This appears to be the third installment of an unofficial series of posts involving fantasy films I grew up watching back in the 1980s. We began with Time Bandits, then moved into the world of Legend, and today’s reverie concerns the wonderfully fantastic classic Krull. I can’t remember the first time I watched Krull, but I’ve seen it enough times that it’s become a film that’s just always been around in my life.
This film is classic, straight-forward fantasy with touches of science fiction thrown into it. It was an ambitious film when it was released in 1983, boasting with impressive sets constructed at Pinewood Studios, which made it quite an expensive film at the time. With its mix of science fiction and fantasy, the film appeared to be trying to attract a Star Wars type audience, but unfortunately it would tank at the box office. Why? I mean, this film has a lot going for it: adventure, romance, swashbuckling, magic, lasers, the glaive, a large spider, a James Horner score, and an over-dramatic Liam Neeson death scene. I wonder if Liam Neeson even remembers being in this film, or does he just take IMDB’s word for it?
We are on the planet of Krull, where the Black Fortress has landed. The Beast resides in the fortress, which travels to worlds around the galaxy and then invades them, enslaving the inhabitants. The Beast is too difficult to destroy, because the Black Fortress only stays in one spot for a day before transporting to another random location. This makes the fortress difficult to find, and no one has faced the Beast and lived.
Meanwhile there are two kingdoms on Krull that decide to put aside their differences and unite in an attempt to take on the Beast. Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa decide a marriage between them will form an alliance between their feuding families. However, the Beast sends his army of Slayers, who crash the wedding ceremony and kidnap Lyssa before the ceremony is complete. The Beast wants to marry Lyssa and rule galaxy.
And so the adventure begins. After the Slayer attack, Colwyn is the only left alive. An old man, Ynyr, has come down from the mountain to find Colwyn and assist him in finding the Beast. First, Colwyn must find the glaive, an ancient weapon that is his best shot at defeating the Beast. Along the way, they encounter a band of robbers and form a small army in their journey (Colwyn promises to erase their criminal records if they join him). There’s also a cool cyclops who joins in on the fun as well. So they all join together as they attempt to find a seer who can predict where the Black Fortress will be so they can find it and rescue Lyssa. And the Beast is always throwing curveballs along the way.
It is interesting to view an older film like this in modern times. Lyssa is a straight-forward damsel in distress. She fully relies on Colwyn and the men around her to fight for her, unlike today’s heroines who aren’t afraid to fight for themselves and not count on their man to save them. But at the same time I find that I still enjoy a classic fantasy adventure, and Krull seems to fulfill that. Just like in Legend, the sets are imaginative and other-worldly, and you really feel like you’re transported into another land and time. And sure, Krull has its cheesiness and over-acting, but that’s also what makes it a fun watch. So if you love fantasy, you should definitely be checking out Krull.