Legend (1985) Arrow Video Limited Edition Blu-ray Review

Legend is a 1985 American epic historical war film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Cruise, Tim Curry, Mia Sara, David Warner, and Rutger Hauer. It was written by William Monahan. The film tells the story of Royce (Tom Cruise) who joins a group of rebels fighting to free France from the British occupation in 1815 during the Hundred Days War.

The legend blu-ray arrow is a 1985 action thriller that was directed by Ridley Scott. It stars Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, and Willem Dafoe.

Verdict

Summary

Legend is a once-in-a-lifetime fantasy experience that will almost likely never be replicated. Rob Bottin’s painstaking and complex (but completely believable) make-up effects work, as well as Jerry Goldsmith’s big, gorgeous music, lift this picture beyond the others in the sword and sorcery genre.

“What good is a world stuck in a death season?”

Plot:

A humble hero must go into hell to save his true love and the world’s only unicorn from The Lord of Darkness.

Review:

Two young lovers, Lily (Mia Sara) and Jack (Tom Cruise), venture to spy two of their planet’s remaining unicorns in a fairyland realm of magic, elves, and beautiful glens filled with pixie dust. Lily approaches one of them, singing a lovely melody, and just as she reaches in to touch the magnificent beast, a goblin called Blix, under the orders of his master, The Lord of Darkness himself, kills it with a poison dart. Only if and when the two pure unicorns are killed and their horns are in his possession will the demonic ruler (played by Tim Curry in an excellent performance) govern a realm of bleak darkness. The task is only half done when Blix and his goblin allies kill the poisoned unicorn and cut its horn, which throws the planet into a chaotic maelstrom of shifting seasons. Darkness seduces Lily and lures her into his hellish underworld realm, where she is courted by Darkness in a spectacular seduction scene, and the only way the world will be set right is if Jack can restore sunshine to hell. With a motley crew of dwarves and a rowdy elf called Gump (David Bennent) at his side, Jack must transform into a sword-wielding hero in order to rescue Lily and the last unicorn from imminent death.

The 114-minute director’s cut of Legend, from director Ridley Scott and screenwriter/novelist William Hjortsberg, is a once-in-a-lifetime fantasy adventure the likes of which we will almost likely never see again. Rob Bottin’s painstaking and complex (but completely believable) make-up effects work, as well as Jerry Goldsmith’s big, gorgeous music, lift this picture beyond the others in the sword and sorcery genre. While it has flaws (the plot is basic, and the characters aren’t very fascinating), it is a high point in the world of cinematic fantasy, and the fact that the majority of the objects, settings, and images are all recreated realistically or with optical effects makes it a marvel to see. If you walk into it expecting it to be “a Tom Cruise” film, you will be very disappointed. The version published in the United States was less than 90 minutes long and included a Tangerine Dream synthesizer soundtrack. That version is intriguing, but not nearly as fulfilling as the extended version. Filmed in 70mm.

The limited edition Blu-ray collection from Arrow Video includes both versions of the film as well as hours of extra content. This is a very welcome release, and lovers of 1980s and later sword and sorcery flicks should make it a priority buy. On home video, it’s never looked or sounded better.

 

Additional Resources

  • Blu-ray versions of the U.S. Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut in high definition (1080p).
  • Both edits include DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 stereo audio.
  • On both cuts, English subtitles are available as an option for the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • New writing by Nicholas Clement and Kat Ellinger, as well as archival resources such as production notes and a 2002 interview with Charles de Lauzirika about the restoration of the Director’s Cut, are included in this beautifully illustrated perfect-bound book.
  • Neil Davies’ freshly commissioned artwork and John Alvin’s original theatrical artwork are included on this large double-sided poster.
  • Annie Leibovitz took glossy full-color photographs of the group.
  • Six lobby card copies in the size of a postcard
  • Neil Davies’ freshly commissioned artwork and John Alvin’s original theatrical artwork are included on the reversible sleeve.
  • DISC 1: THEATRICAL CUT IN THE UNITED STATES
  • The US Theatrical Cut has been restored in 2K from source materials, including a 4K scan of the original negative.
  • Paul M. Sammon, author of Ridley Scott: The Making of His Films, has included a new commentary.
  • 2002 Tangerine Dream’s reconstructed isolated score
  • Track with isolated music and effects
  • New featurette A Fairytale in Pinewood features grip David Cadwalladr, costume designer Charles Knode, co-star Annabelle Lanyon, camera operator Peter MacDonald, set decorator Ann Mollo, and draftsman John Ralph.
  • Travis Crawford narrates and writes the comparative documentary Incarnations of a Legend.
  • Ridley Scott: The Directors, a 2003 documentary on the director’s career, including Legend.
  • “Does Your Love Have Enough Power?” Bryan Ferry’s music video
  • DISC 2: THE CUT OF THE DIRECTOR
  • Ridley Scott adds his two cents.
  • Interviews with Ridley Scott, William Hjortsberg, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, Rob Bottin, and others may be found in Creating A Myth: Memories of Legend, a 2002 documentary.
  • Featurette created specifically for commercial purposes.
  • Alternative opening for “Four Goblins” and a deleted scene from “The Fairie Dance”
  • Three deleted sequences have storyboard galleries.
  • William Hjortsberg’s script has two drafts.
  • Alternative material from the international release, as well as footage without text
  • Trailers and television commercials
  • Still-life exhibitions