Legend (1985)


I would really only suggest “Legend” to the hardcore fantasy aficionados. It might even be a little too heavy for “Lord of the Rings” fans. As a kid I loved watching what Ridley Scott gave movie fans, but I never quite understood it until years later. Scott touches on some heavy concepts both philosophical and spiritual, and he does so with a palette of monsters and unicorns. Director Ridley Scott composes a rather brilliant and dark fantasy epic about the concepts of light and dark, and good and evil. In truth, “Legend” is a twist on the tale of Adam and Eve, except with more fantasy, magic, and monsters.

“Legend” is a great fantasy epic (with a memorable score by Tangerine Dream, to boot) about balancing out the good and evil in the world and in ourselves. Tom Cruise is very restrained as the hero Jack, whose love for animals comes in jeopardy when he finds darkness overtaking it. Since unicorns are the keepers of light, Darkness is intent on murdering them, thus enveloping the land in the dark. Not to mention the unicorn horns hold a great magic that can help Darkness obtain ultimate power and the respect of his demanding father. Mia Sara is fine as the princess Lili whose own disregard for her environment makes her a danger to the world and the balance, as the Goblins from Darkness seek out the final unicorn.

Lili is the character consistently forced to do battle with her urges and lust for recklessness, as Jack retains hope that she can maintain her humanity, and perhaps garner a newfound appreciation for their world. Tim Curry is also excellent as the Darkness, a vile and creepy villain with humongous black horns, and large fans, who thrives on evil and violence. Curry is nearly unrecognizable in the role of vile demon, absorbing the amazing make up and prosthetics from Rob Bottin. Bottin realizes this world with both awe inspiring heroes and grotesque monsters that do battle for the sake of their own personal gain. The Darkness is the most well realized of the narrative, posing an allegorical purpose, as well as a narrative one.

Truly the Darkness is a vicious and evil being, but you have to have evil to have good, and there will always be a new darkness to rise up because the universe needs that balance. Lili’s battle with her own alter-ego of pure good and pure evil allows for the most fascinating material in the story, as Mia Sara plays the role to perfection. It’s interesting to see how Lili will be damaged with the decisions she makes as this corrupted young girl preyed upon by the Darkness, and how Jack maintains his faith in her. Surely the symbolism can be heavy handed at times, but “Legend” is still a remarkable and bleak fantasy thriller for folks that like their fantasy based on thick characterization and less humongous battles.