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Legend is a 1985 fantasy film released by Universal Pictures, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry. It is a darker fairy tale and has been described as a return to more original, sometimes disturbing, fables, from the oral tradition of ancient times before reading and writing were widespread. Like the 5th century Aesop's Fables, and before the sanitized versions by Disney and others, traditional folklore contained harsh knowledge and beliefs in prose, proverbs, verse narratives, poems, songs, rituals, riddles, dramas, and myths. Although not a commercial success when first released, it won the British Society of Cinematographers Award for Best Cinematography in 1985, as well as being nominated for multiple awards: Academy Award for Best Makeup; Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award for Best Makeup; BAFTA Awards for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup Artist, Best Special Visual Effects; DVD Exclusive Awards; and Young Artist Awards. Since its premier and the subsequent release of the Director's Cut edition, the film has developed a cult following.
To wit: This is a movie about a Puck-like character named Jack (Tom Cruise, before he hit it really big) who wages war against the Lord of Darkness, a demon seeking to create eternal night in his fantasy kingdom by marrying the local princess (Mia Sara) and killing the last of the unicorns. A quest naturally follows, with the goal of saving the princess -- and along the way, the world.
While Billy Barty's appearance as a helpful goblin/dwarf/thing is understandable, casting Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness is simply begging for trouble. Cruise exhibits the likability he so often displays in films, and even Mia Sara isn't all that annoying. But very little of this can overcome a plot heavy on sparkly things, dancing, and endless slow-motion shots. And the film never really overcomes the limitations of being shot on a soundstage instead of in a real forest -- and you can tell, as everything always looks a little plastic. (As a side note, the stage actually burned down in the middle of production and it had to be finished on location.) You can even see the shadow of the fishing pole that drags the Tinkerbell-esque fairy through the scenes.
Now many complaints about Legend tend to be directed toward the version of the film released in the U.S., which is about 24 minutes shorter and features a 'hipper' soundtrack from Tangerine Dream (which I actually prefer) instead of Jerry Goldsmith's somber score. Now released on a special edition DVD, Legendheads can compare the two versions side by side, as both are presented in their entirety in the package. Scott provides a paternalistic commentary on his original, longer cut (which he is careful not to put down as 'better,' only 'different'), which is interesting if a bit self-congratulatory. A handful of other extras (including two 'lost' scenes not seen in either cut) round out the discs.
You gotta fight for your right to wear armor!