(1988)

Critic Reviews

47

Metascore

Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
63
Its pacing is too deliberate, and it doesn’t have a light heart. That’s revealed in the handling of some characters named the Brownies, represented by a couple of men who are about 9 inches tall and fight all the time. Maybe Lucas thought these guys would work like R2-D2 and C-3PO did in “Star Wars.” But they have no depth, no personalities, no dimension; they’re simply an irritant at the edge of the frame.
60
Empire
Willow is not without its charms - the effects are more than special, the set-pieces suitably epic but it just doesn't fulfill the promise of certain other fantasy films.
60
Built on fantasy stereotypes – friendly little folk, evil witches, misunderstood heroes, guys on horseback with bloody great swords – it nonetheless contains enough epic action, narrative momentum and spit-and-sawdust pre-CGI special effects to hold the attention.
60
Los Angeles Times
Willow is a perfectly agreeable tale of magic, little people, heroic warriors, babies among the bulrushes and a wicked queen who must be overthrown lest the world be engulfed in evil. If it evaporates from memory with the airiness of a bubble bath, at least it leaves a friendly glow and a sense of a magical world lovingly evoked. [20 May 1988, p. c1]
50
The New York Times
And Willow, a pleasant but bland character, doesn't often inspire much sentiment, so the film lacks an emotional center. In place of this, it relies on so much overstatement and repetition that it's possible to grow tired even of the adorable baby.
50
Chicago Tribune
Directed by Ron Howard and produced by George Lucas, the film seems to mark the final paroxysm of a genre-the big-budget fantasy-adventure-that dominated American filmmaking for a decade but has recently been weakened by changing tastes, altered economics and sheer exhaustion. It's less a movie than a collection of morbid symptoms: a labored, arrhythmic narrative; a pathetic dependency on recycled themes and borrowed images; a sour, self-mocking humor that suggests the end is near. [20 May 1988, p.2]
40
Every aspect of WILLOW seems as if it were written in stone before a shot was filmed. The plot grinds on inescapably to its predictable climax, with the viewer fully aware of what awaits long before the events unfold.
40
Willow is medieval mishmash from George Lucas, a sort of 10th-century "Star Wars" tossed together with a plethora of elements taken from numerous classic fables. Even if Lucas has bastardized his own story with derivative and unoriginal elements, kids probably will love it. For MGM Pictures, b.o. should mean recoupment of its large investment.
40
This is pretty much the Lucas mixture as usual, this time in a Tolkien mode, with everything from the Old Testament to Kurosawa to Disney fed into a blender and turned into wallpaper. For easy-to-please five-year-olds of all ages.
30
Producer-for-Life George Lucas puts his awesome creative machinery to work in Willow, a would-be adventure of little people, big people, good guys and bad. But the fantasy wheels grind to a halt, bogged down in Lucas' flat, derivative story, and not helped in the least by director Ron Howard's clumsy steering.

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