Directed by Peter Yates
The Beast and his army of Slayers have come to the ancient world of Krull to conquer it and now Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) must save his bride of ancient name Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) with the help of a ragtag group of escaped prisoners in order to defeat this galactic menace.
One of the best science-fiction fantasy films out there. Not THE best but one of the best. It was definitely one of the weirder offerings from the mid-80s, but it is so good. And it was directed by the great Peter Yates who helmed the classic Bullitt. This movie has nothing in common with Bullitt and was yet another attempt by Yates during his career to avoid being pigeonholed. The man was not afraid of creative risk and experimentation.
Star Wars gave way to a period of studios willing to try any slightly weird science fiction and fantasy concept in order to get their own very marketable success. Krull was born in this era of weird creativity. While not a success originally, it has gone on to obtain cult status. And deservedly so.
Krull packs in a great deal of story into its 90 minutes. That is both a good and a bad thing. On the good part there is not very much filler at all in this movie. Most everything serves the story be it character development or events. On the negative side some things felt a bit rushed through.
One of the rushed through elements is the relationship between Rell the Cyclops (Bernard Bresslaw) and the bumbling magician Ergo the Magnificent (David Battley). The moments they share together felt genuine and Yates did create a bond for the characters, but it was all done so quickly that it was almost a waste to even include it. Maybe another five or ten minutes onscreen to expand on it a little.
This is a fun action adventure film. It is as much a swashbuckling movie as it is a slice of science fiction. The world of Krull is firmly rooted in fantasy but the Beast and the Slayers are as much a supernatural thing as a science-fiction enemy. The Beast has conquered worlds throughout the galaxy and its fortress is even seen at the beginning moving through space. The Slayers also appear to use some type of ray weapon but when wounded they become these squid-like things that burrow into the ground. It is an unusual mix to be sure.
Colwyn is the picture of the dashing young adventurous prince. They cast well in this part. And you can tell that Mr. Marshall is having fun with the character. Lysette Anthony looks as if she stepped out of a fairytale.
Liam Neeson (Kegan) and Robbie Coltrane (Rhun but his voice was dubbed over by actor Michael Elphick for some reason) both appear here in early roles. These are two fantastic actors and even in their first significant outing they brought the goods. In fact the whole cast was excellent. They understood what the material was and gave it their all.
One of the best effects shots is the Crystal Spider when Ynyr (Freddie Jones) must journey to his former love the Widow of the Web (Francesca Annis) to learn where the Beast’s fortress will be next. That thing still impresses me to this day. It is a great example of the use of stop motion in a fantasy setting.
From capturing and riding the Fire Mares to reaching the Black Fortress to the assault on the fortress itself the films finale is rousing and exciting. It looks like fun as battle scenes in action adventure films should. And the Glaive was one of the cooler looking weapons to make it to film. It was a bit of an Excalibur but rather than be found in a lake it was found in lava.
Krull is a great film. It is a fun action adventure movie that is sure to please. It is a movie that you must watch at least once in your life.