Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Legend (1985)

Fig. 1
Ridley Scott's Legend is a fantasy adventure film. Its fairytale sets are like scenes from a child's dream! Scott's original influence came from Disney animations, in fact he wanted to work alongside Disney to produce the film, but was turned down as the studio felt Scott's depiction would take a too darker tone. From fantasy forests to quaint villages to mythical swamps to dark, evil castles - Legend has it all! Practically ever genre is represented through the different locations, hence gaining praise and criticism from many critics for its set design. The films plot centres around a love story between Jack and Lily, who are living in a fairytale love story, until the 'Lord of Darkness' wages war upon the land and seeks to make night forever by marrying the princess, Lily. So just your basic fairytale romance and 'shockingly' ends in Jack saving his princess and the world from darkness. Complicated stuff!!! Although the plot leaves a lot to be desired the set design is to be commended, just due to the way it captures fairytale perception of the locations in their purist/truest form.
Fig. 2
Rob Bottin's creature design by make-up is magnificent and really captures the essence of evil within the 'Lord of Darkness's' appearance. Its enough to scare any young children! The goblins, fairy and other mythical creatures are just as enticing and its clear a lot of thought has gone into the different elements for each creature. Variety suggests, "Kids of all ages should be entranced by the magnificent make-up effects of Rob Bottin and his crew, from the smallest elves to the giant Darkness. The latter is unquestionably the most impressive depiction of Satan ever brought to the screen. Tim Curry plays him majestically with huge horns, cloved feet, red leathery flesh and yellow eyes, plus a resonantly booming voice." (Variety 1985) Variety commends the film to be a success and states the success is down the the character development, the creature and set design. The reviewer goes into specific detail to give its readers a clear picture/ an insight of what is to come. The scenes can be so easily translated into concept paintings right in front of your eyes it is unbelievable!

Vincent Canby argues, "He's created a series of fancy, plastic sets that keep the eye busier than the mind or the heart. When he runs out of dandelion fluff, he fills the air with cherry blossom petals and, later, with snow so fine and glisteny it looks to be sugar, plus 1,500 icicles made of resin and hot wax." (Canby 1986) Canby is stating that the film's set design is all style and no substance, making a mockery of the atmosphere and the overall effects of the set locations. Perhaps he has a point, possibly stating that there's no meaning or not a strong enough plot behind Scott's vision.

Fig. 3
Roger Ebert harshly states, "Despite all its sound and fury, "Legend" is a movie I didn't care very much about. All of the special effects in the world, and all of the great makeup, and all of the great Muppet creatures can't save a movie that has no clear idea of its own mission and no joy in its own accomplishment." (Ebert 1986) Yet another critic who is to criticise Ridley's vision. Condemning the plot and characters, clearly stating that the film isn't to everyone's taste. 

List of illustrations

Figure 1. Scott, Ridley (1985) Legend Movie Poster. At: (Accessed on:9/11/11)

Figure 2. Scott, Ridley (1985) Lily and Unicorn in the Fantasy Forest. At: (Accessed on:9/11/11)

Figure 3. Scott, Ridley (1985) Lily (evil). At: (Accessed on:9/11/11)


Variety (1985) Legend. At: (Accessed on:9/11/11)

New York Times Review Vincent Canby (1986) Legend (1985) The Screen: Ridley Scott's 'Legend'. At: Tomatoes (Accessed on:9/11/11)

Roger Ebert (1986) Legend. At: (Accessed on:9/11/11)

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