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Come on, its BEASTMASTER! How can you deny that this movie is one of the top movies in the eighties pantheon of excellent trash. I mean so much stuff happens in this movie and you are never left wondering what is going on. Every move is perfectly placed and paced. Marc Singer is perfectly cast as Dar. He has a legendary physique in this move, and some shots look like a Boris Vallejo painting. Tanya Roberts is perfect as his feminine foil. Jon Amos, bad ass. Rip Torn does a magnificent job as MAAX. The Deathguards, those guys running around like gorillas with spiked gloves, truly frightening. Then you have the tree people, the acid bat guys, come on what could be cooler. Though above all I have to give it up for the animals in this picture. The animals take the cake, the ferrets, the tiger, and falcon, are majestic creatures of beauty that often surpass the actors in finding moments of true beauty and comedy. Better than Conan, Beastmaster taps the main vein of the seventies fantasy feel in every way imaginable.
For one of the slew of quickly produced movies of the 80's this one is
pretty good. You've got Marc Singer when he was young and fit (not
and ancient like in the later movies of this series) and Tanya Roberts who
is hot in this film. You've got swordfights, sorcery, the whole works.
said, I did find the ferrets a little annoying, but that's just
On the whole the movie works well and there are some touches, like the flying humanoids that envelop and dissolve their prey, that just make the film.
SUMMARY: Hero who can talk to animals sets out to overthrow an evil warlord.
Too bad movies from this genre are now all but extinct.
Beastmaster was one of the best movies of the early 80's
Sword & Magic movies (along with Krull, Dragonslayer &
Conan), if not the best. I even believe it inspired He-Man
and the Masters of the Universe for those who as myself
were children of the 80's. Later in the 80's some flicks
came out, like Highlander and Willow, but couldn't help the
disappearance of the genre, which I feel very nostalgic
about. Please, please, please, I beg you: Ignore any sequel
of this movie. Remain with this, a true classic.
How can anyone not like the Beastmaster? It's what movies are all about - it's got a hero, his woman, a villain, sidekicks, animals, loincloths, violence and much much more! It's one of the earliest of films that HBO would play about 4 times a day so it was almost always available. John Amos from Roots and Good Times cheeses it up but damn, do I have a soft spot for the guy. Dar looks like my brother Eric. Rip Torn is a villain with bad teeth! The freaky eagle/vampire things are nutty. It's got ferrets - FERRETS in co-starring roles! Plus a panther and hawks and B-dialog and swords and last but not least "crazy-eyes" herself, Tonya Roberts! Yowza! It's basically a goulash of afternoon delight. Straight B an 85 - 8 out of 10. Caw caw! Catch it one time or a dozen, you'll love it.
Like most I missed the theatrical run on this film, who didn't? I
caught it on cable. I believe Dennis Miller had a running joke about
HBO meaning "Hey Beastmaster' on!" This isn't agreat film, there are
a lot of very obvious red herrings, but it's a lot of fun and certainly
has earned it's cult status.
This sword and sorcery plot is well handled by Don Coscarelli and he directs his good looking leads, Marc Singer & Tanya Roberts, well. The photography on John Alcott is excellent and one of the highlights of the film. Lee Holdrigde's original score and Alf Clausens orchestrations are absolutely superb. Truly I thought the music was excellent. It's epic, memorable and so suited to the scenes!
For a film called the Beastmaster, its smart enough not to ignore the animals. The ferrets are cute, and yes ferrets are like that!, the Tiger (black panther) is fierce and the Hawk is mysterious, yet so graceful. I thought Marc Singer (Dar's) rapport with the animals was just great. The final fight with the Juns is fantastic in it's use of lighting and movement.
This film really should appeal to teenage boys and on that level it succeeds beautifully.
I don't care what people say, THE BEASTMASTER is a fun film. Thanks to my parents having cable in the 80s, I virtually grew up with it. I can still recall spending many days and nights watching it on television. I probably had no idea of what was going on, but I just loved watching this animal lover named Dar rescue the hot Tanya Roberts while fighting against an evil priest. Marc Singer is great in the title role. If he were to cure world hunger, create world peace, or even be elected president, he would still be known as The Beastmaster. Tanya Roberts doesn't really do much, but looks damn nice doing it, John Amos is also good as a traveler who befriends Dar, and Rip Torn is as over-the-top as he can get. Lee Holdridge's score, composed in a short amount of time, provides a bit more epicness than the film could have created on its own, with a heroic theme that is used throughout. I was also happy to learn recently that Anchor Bay Entertainment is working on a Special Edition DVD of THE BEASTMASTER. I'm, naturally, very excited about this, for no matter what people say, THE BEASTMASTER was, still is, and always will be a childhood favorite.
An awesomely sculpted Marc Singer headlines in this much beloved sword
and sorcery outing brought to us by non other than Don Coscarelli of
Singer stars as Dar (great name eh? okay, maybe not then...) a child who comes into the world in a somewhat less than auspicious manner, namely from the belly of an ox(!) after he is magically stolen from within his own mothers womb by a corpse faced sorceress. Yes, I know this all sounds utterly bizarre and in fact it is, but you'll really need to view it to appreciate it in all its, erm....glory. As a result of this bestial birth, our hero grows up with an unusual ability to communicate with animals via some form of psychical connection. So that's how Dr Doolittle got his powers to? Um, the mind boggles! Anyway, to cut a long story short, Dar's abilities prove to come in mightily handy later on when he sets out to take revenge upon the evil warrior tribe who massacred the people of his village.
