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A demon who seeks to create eternal night by destroying the last of the unicorns and marrying a fairy princess is opposed by the forest boy Jack and his elven allies in this magical fantasy. Two different versions of this picture feature soundtracks by either Tangerine Dream or Jerry Goldsmith.Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Early on, Ridley Scott worked with Alan Lee as a visual consultant who drew some characters and sketched environments. However, Scott eventually replaced Lee with Assheton Gorton, a production designer whom he had wanted for both Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982). Scott hired Gorton because he knew "all the pitfalls of shooting exteriors on a soundstage. We both knew that whatever we did would never look absolutely real, but would very quickly gain its own reality and dispense with any feeling of theatricality". See more »
As Lily's sword cuts the unicorn's chain freeing it, Jack shoots his arrow at the Devil and you can see the arrow strike his neck on the left side. However in the next shot you see that Jack has not yet released his arrow. See more »
Neither country proverb nor King's command could keep me from the woods, today.
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Ridley Scott's preferred 113-minute "director's cut" was finally released to the U.S. on DVD in 2002 with the following additions/extensions:
Darkness' introduction is a bit longer (while still retaining his voiceover-only from the UK release;
Lily sings the full version of "My True Love's Eyes";
The clock-freezing vision from the U.S. version;
An extension of Lily visiting Nell;
Lily being called a Princess as it was in the UK version;
Jack's introduction is longer as Lily brings him biscuits which she stole from Nell's kitchen;
The Unicorn introduction is longer;
A unicorn trots circles around Lily just before she sings "Living River";
The Goblins invade the cottage, now frozen as the result of Lily's misadventure;
The Fairie sequence is longer (it is essentially the version of the scene as it played in the U.S. syndicated TV version);
The toast to Jack is longer;
Oona's introduction in the cave is longer;
Jack's encounter with Meg Mucklebones is longer;
An alternate version of the scene midway through the film where we first see Lily and the unicorn in the Tree of Darkness (an effigy of Darkness, not included in any previous version, can be seen);
The sequence where Jack, Gump and the fairies being held prisoner is longer;
A scene where Oona almost leaves Jack in prison but is freed by the other fairies;
An extension of the Demon Cooks scene (parts of the section where the cooks chop up a dead body can be seen in the opening sequence of the U.S. version);
An alternate version of "The Dress Waltz" (alternate shots of Darkness' effigy can be seen, and the sound mix of the sequence is different than in the UK version);
The voice of Darkness' Father is different than in previous versions;
Lily's confrontation with Darkness is extended;
Oona's thought line "you should see your Princess now" (heard in the UK version) is cut out;
The scene where Jack and the fairies splitting up in teams is longer (and thus explaining Gump's crystal ball in the "Darkness Fails" sequence);
An alternate scene where Lily sits down to dine with Darkness;
An extension of the "Darkness Fails" scene (Jack and the fairies running down the alley towards Darkness' cave and additional lines not used in any previous version);
Darkness falling into the abyss is seen (this was seen in U.S. theatres but not in the UK);
Jack picking up the alicorn and Gump explaining Jack's significance in his mission;
Jack finding the ring in the lake is extended slightly;
An alternate ending that suggests the entire film was a dream. This scene is where Jack finds Lily still asleep, giving her the ring, and the spell being broken, but when Lily wakes up she gives the ring right back to Jack and declares he belongs in the forest, and Lily promises to "come back tomorrow". Lily then sings "Reunited" (a reprise of "My True Love's Eyes"), and Jack and Lily go their separate ways. The film ends with Jack going off into the sunset alone, with the fairies looking on as the credits roll (previous versions have had both Jack and Lily going into the sunset); Jerry Goldsmith's original score is reinstated.
I will join the chorus... This is a beautiful, and thoroughly enjoyable fantasy film as long as you watch it in digital widescreen and do not bother with the 1hr 30min version. The Director's Cut(better known as the European release) is worthy of an IMDb rating of 8. The American theatrical release is worthy of a 6.5.
This is a fairly straightforward fantasy conceived and directed by Ridley Scott, one of the greatest mainstream directors of our time. The story follows a young man who lives in a forest (Jack, played by Tom Cruise) and a spirited young princess (Lily - Mia Sara) who is in love with him. The lord of darkness (Tim Curry) has sent forth his minions to capture the last two remaining unicorns so that he can banish light from the world forever. Unicorns are attracted to innocence, and so they find themselves in Jack and Lily's company just as the dark lord's play begins to unfold. Before long, Jack and his magical forest friends must save Lily, the one remaining unicorn and the world from the grasp of the dark lord at any price.
Even the lengthier director's cut goes by just a little too quickly. But it's pace is not comparable to the incredibly hasty studio chop-job of the American release. The story is epic, but the medium is not. All considered, however, the production team did a great job given the length limits afforded for the film.
Cruise does pretty well with a role that must have been a little hard to interpret. Jack must behave as a hero, a young man who has learned most of his lessons from nature, and a teenager to varying degrees throughout the film. Mia Sara is delightful a Lily. Tim Curry and David Bennent (Honeythorn Gump) get pretty close to stealing the show. In all, the acting is fine, but the star of the film is really the camera.
Scott has often proved his ability to create immersive experiences in worlds which are somewhat alien (no pun intended) to his audience. Legend does this perhaps as powerfully as his most far-out films (Alien, and Bladerunner). The cinematography, editing, and special effects are exceptionally good, and make the fairly average plot glow. Each scene is a work of art.
Highly recommended for fantasy fans, Ridley Scott, Tim Curry and Mia Sara fans and those interested in artfully presented effects. Recommended for fans of Pan's Labyrinth and Mirrormask. Weakly recommended for Tom Cruise fans.
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