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Overall Rating
3.71

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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Willow
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by Chris Wilson

"High quality, derivative fun!"
4 stars

It’s true that Willow has overwhelming similarities to Lord of the Rings. But think about it this way. There are only three Lord of the Rings films. What happens when you’ve already spent an entire day watching all dozen plus hours of Frodo and company? You’ll need something to fill that empty void left in your heart and on your TV screen. And Willow can easily do just that. For what it lacks in originality, this 80s classic more than makes up for in sheer energy and fun.

In typical fantasy fashion, an evil Queen rules over an unpronounceable land. But a prophecy foretells her downfall through a newborn princess. The Queen sets out to kill every newborn girl, but the princess she seeks is whisked down the river and rescued by a dwarven fellow named Willow. The local wizard sends Willow on a quest to return the baby to its own land, knowing there is something special about the child. Along the way, Willow is joined by two French accented pixies, a sorceress trapped in the body of various animals and Madmartigan, the crudest, most charismatic swordsman to ever grace a fantasy movie!

As I said, there’s nothing too original about the plot. There’s the destiny to be fulfilled and the knight who’s given up on society; the princess and little people (two sizes of them in Willow!) but what makes Willow work is that it never slows down enough to let plot mechanics matter. There’s constant adventuring and each adventure jumps so quickly to the next that it just seems like a constant flow of it. From barroom brawls to careening down a mountain on a shield turned sled, Willow is all over the map like a bad backseat driver. Only in a good way.

Similar to the plot, acting in Willow is hit and miss. The evil-doers in the film aren’t quite as sinister or over-the-top as could be expected, except for one guy who looks exactly like Skeletor. Thankfully the good guys receive plenty of personality. Warwick Davis is whiny but enjoyable in the titular role of Willow, as are the rest of his dwarven town. The movie belongs to Val Kilmer though. As the manic Madmartigan, Kilmer does the acting equivalent of the Iron Man competition, going from menacing prisoner to disgusting womanizer to poetry spouting ladies man in under a half hour. Val Kilmer rules! Except as Batman…

The special effects really do look dated in parts but an interesting special feature on the DVD points out that this was the first film to use an effect called morphing. In one scene, a sorceress seamlessly transforms between multiple animals. The two French pixies (why they’re French is beyond me…) aren’t so convincing in their miniaturization or their purpose to the story. Luckily there are also demon dogs and a giant two headed dragon, each looking straight out of a 50s B movie. The dogs actually resemble the shrews from the classic Attack of the Killer Shrews. That alone should be reason enough to check Willow out!

But seriously folks, dated special effects are no match for oodles of 80s fantasy fun! If you missed this movie when it came out, either from being too young, too old or just too afraid of George Lucas (he wrote the story and produced the film) then you definitely need to heft on your full medieval garb, grab your full-sized replica broadsword and pop Willow into ye olde DVD player. Now nerd on, fantasy fan!

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=918&reviewer=400
originally posted: 11/14/05 15:33:05
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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
2/07/11 PAUL SHORTT SPECTACULAR, EBULLIENT FANTASY-ADVENTURE 3 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  20-May-1988 (PG)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Sep-1988




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