If you ever wanted to watch a version of The Hobbit with half an hour’s worth of songs taken out, check out Willow. Directed by Ron Howard and written by George Lucas, this is guaranteed to be a fun, entertaining movie. As long as you forget stuff like The Grinch and The Phantom Menace.
The antagonist of the movie, Queen Bavmorda, is trying to kill a newborn baby, prophesied to bring her downfall. Somehow. It’s never really explained, (and you might want to skip to the next paragraph because SPOILERS) and the queen dies at the end of the movie without the baby really doing anything. So some fucking prophecy. Unless it was supposed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy by making her paranoid to the point of becoming self-destructive. In which case, impressive work by that prophet..
A midwife manages to smuggle the baby out, and the child’s found by Willow. He’s played by Warwick Davis, who I was ecstatic to find upon writing this article, is in fact NOT dead. Sometimes death reports have a happy internet hoax ending. Oddly enough, though Willow is a father of two, Warwick Davis was only around 17 at the time of filming.
Willow embarks on a Lord of the Rings sort of quest. Except he’s transporting a baby instead of a ring. And he’s not throwing it into a volcano. Though that would be pretty rad to see. Also, he gets abandoned by his companions fairly quickly, and is left with no one to rely on for help but a selfish yet charismatic and likeable scoundrel.
Yeah, it was clearly the same guy behind Star Wars. Lucas shows he knows how to write lovable roguish bastards, not just with Han Solo but also Mad Martigan. Played by Val Kilmer, the mercenary regularly steals the show when onscreen.
There are also two companions to the main characters, little imps or whatever that talk in French Canadian accents. They don’t really do much, other than distract from the action whenever the cameraman feels the need to show them running back and forth doing nothing for half a minute. I guess they’re supposed to be comic relief.
One of them, the one with the rat head for a hat, is played by Kevin Pollock. I know this is going to be hard to believe, seeing how it’s Kevin Pollock with a French Canadian accent, but he’s actually not funny. Instead, it’s more likely to lead you to gouge out your eyeballs and asphyxiate yourself with your own intestines. So, you know, Jar Jar shouldn’t have been that unexpected.
Also, he tries to fuck a cat.
The action sequences are fun and fast paced, with sword fights, stunts, and excellent special effects, such as a two headed monstrosity which Willow accidentally transforms a troll into. According to Ron Howard, he modeled its face after his brother Clint. So good news if you were hoping for a Clint Howard cameo.
The movie didn’t do as well as expected, so any chance of a sequel was scrapped. However, George Lucas later wrote three novels with Chris Claremont, which continued the film’s story. Willow also has a few video games, and a comic book mini-series by Marvel.
Willow’s a fun and enjoyable movie, with a lot of the same charm seen in the original Star Wars trilogy. It’s not a slog like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies can be at times, maintaining an enjoyable pace the whole way through. The characters (except for one or two of them…) are entertaining, and the variety of action sequences will make for an exciting watch. It’s a great adventure film, the kind you unfortunately don’t see much of these days.