13 January 2012

10 insane images from Krull.

I clearly remember seeing the trailer for Krull in a movie theater when I was a little kid. I was super excited to see this movie about Space Robin Hood. Just look at the thing. It looks amazing. I don't know if I saw the movie in the theater or not but I do know that I watched it a dozen or so times on HBO and loved it enough to make my own cardboard Glaive and spend a lot of time running and jumping around pretending to be Space Robin Hood.  

That was during the long ago way backy time of 1983.  For you children out there that don't know anything, the only thing important that happened in 1983 was Return of the Jedi.  Krull came out in the summer of '83 after Return of the Jedi.  It really did not matter how good Krull was, it just could not make a dent in Jedi.  I mean, Space Robin Hood is about as good an idea as the human brain is ever going to come up with but it ain't gonna put a dent in Luke Skywalker fighting Darth Vader, Han Solo leading an army of Care Bears and  Princess Leia choking out a space slug in a metal bikini.  Sorry Krull, you never had a chance.  Hollywood has been trying to top that magic for almost thirty years and has not even come close.  

But you gotta give Krull credit.  They tried really hard.  Like soooo many movies of the 80s they tried so hard to capture the George Lucas and/or Steven Spielberg sci/fi box office magic.  But magic ain't easy and it sure ain't cheap.  They spent at least 10 million dollars more making Krull than Lucas spent making Return of the Jedi.  

Let me just say that again.  They spent at least 10 million dollars more making Krull than Lucas spent making Return of the Jedi. 

And that's when a million dollars could buy you stuff.  And if you watch Krull today,  you will see that money up on the screen.  I don't think the Krull production crew understood that the whole point of special effects is that you don't really have to build a whole dang space planet.  You can uses miniatures, and matte paintings and all other kinds of movie magic.  Nope, them Krull guys just went ahead and built some of the most amazingly ridiculous and expensive sets ever built.  Let's take a look at some of them.  Shall we?  Yes, lets! (And I do highly recommend that you "click to enlarge" cuz these suckers do look great in biggie size.)
Here we have a space princess trapped inside Steve Ditko's eyeball.  Genius.
Here we have some people on the way to see the Dread Dormammu
This would be one of the more conservative shots of the film.  Just Space Robin Hood and his Merry Men on a stroll through some giant trees.  If only there had been Ewoks and speeder bikes. 
Just wow.
Just say nope kids. 
My favorite Yes album cover
A guest appearance by the mother of the Kwisatz Haderach is always a good idea in a sci/fi movie. 
They actually launched a second sun into the sky for this shot.  Again, $10 million more than Jedi. 
No wait.  This is my favorite Yes album cover. 
They actually got a nice deal on this one from some guy named Saruman but it turned out the thing had termites.

The movie holds up pretty well today.  It's not what I'd call a good movie but it's very enjoyable to look at.  The story is super simple.  Very little plot.  Basically Space Robin Hood, Qui-Gon JinnHagrid and some dude that looks like Dio go to save the princess from a Doctor Strange villain.  And as far as plots go, you don't need anything more than that.  That is Shakespeare level stuff right there.  But the execution is very clumsy.  It is very slow and feels very old.  The direction and pacing feel like something from 1953 instead of 1983.

A lot of movie execs in the 80s thought that they could just throw 10s of millions of dollars at a sci/fi idea and end up with a Lucas and/or Spielberg styled blockbuster.  And haters can crap on those "New Hollywood" era boy wonders but those guys could catch lightning in a bottle in a way no one has since.  And here is what is super crazy-  The Krull producers hired a British director that did not know crap about making a sci/fi blockbuster.  You know who directed Return of the Jedi?  Richard Marquand, who (God bless his soul) was a British director that did not know crap about making a sci/fi blockbuster.  (And by directed, I mean that George Lucas pretty much ghost directed the thing through him but still, Lucas magic folks.)  You can't buy magic folks but sometimes you can stand close enough to it to learn some tricks.

So watch Krull and pretend it came out in the 50s and you will be blown away.  Plus, it has almost the exact same James Horner score as Star Trek II.  James Horner came up with about one film score that was not terrible so I don't fault the guy for using it twice.
Oh, and it has a cyclops and flying space ponies.  Rad.

And oh number two-  you can totally watch Krull on Netflix instant play right now. See there.  I just made someone some money.  Capitalism everyone!  America F yeah!  Suck on it SOPA!

* Sources include Wikipedia and my brains.

Your best pal ever,

Shannon Smith

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