Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Ridley Scott and William Hjortsberg bring you a fantasy film rich in color, style, music, and artistic energy...
on January 25, 2015
"Legend" is actually a visual feast and a gloriously made movie, but it suffered the backlash of a rather harsh critical misunderstanding upon its initial release, leading many to dismiss it as a backwind fart of a children's movie up the alleys of Hollywood's famous fantasy script rejects. But seriously, Tom Cruise does quite well here, despite his thinness of character, and of course it is the visuals that really make the picture count. The music score too is the stuff of great movie fantasy (and it even includes some songs with lyrics by John Bettis) and the pacing with which Ridley Scott injects the picture with is enough to satisfy most fantasy film fans. In the documentary film about the picture's making, writer William Hjortsberg makes some interesting observations about the screenwriting process (he says that the first draft is the "writer's draft") and discusses how he had already begun to write some fairy tales of his own when the phone rang and ribald Ridley was on the other end (swearing, of course). What to watch for in "Legend" is the beautiful cinematography by Alex Thomson (who truly makes the picture ring with some specialty), as well as the beautiful Mia Sara (who truly looks like a real princess here). Rob Bottin's make-up work is equally as effective here as it has ever been anywhere else. Like all of Scott's films, this picture was subject to a rediscovery and a host of reissues, but this final (is it really the final cut, Wal-Mart shoppers?) cut is allegedly the best that the film will ever be for us historians. On Blu-Ray, the picture looks fantastic. Curry's Devilish turn as the Beast is one of the more interesting performances in the history of fantasy film, despite the fact that you can't even see the man's eyes hiding beneath the wonderful Bottin-designed prosthetics (and believe me, that man was buried deeper than Tutankhamen's tomb).
This new Blu-Ray presentation is fascinating to watch, mainly because of its beautiful picture and sound (and there is a warning screen that pops up instantly, telling you that Scott and his team have done their best to make the picture look as good as it can considering the tainted elements and anomalies that turned up in the Goldsmith-scored version, which I feel is the preferred one, not to knock the power of Tangerine Dream's initial vision in their closely scored cut). I feel that the film was simply too misunderstood upon its initial release to be appreciated for its beauty and ideas, but the movie is also in conversation with other films from the past (namely the film's two major influences, Jean Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast" and Jacques Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann", both of which utilized crucial moments of terror and inventiveness to change the scope of fantasy filmmaking). B+