the Beast (the Glaive) and where to find it which makes you wonder why he hasn't gone and got it for someone to use. Nonetheless they both trot off to get this legendary weapon which happens to be inside a massive mountain. So Ynyr points Colwyn in the right direction and waits patiently for his return. This whole sequence is really amusing, simply because the journey that Colwyn undertakes to retrieve the Glaive is arduous and long, really long! The guy must rock climb up sheer cliffs for flips sake! numerous times it seems, then he must stick his hand into molten lava (so it seems) to get the Glaive (which he finds quite easily and very quickly once inside a huge cavern). Now all this would surely take most of the day, if not days! yet he manages it within the afternoon and without getting even remotely tired apparently, because the minute he gets back they journey onwards to their next destination! I understand they need to get the plot going but Holy smouldering balls of fire! that's ridiculous!

The bulk of the story sees Colwyn firstly recruiting his band of warriors across various places. He picks up a small band of criminals that look like ugly rejects from the [i]Mad Max[/i] universe, with even more stupid names. Its like watching Robin Hood and his unwashed band of merry men, each having their own set of skills naturally, knives, nets, battle axe etc...These cannon fodder characters are mostly faceless accept for the noticeable inclusion of a young Robbie Coltrane sporting an unusually modern haircut for a fantasy film. A young Liam '60+ action man' Neeson who should have easily played the character of Little John looking as he does, very young [i]Grange Hill[/i] and [i]Eastenders[/i] star Todd Carty, and sort of young epic British character actor Alun Armstrong (with hair and dodgy dog collar). Other team members include the [i]Carry-On[/i] legend Bernard Bresslaw sporting some quite brilliant makeup and prosthetics as Rell the Cyclops, David Battley as the clownish Ergo the (not quite so) magnificent, John Welsh as The Emerald Seer...another powerful wizard type, and Graham McGrath as the young apprentice Titch who does nothing accept get in trouble.

As the band of heroes travel to various places to gather various bits of information from various people so they can catch the Black Fortress (it moves at sunrise), we go through a series of set pieces and plot exposition scenarios in different hostile/pleasant landscapes. The main one is a nice, visually pleasing, battle within a barren swampland where it amazes me how these Slayers manage to overcome any adversary frankly. There is the typical campfire setting, an icy snow setting (fortress only), rocky mountainous terrain, lush green valleys and the really cool widow of the web sequence (the full gamut of stereotypical alien terrains). Again this entire spider web premise makes no sense at all and to this day I still don't really get what's going on. Ynyr used to be in love with this woman who, for some reason, killed their only child and as punishment has been placed within this giant spiders someone. The giant spider is somehow controlled by her with an hourglass of sand? or it protects her? or keeps her prisoner? no idea how she survives, what does she eat or drink etc...She seems to be popular because many try to reach her but none ever manage it, either eaten by the spider or falling to their death (the web is over a huge chasm), I'm just not sure what she has or knows that is so important.

Anyway somehow she knows where the Black Fortress will go next, so she gives her lifeforce to Ynyr (the sand from the hourglass) so he can escape the spider, but when the sand runs out he will die? why exactly? This means the spider can now happily attack, destroy and kill the widow and her delicate web abode...but I'm not really sure why, or what would happen next with the spider. Does it wait for someone else to get trapped by persons unknown in its lair? beats the shit outta me. Despite the bizarre story behind this weird-ass sequence, the effects here are some of the best in the movie. The whole spider web set is really well designed and created, it actually looks quite real, where as the spider is truly fantastic in stop motion form. If you think along the lines of classic Ray Harryhausen, only better, then you have your vision. Sure it looks a tiny bit plastic but that's probably down to the deliberate transparent look of the creature (which I love!). But its the arachnids movements, sound effects and the top notch blending of live action, matte painting and stop motion model work, that overall create this truly spine-tingling atmosphere. It just makes me wonder why some of the other movie effects couldn't look as good.

