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Overall Rating

Awesome: 31.11%
Worth A Look41.11%
Average: 8.89%
Pretty Bad: 5.56%
Total Crap: 13.33%

4 reviews, 66 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Slipshod and derivative, but still lots of fun."
4 stars

There's a double-edged sword that shows up when your childhood favorites are released on DVD. On one hand, you can't wait to add it to your collection. On the other, the movie rarely measures up to your recollections. Willow is not nearly as magical as I remember it, but it's colorful and exciting enough to please fans of Tolkien-inspired quest flicks.

A reluctant Nelwyn (small person) must set out on a perilous adventure to return a lost baby (very small person) to a Daikini (tall person). Not surprisingly, the quest turns out to be more trouble than expected, and the heroic Willow finds himself embroiled in a massive battle of good vs. evil. Sidekicks, monsters, pixies, wizards, warriors, magic spells and incredible escapes abound.

Willow is a casualty of the “I loved it when I was young” category of films. What seemed so entertaining and fun as a child now comes off mainly as silly and derivative. The special effects are beginning to look a bit antiquated, and the plot of Willow (now more than ever) seems like nothing more than a thinly-veiled take on Tolkein’s classic Lord of the Rings.

Willow could appeal only to those who love cheesy adventure movies. Like me. My DVD shelf has a special section that now holds Willow, The Princess Bride, Krull, Legend, The Beastmaster, and The Sword and the Sorcerer. Regardless of how familiar or unintentionally silly, I’ve always had a soft spot for the “quest flick”. Although Willow is certainly a sloppy and intermittently goofy flick, it still holds enough charm, excitement and good humor to please fans of this type of movie.

Diminutive actor Warwick Davis does a solid job playing the unlikely hero, and Val Kilmer (back before he turned into a miserable grump) has a whole lot of fun as a barbarian named Madmartigan. Director Ron Howard stages a few great chases and escapes, and there’s a cool dragon that shows up near the end. Some of the more entertaining moments are of the unintentional variety, particularly Jean Marsh’s scene-chewing turn as the evil Queen Bavmorda. All in all, Willow might not be a very good movie, but it’s often fun to watch...especially if you have a few kids in the house.

DVD Details:

Though it’s not a fully-loaded Special Edition, this DVD contains a handful of pretty cool goodies.

First up is a full-length audio commentary with actor Warwick Davis. Though Mr. Davis repeats a bit of information here and there, this is quite an entertaining track. Davis obviously has a lot of affection for this movie, and it makes for a commentary that’s full of informational tidbits and anecdotes.

Willow: The Making of an Adventure is a “behind the scenes” piece from 1988 that works as half “puff piece” and half on-set/interview segments. Fans of the movie may find some interesting nuggets, but this featurette isn’t as fascinating as Willow: Morf to Morphing, which briefly covers the early history of CGI technology. After seeing what went on with the FX crews of Willow, you’ll be impressed to learn that this movie was one of the first trailblazers in the area of modern movie magic.

Aside from the commentary and both featurettes, you’ll also find a stills gallery, two theatrical teasers, one trailer and eight TV spots.

I’m not exactly sure why these mildly silly adventure flicks always seem to become “cult classics”, but it’s nice to see that the studios are listening to what the fans want to see. If you can still watch Willow with that intangible “gee whiz” feeling, then you should definitely pick this one up. Casual fans should give it a rent.

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originally posted: 05/24/02 11:07:15
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User Comments

