Friday, March 30, 2012


One of my favorite films when I was younger...full of promise and believed that anything was possible...was Willow.
It has the right amount of magic, sorcery, royalty, nelwyns, daikinis, pixies, dragons, trolls and heroes.
It was also the film where I met Val Kilmer for the very first time. Aw, he was brilliant.

SPOILER ALLERT!!!!!! Here follows a detailed synopsis, from the top of my memory...

A baby is born (Elora Dannon), and she bares the mark of being the one who can bring down the evil queen (who is obviously a terrible witch) Bavmorda. The midwife manages to sneak the baby out and together they run away. Only, Bavmorda sends out her dog-creature-thingies, and eventually they catch up. But they only kill the midwife...only it is no good, because she first managed to place the baby on a small raft, floating down the river...(a little Moses metaphor there I think).
Enter Willow. He's a nelwynn, a dwarf-people. They have laws forbidding them to interact with the Daikinis, the big people, so when Willow plucks Elora out of the river, he is by definition a criminal. The Dog-creature-thingies come to look for the baby on the town fair, Willow is performing as a rather bad magician having failed to become the magicians apprentice... And as if this is common knowledge, every single nelwyn knows the creatures were looking for someones baby...
Willow is cornered, by among others the self pointed (or so it seems) leader of the town, Burglekut (and he's one obnoxious horrid little fat man...)
 Willow's punishment for taking care of the human baby is that he has to take her to the big people...
Burglekut and a group of brave warriors, with the bravest warrior (Wonkahr) in the lead, comes with Willow,
mainly to make sure he actually leaves the baby with a human, but probably mostly because they want an adventure.

Then they come to a junction, and there they meet Madmartigan. He's in a cage, left to die, but he's a daikini, one of the big people. So, having decided, slightly reluctantly, to trust the man in the cage, Willow lets him out, and hands Elora over to him. Willow and his mate set out to go home.
But the daikini has lost Elora to the brownies. They stole the baby from Madmartigan while he was taking a "pee pee".
Willow has a lot of love for this child, and has to make sure she gets safely to Tir Asleen where a good king and queen will take care of her, because Sheralindria said so... (She's a fairy-Godmother-kind of character), and she sends Willow and two small brownies called Ruel and Ranjeen... off to find Fin Razel, the witch who has been exiled by Bavmorda.
On their way to this island they meet up with Madmartigan again. He's flirting with married women, and needs to run away anyway, so he comes along with Willow and the brownies.
When they get to the island where Fin Razel allegedly lives, Willow has to undo a spell placed upon her. She meets them as a talking rodent... He can't do it, he's not confident of his own magic yet.
Then, the baby, the brownies, Madmartigan, Fin Razel and Willow are captured by Sorsha's army
(Sorsha is the daughter of Queen Bavmorda), and taken up into the snowy mountains. Here Willow tries to turn Fin Razel again, but his magic fails and she's transformed into a crow.
The brownies have with them a bag of "The dust of broken hearts", and as they are having a rather silly fight with Madmartigan up in the mountains, they swing the bag in Madmardigans face, turning him into a love sick Casanova. The first female he'll see will capture his heart. Ruel, for instance, falls head over heals in love with a cat...
The first female he sees is Sorsha sleeping (as he's about to steal the baby back, at this point Fin Razel is turned into a goat, or was it a crow?), enter the best love-sick-brilliant line in the world, and I know it by heart to this day:
"You are my moon, my sun, my starlit sky, without you, I dwell in darkness."
They manage to flee, with the baby, but before they leave Madmartigan kisses Sorsha, and she is slowly melting to his magnetism... I mean, it's Val Kilmer, for crying out loud...he could probably, as Madmartigan, melt anything.
Razel has promised them that as soon as they get to Tir Asleen, a good king and queen will meet them there. Eventually, with General Kael (Bavmorda's fierce general, the actor is apparently an old wrestler) on their tail, they get to Tir Asleen, only to find out that it's been abandoned by the kings and queens, and left for the trolls to fester upon...
Willow: I hate trolls.
So, going from bad to worse, trolls on the inside, Kael's army on the outside.
But Madmartigan knows what to do. He puts on a nice shiny armor, finds a nice pointy sword, and goes out to be intimidating.
He comes out kicking and screaming and all the men in Kael's army are completely astonished by the sight, or so he thinks. But a transformed monster troll, with two heads
has sprouted behind him, and what the army are looking at is the troll and not Madmartigan...

Then follows a lot of fighting, and the end is that Aerk's army comes to the rescue, but by then Kael manages to kidnap Elora and ride off with her to hand her over to Bavmorda. Sorsha, well, watching Madmartigan fight, she falls head over heels, and changes side. And I think somewhere here Fin Razel is changed into a goat...Willow has a hard time finding his magic. I think it's because he's not saying the whole incantation. He doe's later, and then it works...But what do I know, I don't even read The Sun...

So, the army rushes towards Bavmorda's Isengard-looking castle. They try to get the army to come outside and fight, but Bavmorda turns them all into pigs instead. Razel the goat manages to get Willow to protect himself from the curse, and then, when all of the good guys are minutes from becoming bacon Willow the Magician enters. He manages with intensity and heart to change Fin Razel into the woman she once was...only an older version... And Razel can undo Bavmorda's curse, turning all the pigs back into men.

In the meantime, Bavmorda is busy sending Elora to the other side...
"Come thunder, come lightning, touch this altar with your powers." The poor baby is crying all the time, and as a mother I can't help thinking that the child had a terrible time being an actress... but it is a very convincing film, and let's hope someone comforted the child between the takes.
Razel, Sorsha and Willow sneak up to save Elora, and in the end it is Willow that outwits Bavmorda with his "Disappearing pig trick", a trick that makes Bavmorda touch the altar and all the potions she has made, making sure she sends herself to the other side...
Madmartigan kills Kael.

And then the only thing left is for Madmartigan to marry Sorsha, they take care of Elora. Willow journeys home to his Nelwynn kin, having mastered the art of magic, and thus ends the best fantasy of its time.
Directed by Ron Howard.

Music by Howard Shore.
I was so in love with this film when I was a teenager (this is one of those films I've seen so many times I don't know the number...and I bet it's a double digit...probably with a 2 or 3 at the beginning...maybe even 4 - Yes, I'm nuts!), and as I watched it yesterday, I understand why... It's filmed basically in New Zealand, making it go from adventurous to epic, almost sublime.
And Warwick Davies, portraying Willow, was only 18 years old when he did this, and his acting skills are really something.

Watch this with your kids, watch it alone, watch it with your special someone... it's a brilliant film...
It's that way? That's what I said..ah!
And the best are the two brownies. They have a funny comment to any situation, and I don't think the heroes could have done without them.