North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Chronam.
The Tar HeelThursday, May 26, 198815
Famitasy-adveinilty ire film 'Willow' hots the screen
George Lucas fails to duplicate tried and true movie formula
Once you come up with the win
ning formula for a movie, the temp
tation to stick with it must be very
great. Unfortunately for Ron How
ard and George Lucas, the director
and screenwriter of "Willow," too
much reliance on a proven formula
makes for a stale replica.
In its set of main characters and
plot, "Willow" closely follows "Star
Wars," with two differences: "Wil
low" takes place on a fantasized
medieval earth rather than a galaxy
far, far away, and "Star Wars" is an
In "Willow," the story of a band
of renegades who set out to shield
a young princess from an evil empire,
two characters share the Princess Leia
role: a princess-to-be baby girl and
Realistic special effects, strong acting bring enchanting story to life
YouVe heard the previews for
almost a year: " 'Willow:' an epic
adventure from the creator of 'Star
Wars' and the director of 'Cocoon'
. . . Coming May 1988." Well, May
1988 has arrived and so has "Willow."
Was it worth the wait? The answer
is undoubtedly yes.
George Lucas, the man who
brought you the "Star Wars" trilogy
and the Indiana Jones series, has
created yet another magical world to
enchant and amuse you. With Ron
Howard as the director, "Willow" is
the best two hours of fun to come
along in ages.
Many critics have given the movie
bad reviews, calling it a disappoint
ment or worse. Indeed, the movie has
been hyped for months and may leave
some viewers expecting too much.
But those who go to "Willow" with
an open mind and a desire to be
entertained won't be disappointed.
The first of the summer movies,
"Willow" is a fun, action-filled, fast
paced sword-and-sorcery adventure
THE YOGA PLACE
Make peace with your body, mind and spirit
N.C.'s largest and oldest school of yoga
HANNAH CAROTHERS, Director
SUMMER SESSION I May 31 - June 30
SUMMER SESSION II July 12 - August 11
Don 't miss the sweat, the tears, the joy, the deep serenity
TUESDAYS WEDNESDAYS THURSDAYS
12:00 Beginning 12:00 Beginning
6:00 Continuing 6:00 Beginning 6:00 Continuing
7:30 Beginning 7:30 Continuing 7:30 Beginning
DROP IN STUDENTS WELCOME AS SPACE PERMITS
Easy, safe walk from campus 452 'A W. Franklin St. since 1975
Call for free brochure 967-9686
'Yoga lives where pragmatism and mysticism meet. ' Hannah
the daughter of the evil Queen
The casting department struck gold
in the expressive face of the baby
playing the younger princess, though
shots of her reactions become routine
after a while. But the striking Princess
Sorsha, who falls for Willow's human
companion Madmartigan and
betrays her mother, gets short
changed by the script. The quickness
with which she switches sides seems
awkward another testimony to the
laziness of the film-makers.
for everyone. Kids and adults alike
will marvel at the special effects the
movie possesses and become
engrossed in this enchanting, good vs.
As the movie begins, the evil Queen
Bavmorda rules over a Tolkienish
land filled with hardships and suffer
ing. A child who ancient prophecy
says will end the evil and begin an
era of good and prosperity has been
born. Queen Bavmorda's armies
search for the baby in order to destroy
her soul and ensure Bavmorda's
However, the infant princess, Elora
Danan, eludes the armies and falls
into the hands of Willow Ufgood, a
member of a peaceful, farming society
of munchkinlike people. Willow
In most of Lucas films, ordinary
humans have the lead roles, but here
a dwarf named Willow Ufgood
(Warwick Davis) plays the hero as
a member of a miniature race. His
sympathetic face as well as his natural
acting style easily win the audience
over. But the choice of real dwarves
to play featured non-human races
probably sounded better on paper
than it looked on the screen.
No cartoon medium or make-up
job separates the viewer from a
dwarfs actual appearance. As a
result, the close-ups suggest a freakish
image in our real society prejudiced
against those who do not look
ordinary. With this intrusion of
reality, the intended mood fizzles.
Willow's magical powers and wits
undertakes a perilous journey
through lands of forests, ice and
deserts to return the child to her
Along the way, Willow is joined
by Madmartigan, the greatest
swordsman in the land; a pair of 9-inch-tall
forest people known as
Brownies; and a sorceress, Reselle,
who is trapped in the body of an
animal by a spell.
During their journey, Willow and
company encounter trolls; a two
headed, fire-breathing creature; huge
ratlike dogs; magic spells; love
potions; and much more until the
climactic ending in Bavmorda's
The movie is a visual feast of special
effects. The viewer will believe that
the 9-inch-tall Brownies are actually
It brings out
in all of us.
ionti im o
r I tTi I III
ll I I i In 1 il.j I i In -w
allow him to take part in the battles
between normal-sized humans. It is
in those battles that the filmmakers
allow themselves the greatest expres
sion of creativity through magic.
But both the fantasy and science
fiction genres require the creation of
an entirely new fictional world,
particularly in movies. Lucas used to
be good at this, but in "Willow" he
does a mediocre job.
The main creatures all have human
forms and differ only in size. Two
chipmunk-high "Brownies" step into
almost exactly the same roles played
by R2-D2 and C3P0 in "Star Wars,"
providing some very funny moments
but sometimes appearing in an all-too-predictable
The background scenery consists
standing beside the 3-foot Willow
an illusion created by special effects.
The ending in the castle tower with
lightning, rain, people flying and
other events may seem real, but it is
all done through special effects. With
more than 400 different effects
created at Lucas's Industrial Light
and Magic factory, "Willow" is sure
to set the industry standard for special
effects for years to come.
The movie's star, Willow Ufgood,
is played by Warwick Davis, an 18-.
WERE FIGHTING FOR
ff ft tt " ft ry ft V r
fFUN WEEK COUPON
I Prime Rib Buffet wsa lad bar
24 lb. burger wlpotatolhome-
made bun $1.49
Make your own Pizza Master-
piece-up to 14oz!
20 toppings $1.49
AZ each additional oz. &3Vt)
mostly of conventional woods instead
of imagined landscapes. The castles
are huge and detailed, resembling the
usual Middle Ages models.
Lucas' light and magic has never
been flashier, particularly in transfor
mation scenes. Still, magical events
like the final scene receive no fictional
explanation like the "Force" did; they
Though not a bad movie, "Willow"
shows a lack of imagination, partic
ularly in comparison with the earlier
work of Lucas. Like the final magic
act Willow uses to outwit Queen
Bavmorda, it is more a routine trick
than a spectacular act of sorcery. One
good thing may come from it, how
ever, if bad reviews force Lucas to
stop resting on his laurels.
year-old British midget, who brings
a sensitivity and a center to the movie.
The evil Queen Bavmorda comes to
life thanks to British character actress
Jean Marsh. The husband and wife
duo of Val Kilmer and Joanne
Whally play Madmartigan and Prin
cess Sorsha, respectively, a pair of
warrior enemies turned lovers.
Let the child in you enjoy "Wil
low." Escape the world for two hours
and follow Willow on his journey.
You won't be disappointed.
American Hoart ff)
H v rTv H 'I tl n 'T T Pv rj rj 7T 'T rT rj t ft
157 Rosemary St