Legend: Limited Edition [2-Disc]
(Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, Billy Barty, Robert Picardo, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / (1985) 2021 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: After changing the face of science fiction cinema forever with Alien and Blade Runner, director Ridley Scott turned his visionary eye to the fantasy genre, teaming with writer William Hjortsberg (Angel Heart) to create a breathtaking cinematic fairytale with one of the screen’s most astonishingly rendered depictions of Evil.
In an idyllic, sun-dappled forest, the pure-hearted Jack (Tom Cruise) takes his true love Princess Lili (Mia Sara) to see a pair of unicorns frolicking at the forest’s edge.
Little do they know that the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry, in a remarkable make-up designed by The Thing’s Rob Bottin) has dispatched his minions to capture the unicorns and sever their horns so that he may plunge the world into everlasting night.
After Lili and the unicorns are taken prisoner, Jack must team with a group of forest creatures and descend into Darkness’ subterranean lair to face off against the devilish creature before it is too late.
Blu-ray Verdict: Jack (Tom Cruise) and Lily (Mia Sara) are young friends in a mystical land occupied by goblins, fairies, all-important unicorns ... and threatened by the evil machinations of the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry).
Along the way Jack will be joined by other heroes like Gump (David Bennent), Screwball (Billy Barty), and Brown Tom (Cork Hubbert) as they take on the challenges facing them, and work to figure out a way to defeat Darkness.
Since Legend is directed by master stylist Ridley Scott, it’s not surprising that it looks great, with production design by Assheton Gorton and cinematography by Alex Thomson.
Written by William Hjortsberg (whose other credits include The Georgia Peaches, Thunder and Lightning, and Angel Heart), it does dawdle somewhat at times, and soon thereafter becomes clear that it doesn’t really contain a lot of story line.
Still, it’s a reasonably engaging adventure that also benefits from a truly stifling atmosphere at times, and characters that are generally amiable without being fleshed out very much.
The special effects are well executed, with makeup effects expert Rob Bottin (The Howling, The Thing, and Total Recall) doing some extremely impressive work, especially the incredible visage that he and crew create for Curry (I mean, you certainly don’t recognize the actor at all!).
All the main actors are appealingly sincere, with Cruise and Sara representing characters of innocence rather nicely. In addition to Bennent, Barty, and Hubbert, we have Alice Playten as a nasty goblin named Blix, Peter O’Farrell as pig-faced Pox, Kiran Shah as Blunder, Annabelle Lanyon as the fairy Oona, and top character actor Robert Picardo (another performer you won’t recognize) as a hungry witch named Meg Mucklebones, but Curry is the true M.V.P. of the production, looming over all with a performance of pure seductive evil.
Personally, I really like how the film has some underlying tones of coming of age and the loss of innocence which is reflected in both the fantasy world and both Jack and Lilly, as we see the beautiful fantasy realm turned into a dark foreboding icy hell.
There is even a beautiful dance scene where Lily is dancing with a dark figure and then suddenly both become one basically Lily’s loss of innocence.
There’s also some biblical allegory at play here, in a way you can say Jack and Lily are like Adam and Eve, and the fact that the land has turned is much like Adam and Eve’s own fall from grace.
Available here on this just-released, limited edition 2-Disc from Arrow Films, you get your choice of Legend viewing in two cuts: the butchered North American release, running an hour and a half with a Tangerine Dream soundtrack, and the richer European release / directors’ cut that runs approximately 24 minutes longer, and boasting a majestic Jerry Goldsmith score.
Although it’s been said that kids might dig this one, it is indeed true that this is more of a fairy tale for adults, with elements too intense and sinister for the youngest of your family.
In closing, if you have enjoyed other 1980’s fantasy features down the years - such as The Dark Crystal, Willow, The Last Unicorn, Leprechauns, Addams Family, or the mighty Labyrinth - and find them to be beautifully crafted, well-spun tales you can envelope yourself nicely within, you will also really enjoy this one as well. A genuine classic and make no mistake. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
– High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentations of the U.S. Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut
– DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 stereo audio on both cuts
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both cuts
– Illustrated perfect-bound book with new writing by Nicholas Clement and Kat Ellinger and archive materials including production notes and a 2002 interview with Charles de Lauzirika about the restoration of the Director’s Cut
– Large double-sided poster with newly commissioned artwork by Neil Davies and original theatrical artwork by John Alvin
– Glossy full-color portraits of the cast photographed by Annie Leibovitz
– Six double-sided postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
– Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Neil Davies and original theatrical artwork by John Alvin
DISC 1: US THEATRICAL CUT
– New 2K restoration of the US Theatrical Cut from original materials including a 4K scan of the original negative
– New commentary by Paul M. Sammon author of Ridley Scott: The Making of His Movies
– 2002 Reconstructed isolated score by Tangerine Dream
– Isolated music and effects track
– A Fairytale in Pinewood, new featurette interviewing grip David Cadwalladr, costume designer Charles Knode, co-star Annabelle Lanyon, camera operator Peter MacDonald, set decorator Ann Mollo and draftsman John Ralph
– Incarnations of a Legend, comparison featurette written and narrated by critic Travis Crawford
– The Directors: Ridley Scott, 2003 documentary where the director discusses his career, including Legend
– “Is Your Love Strong Enough?” music video by Bryan Ferry
DISC 2: DIRECTOR’S CUT
– Commentary by Ridley Scott
– Creating A Myth: Memories of Legend, a 2002 documentary with interviews with Ridley Scott, William Hjortsberg, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, Rob Bottin and others
– Original promotional featurette
– Alternate ‘Four Goblins’ opening and ‘The Fairie Dance’ deleted scene
– Storyboard galleries for three deleted scenes
– Two drafts of William Hjortsberg’s screenplay
– Alternate footage from the overseas release plus textless footage
– Trailers and TV spots
– Still Galleries