Tremendously entertaining from start to finish, this is without doubt one of the finest entries in its genre and is highly memorable. So much so in fact, that it has since spawned two sequels and a spin off television series. If you haven't already done so, then I thoroughly recommend you have a ganders at this timeless fantasy classic.
What struck me,after several viewings,is that not only does the viewer enjoy this movie,but the people doing are having a good time as well.It stays with the standard sword and sorcery/Arthurian motif of a dispossessed hero going on the quest,seeking to either establish his identity,or come into his inheritance.What adds to this particular movie are the following: 1.)Singer not only has the rugged good looks,and impressive physique,but he displays a vastly wider emotional range than did The Austrian Oak.His portrayal of Dar encompasses humor and craftiness as well as courage and determination.And it looks like he did quite a few of his own stunts. 2.)I'm not sure is Roberts is trying to do a caricature of a simpering,clinging heroine,or not.In any event,she does go WAY over the top,but seems to be enjoying doing it. 3.)Torn's villain not only chews the scenery,but spits it out,as well.Is there some kind of inside joke by making him up to look like Richard Nixon? 4.)Amos,as Seth,is every bit as much a loyal comrade as Sallah in the Indiana Jones flics.All he needs is to wear a neon sign flashing"FRIEND". 5.)Let's face it,they based the script on a classic piece of writing,but a famous authoress.If you start out with something good,it gives an extra advantage. 6.)And,the animals do a splendid job,and the ferrets are cute.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As far as the Sword and Sorcery genre goes, this is it's shining star. A lot of people comment in negative ways(bad acting, poor costumes, etc.)but the're missing the point of this film style. Let me summarize: A man's village is slaughtered by a cult called the Jun Horde. He seeks revenge on them and follows their trail. He discovers he can communicate with animals, and travels with them. He also picks up some human companions along the way, including super-hot Tonya Roberts. Each one has their own reason to defy the Jun Horde. This revenge theme is typical of S & S films; muscle-bound hero, love interest, cool sidekicks, evil wizard, etc.. But this movie is loaded with creative and original material. Animal co-stars, at least three very skilled actors(John Amos in particular), an incredible soundtrack, super-cool throwing weapons, and an emotional character. Conan came only months earlier, and had a much bigger budget. Even with that it pales in comparison to the much superior Beastmaster. All Conan does is mope and get angry, the only time he's even likable is when he's drunk. Plus everything he does is for himself. Dar on the other hand, risks his life to save strangers. He even reveals himself while unarmed to save a child. He can talk to animals, but doesn't control them. They are viewed as his friends, not servants, a good message if you ask me. He even turns down his birthright so he can live his own life. Conan, Dragonslayer, Ator, etc., used fake animals to engage the actors. The Beastmaster had two ferrets, a tiger, an eagle, horses, doves, and more interacting with very believable screen-presence. Even the scenes involving the tiger attacking the actors looked convincing. Dar also has a sense of humor, and isn't afraid to cry. What's more instead of having the bad guys on one side, and the good guys on the other, you have many gray areas in between. The bat people, the priests, the guards, the people who live inside town, the ones that live outside, the ancient sect that used to live in the temple, the witches, the death guards, the Jun Horde, even the animals themselves, all have their own outfits, motivations, and behaviors. This makes it a rich tapestry and very interesting to watch. The characters are layered so that they appear and disappear at the right time, every time. The scene involving the fire was real fire, they didn't have to rely on fancy, over-budgeted special effects. The only thing that comes close in this genre is Ladyhawke. It is a wonderful movie, and the only reason I didn't give it a ten/ten, is the scene where Tonya Roberts appears from the back of the skull in the temple. They never explained how she got there, or why she and Dar couldn't escape the way she came.
Following "Conan the Barbarian", there were a lot of Barbarian trash
movies in the 1980s. The best of them all was "Beastmaster" because it
had creative production design, colorful photography and even some
ideas of its own. Dar, the Beastmaster (Marc Singer), can see through
the eyes of animals and command them whenever he needs help. The evil
priest Maax (Rip Torn) holds Dar's father, the king, prisoner as well
as the slave girl Kiri (Tanya Roberts) whom Dar fell in love with. In
this action-packed movie, we meet a lot of bizarre folks, like the
scary batmen who can suck their victims dry if they catch them under
their wings (and still these are some of the good guys!) or the
berserkers who carry green worms in their brains to drive them crazy.
Director/script writer Coscarelli was also in charge of the very
successful horror movie "Phantasm", and that shows in the darker
scenes. Tanya Roberts looked so good in rags she went on to make
"Sheena" with equally little to wear. Marc Singer's muscles were
memorable enough to get him signed many years later for 2 sequels which
weren't half as good as the original, but still way better than the
politically correct TV series 20 years later.
Comparing the 113 minutes "director's cut" (British DVD) to the old 91 minutes German video tape version, these are the most important scenes previously omitted: 1) 8 1/2 minutes of introduction, in which we learn how Maax was threatened by the king, hears the prophecy about the king's unborn son and asks a witch to abduct the baby (from his mother's womb!). Probably it was felt it takes too long until we see the grown-up hero. The disadvantage is that we know less in the short version about Maax and his motives. 2) Still in the first third of the movie, a funny scene was cut in which Dar falls into quicksand, needs help from the animals - and rescues one of them in return. This scene is a charming illustration of the beginning of his friendship with the animals, but not necessary to understand the story. 3) In the last third of the movie, 3 scenes were cut in which the injured young prince is carried into a house, gets better and receives a gift from the Beastmaster. It seems this was cut as it slows down the movie and gives information about the boy only - who is not one of the main characters, anyway. There are also smaller cuts along the way, sometimes due to violence. Anyhow, go get "The Beastmaster" in this longer version!
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