The finale is a huge bluescreen affair that really does show its age I'm afraid, some quite hideous effects. First a rather embarrassing bluescreen ridden sequence where the remaining heroes travel on fire mares (think horses like Pegasus, but really fast and no wings) to the Black Fortress. The interior of the Black Fortress is very imaginative and surreal with a nice blend of models, sets, matte paintings and bluescreen, of course the sets are easy to spot. Then we have the main monster (Beast), simply a bloke in a big rubber suit which we don't really see too much of, hidden by smoke and shadow. It is well made and has quite scary facial features but you can't help but feel it just looks like something out of [i]Dr Who[/i]. Pretty much the same with the Slayers, men in rubber suits that also look a bit Dr Who-ish. To add to that, the Beast doesn't really do anything, he shoots out large white balls of power from his mouth with truly awful effects but that's it. Colwyn counters that against another dreadful bluescreen effect with the Glaive which, lets be honest, is merely a ninja throwing star that acts like some kind of boomerang. So in the end Colwyn merely stabs the Beast to death, oh and then he burns it alive with his fire shooting powers that he gains with Princess Lyssa, for some reason.

I've taken the piss here a lot, [b]a lot[/b], but that doesn't necessarily mean I don't like this movie. As I already explained, you know exactly what to expect with this movie, you knew back in the day, and to that degree it does its job well as a light-hearted, dark, space fable of sorts. Yes there are lots of plot holes and ludicrous moments that make no sense, like what exactly are the Slayers? when they die a big slimy bug thing comes out of their heads, why does that bug thing then burrow straight into the ground? Where do these Slayers and the Beast come from? why are they trying to take over the galaxy? what did the Beast want or need with this particular Princess? was she more special than other lifeforms from other planets or did he just fancy her? What's with the big rock fortress? etc...The movie is a product of its time and shouldn't be taken apart, even though that's exactly what I've done...but! I still enjoy the movie for what it is. For me the film falls into the same type of category as some of the lesser Harryhausen movies like the Sinbad trilogy, although not quite as good. Its very much a guilty pleasure with some great moments and some awful moments, but on the plus side, an epic never again cast line up, a rousing rip-roaring score and overall a good calibre of imagination.
January 3, 2016
Krull is simply one of the best SF/fantasy movies ever made. Where some think it lacks a certain sophistication in terms of narrative and writing, it seems to me that it's simplicity makes it much easier to sit back and enjoy the excellence of the performances and the quality of the production values overall.
January 2, 2016
Great movie, very much underrated. My wife didn't like it, but I've always thought it was a very well made movie. If you can get over a couple special effects problems, a couple acting problems in the very beginning, the plot, the score, and the innovative ideas will much more than make up for them. I am a tough, tough movie critic. Most of today's movies (especially sci-fi) I really have a hard time with being impressed with. Most of them are poorly made and way over-hyped for what they actually turn out to be. I may be in the minority when I say this, but I truly feel they don't really make many movies to this quality anymore. The low score on this website for this one is most undeserving.
½ December 21, 2015
Despite some impressive effects, the only entertainment value of Krull is noticing which Star Wars or other swords-and-sorcery movie it rips off at any given moment.
Super Reviewer
October 2, 2015
Peter Yates' underrated but enjoyable sci-fi fantasy film is worth a look despite a predictable formulaic plot, it contains plenty of creativity and some impressive practical visual effects. The story concerns the planet Krull, which has been besieged by an evil entity known as the Beast. It inhabits a mountainous black fortress that changes location at every sunrise. A young prince named Colwyn, superbly played by Ken Marshall, who embarks on a perilous quest with his loyal band of companions to destroy the evil Beast, after his father is slain, and his beloved princess kidnapped and imprisoned within the black fortress. Fine direction by the late Peter Yates, with solid supporting performances by Lysette Anthony, Freddie Jones, Francesca Annis, Liam Neeson, Bernald Bresslaw, and Robbie Coltrane. A lush score by the late great James Horner. Recommended.
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