9/19/14 Finn the one and only This is a fantastic movie if you like things that are awesome. 5 stars
1/08/13 Stevo Devo No. This was terrible. 1 stars
7/24/10 bagwell5 Has not aged well. Val Kilmer & the battle scenes are good. Nice nostalgia factor. 3 stars
11/28/09 Jeff Wilder Way better than the godawful Howard The Duck. 4 stars
6/01/08 yo WTF WAS THIS 1 stars
4/02/08 Emily sweet! interesting and heart-warming. the special effects funny since it was made in '88 5 stars
12/18/07 shamrock it was the worst movie ever 1 stars
11/18/07 David Cohen Not exactly a classic, but it has its moments 3 stars
11/14/07 Kyle L One of the most underrated films of all time! Great fun to watch! 5 stars
7/27/07 Brooke Terriable, worst thing eva!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
6/27/07 Kyle Predebon It was a good movie and fun to watch 4 stars
5/25/07 dawg I love the small people 5 stars
11/02/06 yo bro allright could be better 4 stars
7/27/06 tamara barclay it is very crary 1 stars
12/14/05 deadfishrman this is a good movie, 5 stars
8/28/05 D Buckley Madmartigan is cool. 4 stars
8/23/05 Luyanda Not bad 3 stars
8/18/05 ES Ever notice how the special child really doesn't end the evil queen's reign? 4 stars
6/12/05 Gecko Fanfoot Ron Howard saves Lucas' ass on this one. 4 stars
3/04/05 your worst goddamn nightmare fantastic adventure tale - a wonderful fable ***** 5 stars
9/19/04 Conor good movie, it doesn't take itself seriously at all 4 stars
9/12/04 g rocks! 3 stars
5/10/04 MetallicA Saw this in school..........Couldn't watch any of it 1 stars
4/19/04 Ionicera crappiest high-budgeted fantasy film ever made 1 stars
4/01/04 David Great movie!!!!!! MUST SEE 5 stars
2/06/04 Heather pretty good 4 stars
11/15/03 Spiderfan729 Really funny. Quality humor (and action I guess) that just "Rocks on"! 5 stars
10/10/03 Dan Always enjoyable, nothing like a good sword-swining flick :0) 5 stars
3/08/03 Matt Thiel If the filmmakers can't take their own movie seriously, why should I? 2 stars
12/30/02 Maself Loooooooonnnng and most of the time boring. 2 stars
12/23/02 E-Rock A great fantasy adventure. Good fun... 4 stars
7/27/02 sdjfsdkjf who now thinks "peck" when you see a midget? Good stuff. 5 stars
5/25/02 Charles Tatum Great fantasy film 4 stars
4/27/02 maximal01 Paging Val Kilmer... I see bats in your future. AVOID AT ALL COSTS. AVOID AT ALL COSTS. 4 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean I loved this one! Even with those two annoying tiny men. 4 stars
12/19/01 Jimmy James this movie kicks ass 5 stars
11/30/01 Judith Latham preety bad 2 stars
11/16/01 Ashley Hey! This movie rocks! You who don't like it, don't talk to me! 5 stars
11/15/01 avid willow fan This is a classic...everyone should see this 5 stars
11/11/01 Kenneth E. Carper Good fuckin' movie! I love midgets, those little peckers rock! I fucked Joanne Whalley! 5 stars
9/19/01 pesti pretty good movie if you like fantasy flicks and/or play lots of diablo or d&d. 4 stars
9/15/01 Fernando Willow is my hero. It was a funtastic adventure of doom. 5 stars
8/10/01 none of your beezzwax it reeked of awsomeness 5 stars
8/10/01 fat crap 1 stars
8/10/01 amy CRAP 1 stars
8/10/01 brad kaylock is a champ it was pretty good in some bits 3 stars
8/10/01 josh it was ok 3 stars
8/10/01 u7tfjuyguf it was so not good and bits where all right 5 stars
8/10/01 tony hawk it was so shit 1 stars
8/08/01 Amy Tippett Bad baby 1 stars
7/11/01 Quarath Willow kicks so much ass, nothing can compare. 5 stars
6/26/01 Alan Nicoll Too little imagination, going through the motions. 2 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L One of the great fantasy flicks. 5 stars
1/02/01 Ionicera A good idea gone to hell 2 stars
4/16/00 JDC Indiana's right...Joanne Whalley is beautiful in this movie. 5 stars
2/05/00 the Grinch Better than Tucker?! No way, but it's a good one. Too bad Lucas turned into a tool. 4 stars
2/02/00 Ren Me likes! Been a fan for years... But Id like to see a fantasy film end in ANARCHY! 4 stars
2/02/00 Ryan Phillipe gets hit by a car and it rules!!! Midgets fuckin rule. Hey Indiana the song More Than a Feeling reminds me of doing your mom 1 stars
1/18/00 Jedi15 Three words: WHERE'S THE DVD? 5 stars
5/27/99 GothamDK You are great. Or at least pretty good. Great cast and storytelling. 4 stars
5/03/99 Michael Grimm first film to introduce morphing, Kilmer before he was a dick!! 5 stars
12/29/98 Schizofrenic It was good. 4 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Entertaining sunday-afternoon fare. 3 stars
11/13/98 Jules They should have used the sets and cast to make The Hobbit, but what the hell, it was good. 4 stars
9/15/98 tessSpork pretty good-fairy tale like movie, Val Kilmer's pretty good in it. 4 stars
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  20-May-1988 (PG)



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