Willow (1988)

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Ron Howard directs Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley in this high fantasy adventure where a small Nelwyn farmer protects a baby in a Dakini war zone.  

An admirably straight laced plot, a superbly realised world and frequent amusing exchanges means Willow has aged better than most fantasy films. Sure, it probably is one early action sequence short of being an out and out classic but career best work from all the C-list cast creates a lovely dynamic even when not all that much happens in the first half. It gives you time to settle into the still shockingly dark world (for a family film… the 80s, eh?!) before you get caught up in cart chases, two headed dragons, the entire cast being turned into pigs and that amazing downhill shield as makeshift sled stunt. It cleaves very close to Star Wars in its format, but is there anything all that wrong with that? Only the regular cutaways to comedy sidekick Brownies fails, the jokes just don’t land, but even they set up a nice piece of comedy romance when Kilmer’s excellent Madmartigan falls for his hot enemy in a love spell. The production is lavish and the score hypnotically perfect. Treat yourself. Revisit Willow.

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