Krull

krullYear: 1983

Synopsis: On the planet Krull, which was destined to be the seat of an interstellar empire, a malevolent alien invades to steal the raw power of the soon to be queen.

Pros:
• Had genuinely impressive and beautiful set pieces. It was a miracle no one was badly hurt filming the elaborate sequences with all the practical effects.
• Ynyr, the Old One (Freddie Jones), was a genuinely interesting character. It was was perhaps the only wise choice of the filmmakers to have him narrate the film and play a key role.
• The sequence of the widow in the web was genuinely breathless, as it was one of the amazing set pieces.
• Though it might confuse some viewers, the casual use and acceptance of “magic” did add a degree of realism, as most do not think much about the inner workings of their car in real life.
• There were some interesting details buried in the overwrought narrative like how the natural abilities and weapon-making skills of the local peoples would certainly be of use in an interstellar empire. The almost shrugging reaction to laser weapons, the local’s weapons holding up to the interstellar Beast’s weapons, and streamlined appearance of the castles did suggest a far more advanced civilization than it would seem on the surface.

Cons:
• Many of the actors felt out of place somehow.
• The characters felt either underdeveloped or not developed at all.
• 1980s James Horner soundtracks tend to be very copy-paste, basically sounding like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (1982) here with minor alterations. But to be fair, it was a great score.
• Much of the “true love” writing felt rather contrived, as the whole story felt utterly derivative of everything. Much, much less than the sum of its intricate parts.
• The forced comic relief.
• The passage of time in the film was vague at best and confusing at the worst. Even worse, the backstory goes into the Beast’s influence prior to the events of the film, but it was unclear if the Beast recently returned or arrived some decades before.
• Some characters seemed to bring on their own death by shear stupidity (not bothering to slash at the spikes or just quickly contort around), while others seemed to die due to falling in a plot hole (a laser blast to the shoulder killed some but not others).
• Considering how well that Glave took out multiple targets in a single throw at the end of the film, it really made no sense to never use it until then. Sorry, Old One …

Discussion:
“How could this happen? I was so careful. I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right!?” The Producers (1968)

Krull was certainly attempting to cash in on the popularity of sci-fi and fantasy at the time, especially Star Wars. Yet, instead of trying to make something truly new and different, the filmmakers attempted to repackage familiar narratives in the way George Lucas did. The problem was that George Lucas was one of the few filmmakers that could make something technically derivative feel instead new and fresh. J.J. Abrams was one of the few to succeed at this with Force Awakens (2015), but that successful effort was more built as a launchpad to a far less derivative narrative. That all meant that Krull was probably doomed to collapse under its own ridiculous weight from the get-go. In the end, though, Mell Brooks already taught us decades before that something can be so bad that it can ironically become good. Krull was so perfect in its overdone madness that it deservingly became a cult classic.


Digitized Article on Krull in Starlog Magazine

Rotten Tomatoes — 32%

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