STARRING: Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty

1988, 110 Minutes, Directed by: Ron Howard

Collaborative effort between George (
Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark) Lucas and Ron (Cocoon) Howard.

An eclectic bunch of elements is thrown into the stewing pot - much like what Lucas did with Star Wars. Val Kilmer as the hero looks like Conan the Barbarian but acts like a clumsy Han Solo; the chief Villainess looks like a real-life version of the evil queen in Disney's Snow White; the chief baddy looks like Darth Vader. Willow is well, a Hobbit.

There are even some fairies like Tinkerbell. The plot involves a mythical messiah who will rid the land of the despotic queen's rule. All the first-born are summarily killed, except for the messiah-like figure who is set loose in a cane basket to float down a river and . . . well, you've got enough unobtrusive Biblical imagery to go around.

The problem is that Lucas can't do for Willow what he did for Star Wars. While there's a lot of action and laughs to keep the kids safely entertained for the film's rather long running time, the thing is that we've seen this sort of thing before and it just can't beat Star Wars' freshness. But maybe that's an issue of chronology and not necessarily the film's fault . . .


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