(Originally Posted on 9/19/2017)
When I was a kid I watched a lot of movies, I still do, but as a kid television and movies were a major part of my life. They were an escape from my life. My childhood wasn’t great, in fact like many of us, it was downright miserable at times. Movies and television allowed me to escape that. It allowed me to go places outside of my reality. (Books, music and Video Games would later end up in that mix but that’s not what this is about.)
There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Todays Key Movie:
Today I am discussing Willow, a 1988 fantasy film starring Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer. Directed by Ron Howard, with a story by George Lucas, this movie follows a young Willow Ufgood, played by Warwick Davis, in his, undesired, mission to return an infant to her people. Sounds simple enough right? Unfortunately for Willow, he is quickly swept up in a kingdom spanning adventure that leads him to meet the rouge Madmartigan, played by Val Kilmer, face the vile Queen Bavmorda , played by Jean Marsh, and eventually allowing Ufgood to become the hero and magician he so desires to become.
Why this movie?
Willow at its core was a movie about believing in oneself. At the beginning of the film, the hero Willow Ufgood had doubts in his abilities as a magician. Although he is quite talented, his self doubt leads to his failure to obtain the coveted position of ‘magicians apprentice’ year after year. He is teased and ridiculed by the village bully and, in turn, other pick on him as well. His wife and children see his skills and abilities but he can not see them for himself because of his abuse at the hands of the local villagers, particularly one by the name of Burglecut. It takes an unlikely adventure and mortal danger to find his inner strength and, in doing so, he realizes the person he is inside. Burglecut even gets a little comeuppance in the end, but I won’t spoil it for you.
How did this translate to real life?
As a kid I was picked on, and even beaten up, for being a ‘geek’ and a ‘nerd’. It was the 80’s and such a thing was not a good thing to be. (Jokes on them though as being a ‘geek’ and a ‘nerd’ has paid off in the end.) While I did manage to get out of my shell, I was picked on quite a bit for being who I was back then. Willow, in this film, was the butt of many jokes and teased by the ‘stronger’ villagers but in the end, he came out on top because he persevered. He never gave up, no matter how hard it got. Because of my past, I have struggled with self doubt for much of my life. Even while having a fairly successful career in retail, I still sometimes have trouble believing in myself from time to time. It’s heroes like these that give us (me) that little inspiration to keep pushing forward.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
Okay, fair enough, some films I like are really bad flicks, like The Gate. It’s terrible, but Willow certainly has stood the test of time. Directed by Ron Howard, this film has everything, Adventure, Romance, Swords, Sorcery and a great soundtrack by James Horner. Unfortunately it’s a little hard to find these days and copies are getting more expensive as time goes on. Hopefully now that Disney owns Lucasfilm, we will see a definitive edition released.
OK, where do I get this movie?
Like I said, copies are getting harder to find (Heck, its not even available in digital format) but you can still get physical copies on Amazon. The least expensive copy of the DVD special edition will run you around $20 (w/shipping) but good luck finding a bluray copy as they are pretty rare. The Special Edition is remastered and they did quite a good job at it too. Rated PG, so you should have no worries about the kiddos watching, and running at a little over 2 hours, this is a film everyone should see at least once.
Here is a link to the Amazon page if you want one, trust me it’s worth it.
Late To The Game 10/4/2018
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
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