Myth is the attraction of this fantasy

I have a soft spot for Krull (1983). It was critically maligned, and didn’t do big business at the box office, but the attraction of Krull for me is its purity. It’s centre of gravity is in the good, a substance somehow invisible, but tangible, and which energizes.

Krull is not the most professional piece of filmmaking, but it does have at its core the power of a good myth.

Mythical tones

Krull is like a combination of Excalibur and Star Wars, where medieval meets science fiction fantasy.

The planet of Krull has the hallmarks of a medieval setting, with lush country side, mountains, and desolate areas such as caves and craggy rock faces.

There’s armoury on the Slayers, riders on horseback, castles, kings, queens, princes and opposing tribes.

In terms of the influences of a film like Star Wars on Krull, there are laser weapons, a wise old man, a hero and a princess, and the influence of evil.

Good attempts to save the day.

The prince searches for a mysterious, powerful weapon, like the lightsabre that Luke Skywalker used, to destroy the beast.

It is also a myth of peculiar charm. It has its own lines of wisdom, philosophy, and ways, that make it peculiarly Krull.

The story of Krull

The story goes that a wicked beast roams the galaxy, seeking whom it may devour, with domination on its mind. The beast can change at will, and even appear to look good.

“There is no love in it,” says the film’s princess. This beast is a cold-hearted snake.

The beast lands on the planet Krull in a fortress. The beast’s soldiers, the Slayers, ransack a castle, leaving a prince wounded and his princess captured. With the assistance of a wise old man, the prince goes in search of his princess—who has been taken to the beast’s fortress—to bring her back, as well as destroy the beast. With the prince come a crew of supporters, one played by a young Liam Neeson, and another played by a young Robbie Coltrane.

The fighting scenes are a bit tinny. Krull is not perfect. But it’s still has that invisible touch. A wise and disenchanted widow, surrounded by a giant spider’s web, whose name only one knows, may be familiar, but its wrapped up in Krull’s invisible touch. The power of its myth is optimistic, positive, and restorative. With the rousing James Horner score, it’s stirring.


Krull (1983) ***½ Starring: Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Freddie Jones, Alun Armstrong, David Battley, Bernard Bresslaw. Writer: Stanford Sherman. Director: Peter Yates

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Judge not the theme of this murder mystery drama

The investigative murder mystery A Soldier’s Story (1984) comes around to a profound maxim that ricochets thematically through the entire story: who are you to judge your brother? Do not judge wouldn’t seem to be the point considering an investigator is sent to identify who killed a sergeant, but the theme of crime and punishment is juxtaposed with the human story and a sense of brotherly love that goes deep.

It is bonding between brothers in a close-knit military unit and baseball team, in Louisiana, 1944. But the unit’s sergeant causes them grief. He is murdered although there is no hint of foul play in the unit.

An investigator is put into the case. Captain Davenport (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.), a black lawyer, is assigned from Washington D.C, to find out who killed the sergeant.

The unit co-operates, but the white folk of the town may not accept an African American man investigating the shooting of a black man. They think a white man may get unfairly pinned as the culprit.

The self-confident Davenport stands his ground to do the job he is assigned. Davenport says he is about the facts, but even he appears to hold a sense of suspicion about who did it. Essentially, he’s fair, even when the prevailing racist attitudes of the community may cause him to think a white man may have done it.

The events around the murder of Sergeant Waters (Adolph Caesar) unfolds in interviews and conversations with the unit’s men. They are dramatized in flashback.

As that unfolds, the murder victim is boozy, good-hearted, and a spit and polish kind of sergeant and becomes a clear-as-crystal character.

Waters demeaning attitude towards some of his men rubs them the wrong way setting up a potential showdown between brothers and a possible motive for murder.

It ends up a worthwhile story as it makes one think about the humanity of characters one may not side with.

