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Willow (Blu-ray / DVD Combo)
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DVD + Blu-ray
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Journey to the far corners of your imagination with Willow, for the first time ever on Blu-ray! Now fully digitally restored, this release features a dazzling array of extras, including new, never-before-seen exclusive content. From legendary filmmakers George Lucas and Ron Howard comes a timeless fantasy tale in which heroes comes in all sizes...and adventure is the greatest magic of all. When young Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) finds an abandoned baby girl, he learns she is destined to end the reign of the wicked Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh). In order to protect the child, Willow must team up with a rogue swordsman (Val Kilmer) and overcome the forces of darkness in the ultimate battle of good versus evil!
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Top customer reviews
I love this movie. I have since I was a child and first saw it, I loved it through all the re-runs on HBO in my teens, and I love it today. It's a simple story of love, selflessness, self-belief, and good vs. evil. I've loved this so much that, for a book report I had to do in 7th grade, I read the book and created a newspaper, complete with Bavmorda's obituary - I believe it was titled "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead" - I was quite creative back then.
The storyline isn't unique; I've seen better sword fights in the Highlander, better special effects in Syfy's Dr. Who, better acting in Murder She Wrote, and I'm pretty sure that my 5th grade music class could write a better score. BUT, just like The Neverending Story,Lucas,Red Sonja, and The Goonies, it holds a special place in my heart.
On top of being a simple, fun story about triumphing over the things that would hold you down, the movie is a delightful foray into a lush, magical fantasy land. I don't recall any bad language, but there is some content that might be a bit graphic for children: Madmartigan is found in a brothel at one point, some of the scenes with Bavmorda and/or the trolls might be a bit scary for younger children, and there are fight scenes in which soldiers are mortally wounded. As Willow is a small person, there is a bit of name calling - the Daikini's call Nelwyn's "Pecks", but Willow, like any underdog hero, rises above the derisive nicknames of others to prove himself to be more than worthy of their respect.
If you've never seen the movie and has a fondness for David and Goliath stories, I highly recommend it.
That said, unlike some films from the era, Willow has aged. The special effects for this movie are a bit dated, particularly in the creatures department (the two-headed beast's jaws look plastic). There are also a few corny moments that passed muster in the 1980s but seem odd today (particularly the romance scenes!). The villains are pretty forgettable as well.
Still, these are part of the package with 1980s movies, the charm and the corny effects. Overall, Willow has far more charm than corn. It is definitely an 80s fantasy film classic and still probably one of the better non-franchise fantasy films out there (i.e., excluding Lord of the Rings and Narnia).
UPDATE (March 16, 2013): I watched the blu-ray version and it looks a lot better. The special effects don't look nearly so dated. They're old, but they don't stick out. I think the rest of my review still holds up. It's a fun movie and the heroes are great, but the villains are mediocre. The first third of the film is a wonderful exercise in world-building but the last half I think tries to tell too much too quickly. Still, definitely recommended for fantasy fans.
Now, I get an HD version of it right in my own living room and can share the experience with my kids. However, and the only reason I am not giving this five stars, is that I wish the discs had more special features, specifically commentary and making-of video. It contains a couple of deleted scenes I was thrilled to see, but I would have thought a more extensive making-of could have been assembled given the amount of time the movie has been out.
Regardless, if you love adventure movies, this is on the must-see list.
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