..

KRULL

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Freddie Jones, Francesca Annis, Liam Neeson
Director: Peter Yates
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French, Spanish, Portuguese Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 121 Minutes
Release Date: April 3, 2001

Film ***

I can still remember the countless time I visited the local arcade, back when Atari was the reigning champion of the video game industry. One of the most popular games at the time was Krull, which of course was based on the movie of the same name. The film itself is a marvelous and entertaining mixture of science fiction adventure and medieval fantasy, a genre that was really given a boost after the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies had breathed a new life into moviemaking. Such films of this nature include The Beastmaster and Dragonslayer. Krull contains a cast of mostly unknowns, with the exception of such actors as Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane, who have since then gone on appear in numerous films. It all adds up to a rousing, highly entertaining adventure made perfectly for Saturday afternoon.

The movie takes place on a faraway planet named Krull, which is a land of beauty and elegance. The film opens with a ceremony to wed Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) and Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony). The wedding is then interrupted when a deadly, futuristic race known as The Slayers, who travel in a spacecraft which strangely resembles the monster asteroid from Armageddon, kidnap Lyssa and terminate the king. Colwyn, though now designated the king of Krull, has no kingdom to rule, and even worse, the love of his life and future wife is being held captive by an indescribable beast, which leads The Slayers. So Colwyn rounds up a group of men willing to battle The Slayers, then they plot to overthrow the alien race, who retreat at the Black Fortress, and plan to take back the kingdom and the universe.

Krull is about as gleefully junky as any movie of its kind can get. I mean, how many adventure movies manage to mix in futuristic adventure with medieval times as if the two ages existed hand and hand. You know youíve come across a pure guilty pleasure when the filmís hero is able to climb an entire rock mountain with no harness or assistance whatsoever, but hey, this is a fantasy, so why do I even quibble at that gesture?

The most memorable element in Krull is perhaps the weapon that Colwyn uses. It is known as The Glaive, which is the key to destroying the beast leader of The Slayers. It has a boomerang look to it, only instead of Nurf rubber at the end of each tip, this baby has little blades on each tip. Itís a great looking weapon, and one of the great things about Krull. I also admire the look of the movie, too. Each scene in Krull seems to have a memorable and distinct look to it. Plentiful settings are seen in the movie, such as a castle, country landscape, a swampy forest, a spiderís web/cave, and the Black Fortress, which very much as a unique look to it. The cast of Krull seems to be having a blast of a time. Ken Marshall, who I had never seen before, had done mainly stage work before this movie, and I bought him as the courageous Colwyn.

In the end, Krull is simply wonderful escapist entertainment, which is made to thrill and woo us, and it does a fantastic job. Filled with some impressive special effects for a movie from the 80s, and some dazzling, elaborate sets, this is one movie that players of Dungeons and Dragons will most certainly enjoy.

Video ***1/2

A stunningly impressive transfer from Columbia Tri Star. I havenít seen many of their pre-90s movies on DVD, but judging from the look of the transfer of this nearly twenty-year-old movie, they are extremely professional at taking old movies and making them look as good as new. Give or take a couple of soft images in some darkly lit scenes, the rest of the movie is absolutely sharp and crisp, and anamorphically enhanced to perfection, as well.

Audio ***

I was a bit skeptic as to how this film would turn out in the audio department, and the results exceeded my expectations entirely. The disc uses both 5.1 Dolby Digital and Dolby Surround channels. The Dolby Digital presentation is as perfect as it can get, though many of the old sound effects donít seem to be remastered in anyway, but I suppose it was the best the studio could do. Other than that, the sound quality is quite impressive.

Features ****

Another Special Edition from Columbia Tri Star for the time capsule. The studio has loaded this disc to the fullest, which features two commentaries. One featuring the cast and crew, and the other featuring behind the scenes secrets that reveal what went into the process of creating the movie. Also included is the original behind the scenes documentary, titled ďJourney to KrullĒ, photo galleries, trailers, and a neat look at the Marvelís adaptation of the movie, a feature Iíve never seen on a DVD before.

Summary:

Krull is fun, escapist entertainment, nothing more and nothing less. It wonít give you anything to think about, but it will thrill you nonetheless. A nice mixture of science fiction and medieval adventure.