A Soldier’s Story (1984) wasn’t the frontrunner to win Best Picture at the 1985 Oscars. With Places in the Heart it was an also-ran. A Soldier’s Story didn’t win the Best Picture category in the end. It shows on a purely superficial level. It’s no epic, it’s not highly visual, it’s not indulgent, and it’s not an obviously cinematic film. It was based on a play.

Nevertheless, this who-done-it murder mystery is good dramatic entertainment. It is buoyant but more than juxtaposed by a deep seriousness. There’s some dirty language and mild profanity, but director Norman Jewison’s efforts behind the camera shows skill has gone into making this film, it’s engaging, and all the performances, especially Howard Rollins as the airily confident investigator, are excellent.


A Soldier’s Story (1984) ****½ Starring: Howard E. Rollins, Jr., Adolph Caesar, Art Evans, Larry Riley, Denzel Washington, Scott Paulin. Director: Norman Jewison.

What one can deliver

Little things I pick up along the way…as I was reading a book, I stumbled onto a nugget of wisdom. The book appraised films for this or that reason and a reason a critic gave was personally illuminating. The critic said a certain director wasn’t prepared to go the places a subject or premise would naturally go. It clicked. If I am to write stories, write stories I am prepared to deliver on. Go to the places the subject demands. If I can’t go there, don’t write it.

A satisfying finale to prequel trilogy

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) is, in a way, predictable enough, but also attractive enough to get bums on seats–in terms that we know what will happen, but don’t know how.

The predictability lies in the telling of the story of young Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker’s fall from grace. Everyone knows the ending.

The result in Star Wars creator George Lucas’ finale of the prequel trilogy is effective in portraying a conflicted individual who concedes to the ‘dark side’ because of “lust” i.e. personal ambition and a sense of significance that can’t be quenched. Anakin Skywalker is never satisfied.

As well, Anakin is torn between duty as a Jedi and forbidden love for Padme (Natalie Portman) and his all consuming attachment to her.

The love story is the movie’s central soap opera along with Anakin’s trainer — a more mature Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) — trying to keep reigns on his apprentice’s impetuousness.

The movie seems to be saying that Anakin missed out on acquiring knowledge which in-spite of his immaturity would have given him wisdom and foresight and hold him back from being a mechanical dictator.

And there are other messages in the movie – adoption of children for those that cannot have them, faithfulness, loyalty, and friendship are all interwoven.

Your sympathies may be touched in feeling for the likeable Anakin who said as an idealistic ten-year-old, in The Phantom Menace, that what is wrong with the universe is that no one cares for one another. But Anakin is vulnerable, especially in his friendship with Chancellor Palpatine. Their relationship in Revenge of the Sith is crucial to Anakin’s demise, as Palpatine plays on Anakin’s lust for power and significance.

Depending on your level of commitment to the saga the viewing process could be emotionally strong, symbolically rich, and a wonderful tapestry of mythic storytelling.


Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) **** Revised version , original published Entertainmentnutz.com, 2005. Starring: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Jimmy Smits, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew. Screenwriter: George Lucas. Director: George Lucas.

Different versions of a scene can be helpful, but the first may be best

If there are different versions of the same scene, or they are written differently, one can see the differences between the versions and see which is best.

Sometimes, the original scene can be better in comparison to the second or third version.

Sometimes, one gets too involved with the original scene and edits too much.

Comparing a second version of a scene with the first version of the scene may prove the first is better.

Tension

I cottoned onto why I didn’t find Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi as involving as the previous films in the trilogy, while reading the book version of the film.

I didn’t find the movie Return of the Jedi that involving, but I was able to see why by reading the book version of the film.

I thought it may have been just me, but there was usually a distance between me and the movie. Perhaps once I felt better about it.

I pinned the problem on a lack of tension in proceedings. I find the book version of the events better, particularly at the end. This is probably because the book creates more tension, by setting up the reader nicely. Luke’s confrontation in the Emperor’s throne room and the offensive on the Death Star in space and on Endor feels more exciting.