Krull isn't really S&S any more than it is swashbuckler and Sci-fi space opera. I recall seeing this one in the cinema when it came out. I think I liked it enough to buy both the atari game and a card game.
While the plot is fairly standard, as the prince Colwyn has to save his kidnapped bride, Lyssa, from the alien creature known as the Beast, its all the genre-mixing elements that stand out.
The beginning is a little slow as Colwyn and the lovely but very young Lyssa's wedding takes place in a kingdom that looks plucked from the late middle ages. But the wedding gets crashed by stormtrooper-like Slayers, with laser spears. Colwyn seems to be the only survivor and he is nursed back to health by an old wise man who takes him to find the magical glaive.
If you remember anything about this film it is the glaive, the ultimate fantasy weapon, a giant shuriken with retractable blades. Unfortunately, after getting the glaive, the plot forces Colwyn to save it till the climax.
The acting is generally good, although the ernest prince Colwyn is a bit bland. The special effects are all good and the Beast can be downright scary at times.
The Beast lives in a fortress that teleports itself around the planet each evening making it almost impossible to find. Most of the quest is the heroes trying to find a way to predict its location, a pretty cool concept.
Colwyn finds a magician named Ergo the Magnificent, who provides comic relief in a pythoneque manner, but manages not to get annoying. His magic is mostly transforming himself into animals. He even proves himself pretty adept at the climax by taking the shape of a tiger to defeat some slayers.
They encounter a band of bandits, who prove to be a little too virtuous for cutthroats in these supposedly peaceful kingdoms, who join up. Some famous actors are present, but mainly Liam Niessen, as a travelling bandit with a wife in every village. But almost all of the bandits get personalities and when they die off it has some meaning.
The most memorable character is Rell the Cyclops. The make-up on his ever blinking eye is well done. He is the silent strongman and his heroic sacrifice in the climax is gut-wrenching.
Another highlight is a side-quest where the Old Man visits the widow of the web, his former lover, who is guarded by an awesome stop motion giant white spider. Again the self-sacrifice of both characters proves touching.
In fact, one problem is that Colwyn doesnt really seem worthy of all the more worthy characters sacrificing themselves for him.
Overall, Krull is a great film, that holds up really well on rewatch. In fact, Im really not sure why it was not more successful.
I'll speculate that it came out on the coattails of the Star wars franchise from which it borrowed some elements. The lead actor, while good looking in a beard, isnt the best (you wonder if Liam Neissen would have been better in the main role, but he was unknown at the time)
I'm really not sure why it was such a flop on release because it is really a pretty good movie.
I love me some Krull.
This is one of those VHS covers that always called out to me from the rental store and for some reason I never rented it. I think I saw ads for it on TV and I would tune in but it was halfway through and I couldn't follow it. So it was sometime in the 2000s before I ever sat and watched it on DVD.
The genre mashup is what I would say drew me in. Like you say it begins in a castle with medieval warriors and then a black fortress from outer space arrives on their planet with troops that look like the D&D Warduke shooting Stormtrooper blaster bolts. Krull is the name of the planet, right?
And then it's like the Magnificent Seven only instead of defending a town they're storming a castle. It reminds me of what John McTiernan said about Predator
, that it wasn't supposed to be a good movie. It might have even gone straight to video. But every aspect of it was just a little better than it should be. The alien makeup, the effects, the actors, the one-liners, the music, the action, the way it's cut together, and it becomes a standout movie. Krull could have been Colwyn and a half dozen guys with swords, but instead it's a cyclops, a shapeshifter, a wizard with an evil witch for an ex, Liam Neeson as a highwayman that gets redeemed.
And then they have to go to the spider web, they go to a quicksand swamp or something, they have to retrieve the Glaive from the heart of a volcano. Everything is just kicked up a notch.
Colwyn is a bit flat. I was surprised to find that he played on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
as the Starfleet traitor Eddington who enjoyed a decent run as a guest star. The actor, Kenneth Marshall, is apparently a big musical stage actor with a great voice.
I think I was little drunk when I watched this for the first time because I was so amazed at the end when Colwyn finally confronts the Beast with the Glaive and it doesn't work, and then Colwyn learns that he can control it with his mind, and then shoot fireballs with his mind, I was like what in the holy hell is happening here? But I loved it!
Not only was it not a hit but it doesn't even seem to be a cult hit with much of a following. Kind of like another 80s favorite of mine, The Ice Pirates.