Swords, Sorcery, romance, epic battles and a kind of magic, Marking the start to a massive franchise that has seen it’s ups and downs, This is Highlander.
Today’s Key Movie:
A race of immortals battle it out over the centuries for The Prize in a fight where there can be Only One. Starring Christopher Labert, Sean Connery, Roxanne Hart and Clancy Brown, this is Highlander.
Why this movie?
This was an instant classic in my house growing up. The thought of an immortal race of warriors battling it out through time was so much awesome that we could not believe it could be contained in one film. Here was a movie that not only had a cool scifi tone but also embraced history using the Scottish Highlands as a backdrop for the main character. That combined with Sean Connery in one of his most classic roles, how could you not love it?
This was one of those films that had us playing in the school grounds acting like Immortals on our quest for the Prize. No matter how old we got, the lure of immortality kept us coming back as we dove into the lore and legacy that this film provided. This was an experience like no other and we were obsessed.
So, you like this film but is it really any good?
In a word, Yes. 1986 was a great year for cinema with films like Aliens, The Fly, Short Circuit and Stand By Me hitting the screens but this film managed to do something special, something that set itself apart from the others. Combining elements of fantasy, romance, action and sword & sorcery, this film is able to balance all of these genre’s by by creating a believable world with fully realized characters.
This film is a prime example of something many good movies lack, great world building. From the beginning you are introduced to a world unlike you have ever experienced, a world where there is a race of immortals who have been battling through history for something so powerful that there can only be one to claim this prize. Almost immediately the suspension of disbelief is firmly in place and you find yourself believing that such a world could actually exist in our own beyond the site of mere mortals. What I love most about this world is that, while we find ourselves witnessing an ageless battle, we see that not not every immortal is out to get one another, some are, if fact, friends having spent centuries enjoying their lives training for the eventual Gathering.
It is through this lens that we come to care for Conner MacLeod (Lambert) and his journey through time. While the main story takes place in the ‘modern day’, we find ourselves bouncing in and out of the events that make Conner who he is when we first meet him. These flashes into his past introduce us to characters such as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Connery) and the villain The Kurgan played by Clancy Brown. Both Connery and Brown inject an incredible amount of believability into their roles making them both almost upstage Lambert every time they are on screen. While this would be an expectation for a well established actor like Connery, this film introduced most of us to Clancy Brown in his classic role as The Kurgan. To me, there is hardly a better villain on screen than The Kurgan and Brown, who would appear in many more films and tv series, including doing voice work for the animated Superman series as Lex Luthor, makes this role his own through and through.
Everything else in this film from the special effects to the script, hold up well even over thirty years later. While some of the film techniques are dated, giving the film a very 80’s feel, none of the shots take away from the intensity and veritas that this film manages to have from start to finish. In fact, they may actually make the film that much better. One other aspect that really sets this film apart from others is the incredible soundtrack provided by Queen. While an official soundtrack has yet to be released, the Queen album ‘A Kind Of Magic‘ serves as the unofficial entry with even the albums title being mentioned in a key scene.
Overall, I would be hard pressed to recommend a better action/Fantasy film than Highlander. You will find yourself laughing, cheering on the heroes and even finding that you might have a little dust in your eyes at times. This is an extremely well made film that really holds it’s own in every way possible. Should you venture into the realm of the Highlander, be ready for an experience like no other. Sadly this film would lead several weaker sequels and a clever but flawed television series that serves as a proper continuation of this very film, so, unless you really loved the film like I did, you could stop with this one and be fully satisfied by it’s brilliance.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This is one that will likely never go out of print seeing that it has a fandom like no other. You can grab a copy here on Bluray for around $10 and, while your at it,you should treat yourself to a copy of the Queen album as well. Trust me, you will want the music once you finish the film.
As always, here is the trailer:
Late To The Game 10/31/2019
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