My Favorite Movies #44 – Willow

Willow - Poster.jpgWillow

1988

Directed by Ron Howard

Quick synopsis… After finding a baby adrift in a river, a dwarfish “Nelwyn” named Willow (Warwick Davis) must protect it from an evil queen (Jean Marsh), battling dragons and vanquishing evildoers with help from the warrior Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) in a bid to shield the infant from harm. Ron Howard directs this George Lucas-produced fantasy-adventure that received a pair of Oscar nods for sound editing and visual effects.

  • All right… How many of you out there remember or have seen this movie?
  • Don’t be ashamed, it’s okay…
  • *crickets*
  • I remember seeing this in the theater when I was a kid and thinking it was great.
  • However, when Willow was featured in an episode of The Goldbergs last year, I got the impression that it is not a film that’s remembered fondly.
  • Is that a fair assessment?
  • I’m really asking… Let me know in the comments what you think.
  • Because I still think it’s kind of awesome.
  • I mean, it’s very 80s and the effects haven’t aged well at all.
  • But I still think it’s a fun and entertaining movie to watch.
  • Warwick Davis stars as the title character, Willow.
  • I always think it’s kind of funny when a title character receives third billing in the credits.
  • In this case, Davis is only listed after Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley.
  • It happened to Christopher Reeve in Superman, too.
  • But he was an unknown when he was cast as the Man of Steel.
  • Though, to be fair, do you know who Warwick Davis is?
  • I mean, unless you’re a huge Star Wars geek…
  • He played Wicket, the Ewok who befriended Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi.
  • How’s that for a deep dive in the trivia?
  • A baby girl is born and she’s prophesied to be the one who will eventually bring about the downfall of the tyrannical Queen Bavmorda.
  • I’m not sure how the government in this country works, because when the baby is sent downstream like Moses and is found by Willow’s kids, he wants to push the baby further down the river and pretend they never saw her.
  • That tells me they’re not too concerned with the queen or her prophesied demise.
  • Soon after, a village celebration is interrupted by a pack of dog-like creatures that are tracking the baby.
  • It should be pointed out that there are a number of classes of people in this fictional world.
  • Willow and the people of his village are called the Nelwyn.
  • If this were Tolkien, they’d be considered hobbits or dwarves… without the mining operation.
  • Average sized human folk are called Daikini.
  • The baby Willow found in the river is a Daikini baby.
  • All the more reason for him to want to push the baby downstream.
  • She’s a Daikini baby, therefore she’s a Daikini problem.
  • There are also Brownies… people who are roughly a foot tall.
  • Oh, and fairies are real in this world, too.
  • Realizing the dog things are after a baby, Willow rushes home to make sure his wife is okay.
  • They decide to bring the baby to the village council, where Willow is given the quest to return the baby to a trustworthy Daikini.
  • This leads to Willow meeting Madmartigan (Kilmer), a disgraced Daikini warrior.
  • Adventure ensues…
  • Willow and Madmartigan are joined by two Brownies who initially kidnap the baby and take her to the fairies.
  • Willow is told that the baby’s name is Elora Danan, destined to become the empress of Tir Asleen.
  • He’s then tasked with finding Fin Raziel, a great sorceress who will help them on their journey and help Elora to fulfill her destiny.
  • Madmartigan falls in love with Queen Bavmorda’s daughter, Sorsha, thanks in part to some kind of love powder accidentally given to him by the Brownies.
  • It takes a little while, but eventually Sorsha falls for Madmartigan as well, betraying her mother and helping Willow and the baby.
  • Another memorable character is General Kael, one of the bad guys working for Bavmorda.
  • He’s particularly memorable because he wears a mask made from a skull.
  • The whole thing is pretty epic in scope.
  • In fact, I’d love to see this world expanded upon at some point.
  • Maybe, now that Disney has the rights thanks to their purchase of Lucasfilm, we’ll see a series on Disney+… maybe a new movie?
  • There was a trilogy of books written in the 90s that take place after Elora Danan has grown up.
  • I’ve never read them… but that’s mostly because every review I’ve read for any of the books on Amazon have been overwhelmingly negative.
  • On a personal note… I have to ask… What’s the deal with the Daikini people referring to the Nelwyn as “pecks?”
  • I can only assume it’s a derogatory term, drawing on the fact that, in terms of measurement, a peck is a fourth of a bushel and, therefore, smaller.
  • But my name just happens to be Peck…
  • I knew a guy once who knew this movie and would occasionally, in good humor, tell me, “Out of the way, Peck!”
  • Always made me laugh.
  • I’ll also admit that I kind of had a crush on Sorsha as a kid.
  • Not sure if it was because she was the bad guy…
  • I had a thing for the Baroness on G.I. Joe, too.
  • But she was a cartoon.

Okay, really… Willow is available on Disney+, so if you haven’t seen it yet, get on that. And let me know what you think of the movie in the comments down below. Next week, if I’m able to stick to the schedule, come back for The Rocketeer.

 

One thought on “My Favorite Movies #44 – Willow

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s