Monday, June 7, 2010

One Minute Review- Legend

You ever get the sensation of too much tranquillity? Like being in the woods on a beautiful day with butterflies fluttering and birds chirping and other miscellaneous things floating about and it just takes it out of you? It reminds me of a famous Richard Pryor quote, "There's something about the woods that just makes you want to...s**t." Ridley Scott's Legend from 1985 suffers from tranquillity overload. It has golden hues, unicorns galloping in slow motion, fairy's glowing in the sky, pedals falling in slow motion, water glistening, Mia Sara, and enough soft focus to make the lightest of eyelids hang heavy.

That's the light side of the story. As the opening credits reveal, the universe exists due to a balance between light and darkness, this balance creating legends. Think about this though, if light came along and banished darkness into an underground abyss, how is that balance? Isn't that light triumphing over darkness and casting it aside? If there were balance wouldn't the two get along and work towards achieving the same desired ends? Forget it. The darkness is ruled, no kidding, by The Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry, under so much make-up that it's of little consequence whether it's actually him or anyone else). The darkness is made up of hammers thundering against metal, sparks flying and fire bursting out in every direction (which is kind of the opposite of darkness if you think about it, but no matter). The story involves some such business about how unicorns keep the world in light and Lord wanting to kill the last two.

This is all undermined by the fact that the hero (Tom Cruise) is an afterthought behind Scott's relentless visual muck. Legend is a film comprised of nothing more than thin air. There is not one meaningful thing that happens in it; not one speck of continuity and not one character who is remembered long enough throughout the duration of the film to amount to anything meaningful.

There is though, an interesting Celebrity Connection:

Could that fairy really be Taylor Swift in disguise?


  1. It has been so long since I saw Legend that I completely forgot Ridley Scott made the film. Nice review, I agree that there was nothing really memorable about this film at all. For some reason my mind always jumps to Ladyhawk when people reference Legend. I guess that film just stuck out more when I was younger.

  2. I wonder if the director's cut does anything to improve the film or just adds to it's badness. I don't think I have the heart to find out.

  3. "The Director's Cut" is the original European version, which features the slightly longer edit, and Jerry Goldsmith's original score, some of it written before filming, and is a far more robust, if often twee, score. Universal, like they did with "Brazil"--much to terry Gilliam's consternation, so he shamed them into releasing the original-- prepared a shorter film, with a somewhat non-committal Tangerine Dream score, and that's what American audiences saw...not soon after the premiere of "Top Gun," as I remember.

    Goldsmith's score is definitely an improvement, but Scott, when push came to shove, especially at this time in his career, was more than willing to abandon his film to the distributors, and jettisoned the score. After the prickly scoring sessions Goldsmith had to endure on "Alien," this was the last straw and he was determined never to work with Scott again. Scott likes to call Goldsmith a "genius" in his commentaries, but he really pissed all over him.

  4. You're good, Mike. You're very good. I didn't see the Taylor Swift thing, but she's a dead ringer.

    It's been awhile since I reviewed a real stinker, and this looks like the perfect choice...

  5. Thanks but I'm a little sad. There is a close up of the unicorn with it's hair waving over half it's face and it looked just like Justin Beiber, couldn't find the screen cap though.

  6. I agree it's pretty much a disaster for the most part, but I did take a couple thing away from it - Rob Bottin's make-up, particularly for Tim Curry's Lord of Darkness is amazing, and that one instant of Mia Sara reaching for the unicorn feels like the moment Scott wrapped the rest of the movie around, if that makes sense. I guess I mean despite the soft focus (which you nail perfectly in your description), it strikes me as the one genuine moment in a film bereft of any substance.

    Great "minute" review!