Alright. Back to a high production standard fantasy film with no kinks in the narrative. Yep. Just knights, maidens, spaceships, and monsters. Sigh. It is going to be like this, isn’t it? Krull is a 1983 sword and sorcery film that leans heavily on the mixed genre of science fantasy. Within the shell of the conventional medieval knight and dragon tale lies a planet invaded by aliens with technology not that far from Star Wars plagiarism.
Krull tells the story of two kingdoms who, in their attempt to unite their lands through marriage to oppose a rising force of monsters known as slayers, are thwarted by the very things I just mentioned. During the marriage ceremony, Lyssa, the princess that has been prophesied to have a child that will rule the galaxy, is kidnapped by the beast, a colossal monster who resides in a floating mountain that has just parked on the planet. Are you ready? Are you ready for some fucked up fantasy? Lets do this!
As with most of these 80’s fantasy films, the hero protagonist, Prince Colwyn can not undertake this rescue mission alone. No, the young Prince is aided by a sage mentor, Ynyr the Old One. The two set out to get the princess back. Wait. No. They first have to go to some mountain and get a sparkly boomerang. Alright, off to the princess. Wait. Before that they are joined by an ineffective magician named Ergo. Alright, the three of them set off to…plus nine more convicts lead by Torquil. The twelve of them…plus an Emerald wizard and his boy companion…the fourteen of them…plus a cyclops…oh for fuck’s sake…minus one emerald wizard killed by his own evil clone. The group of protagonists finally set off to get the princess back…I mean go to the Widow of the Web to find the big fortress. Come the fuck on gentleman can we move this plot along?
If things seem a bit over encumbered, it is natural. Krull, while having the pacing of a dry British fantasy, is incredibly slow only punctuated by short bursts of impotent action. Aside from some breathtaking shots of climbing mountains, the majority of action scenes take place on a soundstage in a visually unappealing bog. Additionally, the plot backs itself into a corner by reminding the viewer that this is a futuristic planet so all sword fights are accompanied by energy crackles. To be honest, the whole futuristic kingdom is only seen in the first ten minutes and for all intents and purposes, it falls back into line with standard high fantasy. When your movie is more interesting during the bits of dialogue and seeing Liam Neeson in a supporting role, then things are destined to fail.
Sidenote — where is this fair princess you may ask? Just trapped inside a surreal marble maze where the villain tries to swoon the fair maiden through trickery. Listen, if you are the leader of a giant monster army and you have the power to fly through fucking space on a mountain, why waste your time on one backwoods maiden? Why not enlist a harem of supple four armed aliens who lust for power and are turned on by your grotesque out-world being. I’m just saying. This whole plot goes against a possible horny boyhood fantasy. It doesn’t make sense.
Ynyr the Old One travels to a cave to enlist the advice of the Widow of the Web — an old croon who resides in a gross spider egg sac encircled by an even grosser giant white spider. The croon turns out to be Ynyr’s former lover who also confusingly enough has the same name as the princess trapped in the fortress. Whatever. Alright, let us speed this up. Old Croon dies. Ynyr dies but not before telling them where the fortress is. Why? I don’t care, we need to move this along. The remaining group travels on mystical Clydesdale that leave fire in their wake. A dozen Firemares, 1000 leagues, and fucking 14 hours later in this movie the group shows up at the fortress with only 30 minutes of the movie remaining. Come the fuck on gentlemen.
For as long as Prince Colwyn took in acquiring his merry band they sure fall like toy soldiers during this final fight scene. More than half of this group is culled in a series of not so perilous action. Whether by spear, laser, wooden stake, or crushing door most of Colwyn’s men are swatted like pesky flies. Thanks a lot. The prince finally reaches the summit and does an NES style battle with the beast by sending his telepathic boomerang flying everywhere. Hey asshole, why not fucking use that weapon before when your friends were dying? If things seem unable to get any worse, after losing the glaive (AKA the best weapon ever in the history of film) the princess reminds Colwyn that it wasn’t the best weapon in the history of film but himself that defeated the beast. Colywn proceeds to shoot goddamn fire out of his hands. Hey dickhead. That would have sure came in handy like all the time. In fact, the last 36 hours of this movie could have been avoided by roasting everyone at the wedding. Intrusion. Barbecue. End.
Krull ends as obnoxiously as it began and includes the promise of a sequel by reminding the audience their child will rule the galaxy. My wife wanted me to add in something in the vein of Krull rhyming with dull or how the movie Krulled at a snail’s pace. There you go honey. Thanks for sitting through this one. It only took three days to finish. Krull is close to one of the most pointless sword and sorcery films of the 1980’s about to go toe to toe with Red Sonja as the most sleep inducing. The battle of boredom rages on.
Released: December 27th, 1983
Directed By: Peter Yates
Stars: Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony
Score: 2/9 Hammers