Willow (1988) Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Warwick Davis, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes Movie Review

Willow (1988)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Warwick Davis in Willow (1988)

A Warwick Willow

As prophesied, a baby is born which will end the reign of the tyrannical Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) but aware of this prophecy and a child's birth the Queen has her henchmen hunting for it. It leads to the baby being placed on a small float and sent down the river away from danger where it ends up being discovered by the children of Halfling farmer and sorcerer Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis). Willow finds himself becoming protector to the baby as he ends up a quest to get the baby to safety where he finds himself accompanied by Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) a cock sure warrior.

It has been 25 years since I first watched "Willow" and I am still not sure how I feel about it. On one hand it entertains and is one of only a few fantasy, adventure movies which entertain me. But on the other hand if you offered me the chance of watching it I would be hesitant as whilst there is nothing really wrong with "Willow" there is nothing which really makes me feel like I must watch it again although ironically I have watched it more times than I actually realised.

Val Kilmer in Willow (1988)

What is interesting about "Willow" is that it clearly draws on themes from elsewhere and opens up with an almost biblical reference as like with Moses in the basket we have a baby girl put on a small float and sent down the river. But this then becomes a bit like a "Lord of the Rings" spin-off as we have Willow the Halfling on a quest to take this baby somewhere whilst acting as a protector. But it doesn't end there and writer George Lucas clearly draws on his Star Wars movies with not just Willow being a farmer with special powers but we have antagonistic romance between Madmartigan and Sorsha. In many ways the familiarity in "Willow" helps because it makes it light and easy to watch a lot lighter than many fantasy adventure movies which were to follow.

But whilst "Willow" is easy and enjoyable it just isn't memorable and that ironically may be down to is familiarity as not only do we have familiar story elements but we also have familiar characters, familiar music and even locations which whilst not directly familiar when they are combined with the music end up seeming to draw on other movies. Okay so it is memorable for some things and those include some dodgy special effects which with every passing year seems to become more entertaining for becoming even more dated.

What this all boils down to is that "Willow" is most definitely an enjoyable fantasy adventure movie and benefits from going for light and familiar. But at the same time it is one of those movies which because of that familiarity is forgettable.