Willow DVD: Review By kerouac1

  • OVERALL
    4.0
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
One members of a race of little people, known as Nelwyns, is chosen to protect a special child who is supposed to end the reign of the evil Queen Bavmorda. To protect the child, Willow, the chosen Nelwyn, must embark on a perilous journey across the land, being pursued by Bavmorda's minions, and getting caught up in the war against Bavmorda's forces.

So that's the basic premise, and it obviously barrows heavily from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, but don't hold that against it. Once you get into it, you are able to forget the comparison and enjoy the movie. Based on a story written by George Lucas, Willow seems more like a Star Wars for the Dungeons and Dragons crowd than anything else. There's sorcery, swordfighting, and different races of people from the little Nelwyns, to Trolls, to the regular humans. It's got everything you could ask for in a fantasy film.

One of the films strongest aspects is its cast. Warwick Davis shines as Willow. He adds a sense of wonder and excitement at discovering the world around him that any good fantasy film NEEDS. He is the heart of the film, and he works. But for me, it doesn't get any better than Val Kilmer as Madmartigan. Kilmer is at his c*cky best in this role, playing with it. He improvised many of his lines, and it's evident that he was enjoying this character because he lights up the screen. You believe in his jaded swordsman, and you want so badly for him to do the right thing. Joanne Whalley is great as Bavmorda's tough daughter, and Pat Roach is down right menacing as General Kael. Add Kevin Pollock into the mix as the comic relief Brownie named Rool, and you've got yourself a great cast.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary by Warwick Davis

This isn't bad, but it isn't great, either. Having Ron Howard on the commentary would have been nice, since we don't get any of those "We did this because..." statements that make commentary tracks noteworthy. But Davis is a good sport throughout, and he adds some nice insight.

Still Gallery

Again, nothing special. These are becoming standard on discs, and they can be cool, but the novelty wears off fairly quickly.

Featurette: Willow - The Making of an Adventure

This plays like most "making of" featurettes on DVDS - a commercial for the film. But, it's still interesting and worth a look.

Featurette: From Morph to Morphing - The Dawn of Digital Filmmaking

This is the bread and butter feature of this DVD. Since Willow was the first film to use digital morphing technology, this featurette gives wonderful insight into the then fledgling technology. Great detail is used in explain how the effect was created, and that makes this featurette hold up on multiple viewings.

Trailers and TV Spots

Once again, standard stuff. But I love going back and seeing how vastly different the marketing of films use to be.
THE FINAL WORD
In my opinion, Willow is a great tale. Sure, it borrows heavily from other material, but what doesn't? Sure, it runs through the same vein as Star Wars, but it comes from the same creator. It's a wonderful film that can be watched, and enjoyed, by the entire family. That's a hard thing to come by these days. As far as the features go, they're a little weak. But the featurette on the advent of morhing technology is worth the price. This is a film that creates the sense of wonder and joy that both good fantasy and good storytelling should. It's a great DVD to add to anyone's collection. I highly recommend picking it up, making a big 'ol bowl of popcorn, and sitting down with the entire family.

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