1983 - 122m.
Although I appreciate a good adventure flick, I never was able to get into the fantasy craze of the 80's to the same degree that some people did. I have seen movies like Conan the Barbarian, Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, and Willow but they never really did it for me like they have for many of their adoring fans. Krull is another movie from this genre that I kind of remember from my childhood but details of the flick did not stick with me over the years aside from the cool weapon that the hero uses. I guess I was raised on Roger Corman and video store cheesiness so my idea of a fantasy movie usually involves blood, breasts, and a wisecracking hero such as Deathstalker. The group of so-called rogues in Krull just seem a little too nice compared to the others I grew up with. They are more like Luke than Han or like the Beatles than the Stones in the mid-60's.
The plot outline is one that is typical of a quest movie. Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) is set to marry Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) from a rival kingdom in an attempt to unify the two areas so that together they can battle the evil one known as "The Beast" who gets his kicks by taking over worlds. Just as the marriage is to be completed, The Beast's army of soldiers known as Slayers crash the wedding, kill everyone, and kidnap Lyssa. After waking to discover that he is the only survivor, Colwyn is helped by an old man named Ynyr (Freddie Jones) who assists him in figuring out what to do next. Together, they embark on a quest to rescue Lyssa, destroy the Beast, and restore order to the world of Krull. Colwyn finds he forges a quick bond with the unlikely company of a man named Torquil (Alun Armstrong) and his band of rogues. Together, they must travel through a treacherous swamp (complete with quicksand), ride flying horses that gallop over fire, and break into the Beast's fortress. There is also a cyclops, a seer, and a giant white spider.
While this may all sound exciting, I had the attention span of Charlie Sheen at a porn convention while watching this. Scenes felt like they went on forever and it seemed like nothing happened until the final thirty minutes. In fact, there is an entire sequence in the middle of the flick where the group are led by a seer that is pure filler in that I have no idea why it is there as it does not move the plot forward (although it does pad the running time). Director Peter Yates (Bullitt, Breaking Away) made some cool flicks but it is safe to say that action was not his forte (car chases maybe but not fight scenes). It doesn't help that Marshall is just not very cool as the hero, the comic-relief wizard (David Battley) is rather annoying, and the fabled glaive does not show itself as the centerpiece weapon until the end of the flick. Things pick up during the climax but this is more to do with the innovative set design and the sense of urgency that finally gives the proceedings a bit of much needed tension.
There are a couple of things that make Krull different than other flicks in this genre. One is that there are many anachronistic elements in both the set design and the weaponry. It feels like you are watching a sci-fi movie set in the future even though the characters are in a medieval setting. This makes for a cool experiment as our heroes are using swords and the villains are using lasers and staffs that can electrocute. The second unique aspect of Krull is that the plot veers quite close to Star Wars territory with Colwyn seeming like Luke, Ynyr as Obi-Wan, and the glaive as a lightsaber. The more you think about the parallels, the more similarities you can find. It could be an interesting conversation piece if I am ever sitting in a cafe with someone who gives a damn. Overall, this flick would have been way cooler if half an hour was cut from the plot, the action was a little more exciting, and the cast had a bit of an edge. I can see the appeal, it's just not for me. Look for Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane in early roles as members or Torquil's band of outsiders. (Josh Pasnak, 6/1/11)
Directed By: Peter Yates.
Written By: Stanford Sherman.
Starring: Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Freddie Jones, Alun Armstrong.