A world light-years beyond your imagination.
I’ve got a convention that I’m going to over the weekend after this goes up, and I was trying to come up with a movie that would both be enjoyable, and also attempt at getting me hype for that convention. There was a brief flicker of a thought to do one of the Guyver movies, but neither of those is something I would call good, and I kind of want something good as well. So, after some deep thought I settled on one that’s somewhat older, that I have already seen and know it’s fun for me to watch, and introduced the concept of a glaive to people long before ninjas ever took to space. Strap on your laser spear and tighten up your leathers, it’s time to go visit Krull.
Krull is an interesting movie that I don’t think I entirely understood the first time I watched it. It isn’t that the movie is hard to follow - heck , the plot is very much similar to the typical adventurous fantasy movie of the day. The part that makes it a bit strange is the odd blend of fantasy elements - heroes with swords and axes and leather armors riding about on horses with a quest of magic and danger - with the science fiction - an enemy from beyond the stars and his army of laser-spear shooting bug-alien minions fighting plastic-suit clad knights. It’s a mix that actually works pretty well, but if you aren’t ready for it it may throw you off balance enough to let a lot of the spelled out and rather typical moments slip through the cracks of your mind and leave you a bit lost. That said, this time around I had no such issues, getting to notice more details than even the last time I happened to watch it - and this time around, it was even in HD.
Before I get to that though, the pacing here feels rather placed right in the middle of the standard adventure flick, with travel scenes and talking scenes mixed in with fighting and surviving. It works fine enough, but may lead to some perhaps being a bit bored inbetween moments that are filled with more thrills or excitement. That plot I mentioned before is also pretty simple and straightforward - largely banking on the power of love, complete with a damsel in distress that was common of the day. It is worth pointing out that despite being captured for practically the whole movie, the princess is one of the first characters to make solid brave moves towards the beginning of the film, even commenting on helping out numerous times despite being relegated largely to the background of any action during the run. It’s a bit of a thing of it’s time as it were, and doesn’t bother me at all because I’m used to that sort of thing in many a movie - but for those who want to attack anything that doesn’t have a super strong female lead, they might not enjoy this one as much.
To that thought, the actors actually do a pretty good job here. There’s a few moments where perhaps something that’s obviously an effect added in later might be a little off from the actors reactions, but that’s hardly a fault of the actors as much as it could be labeled a failure of the technology at the time. The most difficult acting job had to go to the cyclops character though, who plenty of times gives the impression on screen that their prosthetics made it pretty hard to see things, given the few fumbled attempts to pick something up that are on screen still - nothing real enjoyment breaking or as disastrous as a boom mic dropping in the shot, but it was an interesting thing for me to notice. Beyond that though, characters have a pretty good chemistry , even if the on screen interaction time can be short for a few of the side-fodders that doesn’t make it through the journey. The main male lead has a very charismatic grin, even if at times it feels perhaps a bit off when he’s doing it - although it could equally work as him just being cocky at the time. The female lead does a good job of being a stable and strong character despite her situation, even if she doesn’t get a whole lot to do when it comes to the physical side of action.
The HD quality of my copy actually impressed me most the time. It looks darn good on my projector, and although I wouldn’t call it as pristine looking as the Alien Bluray compared to the Alien DVD, it would make it a lot easier for a modern audience to enjoy with how focused they are on the quality of things and their looks. Some scenes don’t seem to get the same amount of polish though, and every now and then you’ll get a shot that looks a bit blurry or up-scaled. It’s hardly enjoyment breaking, but worth mentioning anyways I feel. Miniatures when used look quite nice, and most the time the mix of practical and real elements blend nicely as well. Even when they might not look good, the effects still benefit from the HD upgrade as well, so even if it looks bad it looks good being bad.
The effects themselves are rather wide ranging here as well. Costumes get a nice mix from futuristic plastic suits of the knights (going off of looks, not actual construction), and the evil alien looks of the enemies. The movie can be a bit violent at times as well, often closing in to a nice close shot when someone good or bad gets stabbed - and it isn’t anything intensely grotesque in the lines of gore or the likes, but somebody getting stabbed in the neck up close is still that even if you remove most the more extreme elements. The most brutal looking effect in lines with the costumes would probably the enemies disintegrating into the ground, releasing some weird alien worm-bug when they do it. One time actually includes some face bloating - but this is as good a time as any other to also point out that not all the effects blow past your reality bar. Some, like the bloating face, are rather obvious in their fakeness, but it goes further than that as well. Being an older movie, things like the lasers and sparks can look pretty good - but often times when you have an effect taking place behind an actor, you can see the roto-lines around the part blocking the effects. To people not of the time who haven’t gotten to see that sort of thing, you’ll notice it when you see some bold lines around parts like a hand. Other times - often when dealing with fire - it can look rather dated with how it interacts with anything else but the fire. It’s an old movie, I don’t hold it against it I just point it out because some might.
Audio is a good balance. You hear anything, even if you potentially don’t quite catch what someone said (there was one line I missed). Actors do a good job with throwing some feeling into their lines, even if the progression of the movie can have them be a bit quick to change their stance on something when it comes to mood or action. Plenty of nice sound effects are used, giving that laser shot we’d expect and plenty of satisfying impacts as well. The enemy death-screams are a nice touch to help them feel even more alien monster as well. In the music department, it’s a scored affair, but adventure movies have such a way of being enjoyable to listen to regardless of if it sticks in your head after. I don’t need to watch ten minutes of travel on horseback, but at least it sounds incredibly victorious and exciting while I’m forced to.
I enjoy this movie. It’s an interesting execution, especially when it’s really the first movie I can remember that was this sort of blend of sci-fi and action that I saw. Yes, I know something like Star Wars came out first, but I did not see that first as far as I can recall, and honestly this movie always felt far more fantasy with the trappings of science fiction as opposed to Star Wars blend of very science fiction with elements of fantasy. Interestingly enough, you’d be far more prone to enjoy this if you are a fan of the older adventure movies than the just mentioned movie, but I do think a rather wide range of people could sit down and enjoy this. There is a spider scene, even if it is fake, so that’s something to keep in mind - and it might merit a pre-screening based on violence to judge if it’s appropriate for a younger audience. Some of the effects get pretty dated, but overall the transfer to HD was quite nice to it, and if you just want to have fun there’s totally worse ways to spend two hours.