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  • Andrew Pratt
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 16507


    Having seen a sneak peek of the DVD last weekend I thought I'd post this "review" from the canoe site and add my own comments to say that for an older movie it has withstood the test of time very well. The extra's show clips of interviews with a very young looking lucas and some of the morphing technology they pioneered for the movie. Anyway if you haven't seen the movie in a while I recomnd you give it a go.

    Willow is worth it
    1988 morality tale broke significant ground in film-making technology
    By BRUCE KIRKLAND -- Toronto Sun
    With a loose clutter of images and ideas from unofficial sources as disparate as the Biblical story of Moses, the fairytale saga of Snow White and the adventure legend of The Lord Of The Rings, Willow stood tall in 1988.

    Even with a star who stood only three-foot-four.

    Englishman Warwick Davis, in his first real dramatic role after playing a furry Ewok in some Star Wars episodes, charmed a generation with his courage and grace as Willow Ulfgood. He was a heroic Nelwyn creature who lived in a fantastical world and struggled to protect a baby whose fate would determine whether good could triumph over evil. Currently, he's playing Prof. Flitwick in Harry Potter and The Philospher's Stone, the mega-hit of the year.

    Willow, the Ron Howard/George Lucas movie, also broke significant new ground in technology by introducing what its creators call the Hollywood cinema's first successful digital-morphing scenes. That in turn led to The Abyss, Terminator 2 and, eventually, the widespread and now revolutionary use of computer-generated imaging, or CGI.

    That's a big history for such a sweet little moral fable. Yet it explains why Willow is being released as a Special Edition DVD tomorrow by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Fox has done an excellent job with this handsome widescreen DVD, with one quibble: The special-features menu, with its bland yellow highlighting, is awkward to use.


    As for the movie itself, Willow is no classic, although it managed to sneak into the Cannes Film Festival 13 years ago. Yet it does qualify as charming, beautiful and occasionally moving in surprising ways. This is largely because Davis is so wonderful, not least in his ability to tame Val Kilmer's excesses. Where Willow falls down is in some of the non-digital special effects, such as the silly two-headed, troll monster and the big sorcery battle at the climax of the piece.

    Davis, only 18 when he shot Willow, does the feature-length commentary here. He offers a thoughtful, informative and sometimes playful session in which he explains himself and gives insight into the Howard-Lucas style of filmmaking.

    The personal anecdotes are best, such as when he confides how challenging it was to learn horseriding, swordfighting and other skills. "But hardest of all, I had to learn parenting skills, which taught me how to hold a baby correctly, how to feed a baby, and worst of all how to change a nappy!"

    Two documentaries flesh out the experience. The 21-minute Willow: The Making Of An Adventure dates from 1988 and covers the usual behind-the-scenes stuff. Most interesting is Lucas, who says: "I'm interested in fantasy and, in order to make fantasy work, you have to create a kind of immaculate reality that exists for the moment of the movie."

    In the 2001 documentary, From Morf To Morphing: The Dawn Of Digital Filmmaking, we see specifically how Willow changed the history of special-effects filmmaking by serving as a transition film between old techniques and CGI.

  • George Bellefontaine
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Jan 2001
    • 7637

    Nice report,Andrew.I've only seen this in the theater and wasn't really overwhelmed by the film, but I think a re-visit will be worth while.

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    • Markj
      Senior Member
      • Aug 2000
      • 323

      I have been looking forward to this release. Thanks for your post Andrew.


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