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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic stuff
I first saw Willow when I was very young, and now, a decade later, it has lost none of its magic for me!
The film tells the story of young Willow Ufgood, the reluctant hero of his Nelwyn village as he is chosen to return a very important Daikini (the Nelwyn word for humans!) baby to her own kind. However, Willow gets a lot more than he bargained for along the way,...
Published on 14 Dec. 2002 by Johnson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Star Wars of the Rings
There wasn't a truly successful sword and sorcery film until Peter Jackson got into the act, and despite a liberal helping of trolls, brownies, dragons (bearing a bit of an unfortunate resemblance to a two-headed version of the Penosaurus from Flesh Gordon) and fairies, Willow certainly didn't break the run. Rather than going the Conan route, producer George Lucas adheres...
Published on 7 Dec. 2012 by Trevor Willsmer


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic stuff, 14 Dec. 2002
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I first saw Willow when I was very young, and now, a decade later, it has lost none of its magic for me!
The film tells the story of young Willow Ufgood, the reluctant hero of his Nelwyn village as he is chosen to return a very important Daikini (the Nelwyn word for humans!) baby to her own kind. However, Willow gets a lot more than he bargained for along the way, joining forces with a great (and often silly) swordsman, Madmartigan, two bossy and very short brownies, and the mysterious Fin Raziel, in his quest.
I loved everything about this film ... the music is beautiful, as are the settings (filmed in a variety of locations from Wales to New Zealand), the special effects are good, and the story is the classic and timeless tale of good versus evil, narrating the lives of many memorable characters. The film combines humour, action, fantasy and romance in a very satisfactory and watchable two hours. What more could you ask for?
And a note about the special DVD features as well ... crystal clear sound and vision, added extras such as interviews, trailers (some of which made me laugh) and stills from the making of the film, and a feature on the way the special effects were produced. I enjoyed seeing all of these - this classic is definitely worth the money!
Top marks for a film that I'll always enjoy.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget all you know,,,and all you think you know, 16 Jan. 2004
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"Willow" has been an easy target for the critics. Perhaps it's true that George Lucas wished he had written Lord of the Rings, or at least had secured the movie rights to it, but that doesn't take anything away from the magical adventure that is Willow.
There are some films which are timeless. You see them as a child and enjoy them equally as an adult. The adventure never pales, the wonder never ceases, and despite their clear existence in a world very different to your own, you care deeply about the characters and what becomes of them. No matter how many times you watch it. Willow is one such film.
Looking for something for the kids? Willow is perfect, and they'll wonder at your good taste. Want something to curl up to on the sofa with your other half? Willow's guaranteed to make 'em smile, laugh, and (when they think you're not looking) mist up a bit.
Warwick Davis is excellent in the title role, and his performance is even more remarkable given that he was only 17 when it was made. But Val Kilmer steals the show as the swordsman who finally finds something to believe in, wisecracking his way through various feats of heroism. The actor improvised much of his dialogue, which really makes it crackle. And watch out for the smoldering scenes with Joanne Whalley, parelleling their burgeoning off-screen romance during the filming, which ended in their marriage.
If you have never seen it, buy it now. If you have already experienced its magic, you already know you're going to!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You are my sun, my moon, my starlit sky... (bluray), 11 Aug. 2013
By 
Dr. Justin Gan (UK) - See all my reviews
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I've waited a long time for this to come out on blu-ray, and let me say first off that the transfer is absolutely superb. The image quality is crystal clear, and amazingly looks a lot better than a few more recent films I've picked up on bluray (Dredd, anyone?); which is astonishing for a film that's over 25 years old. There were no obvious graining or weird optical effects. The sound quality is good, but feels slightly thin to my mind, however I think this is to do with the original recording.

There are 3 deleted scenes that I've never seen before as well (which were quite rightly left out), but were interesting all the same.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outta the way Peck!!!!, 1 Jun. 2003
By 
I first saw this movie about 12 years ago and have loved it ever since. I'm really pleased it's been released onto DVD. The extra bonus footage is fantastic. Ron Howard excells in this true classic film.
It's a story about a young magician called Willow (Warwick Davis) who lives in a village inhabited by little people. one day he finds a baby in the stream. The baby then turns out to be a Dikini (human). Willow is then summand by the village council to take the baby and give it to the first human he finds. Unfortunatly the first human he finds is Mad Mardigan (Val Kilmer) the greatest swordsman who ever lived. He then sets out on an unexpected adventure when he realises the true importance of the small child.
The child is special and the evil Queen Bavmorder (Jean Marsh) is out to kill her. With the help of Willow, Mad Mardigan, A couple of brownies, the princess (Joanne Whalley) and the great Fin Raziel how can she loose against the evil queen.
This film is superb and has an all star cast and crew and amazing special effects especially concidering the time this movie was made.
If your looking for an action-packed, magical romanic comedy. Willow is most certainly the perfect film to watch. It's best to buy the DVD just for the extra sound quality and extra DVD features.
Once you see this film you'll want to watch it again and again, and why not...IT'S A CLASSIC.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous!, 29 Oct. 2003
I first watched this film when i was 8, and still it's the greatest magical film i have ever seen.
When i had this film on VHS originally i cherished it, i kept it in my room alongside the turtles and He-Man etc so it must have been pretty good.
The following month when i returned to my room, it had GONE! my mother had lent it to a friend, and that was the last i had seen of Willow, until this YEAR!
Willow returned to my screen on the hugely anticipated DVD release, and by god is it as goood as it it was when i first watched it. With the ever so talented Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer and that fine looking princess, the film is pure genius.
The them tune rings in my head as i write this, remembering the classic scenes from when they were turned into pigs, to Willow fighting those lizard type things, to the final encounter between val and that guy with the skull on his face!
The effects are truly breathtaking with those pixies and the little borrowers. Writing this has made me slap the dvd in to watch again!
The extras are good aswell taking you behind the scenes to tell of how it was made so give em a go.
Overall go and buy this now!
FILM 10/10
Extras 8/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Star Wars of the Rings, 7 Dec. 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
There wasn't a truly successful sword and sorcery film until Peter Jackson got into the act, and despite a liberal helping of trolls, brownies, dragons (bearing a bit of an unfortunate resemblance to a two-headed version of the Penosaurus from Flesh Gordon) and fairies, Willow certainly didn't break the run. Rather than going the Conan route, producer George Lucas adheres to the Star Wars formula in the form of Pat Roach's Darth Vader clone, the skull-masked General Kael, Val Kilmer's Han Solo-esque hero, Joanne Whalley's headstrong princess and Patricia Hayes' Obi-Wan Kenobi figure, among numerous other visual and narrative touches, with magic standing in for the Force as the power that holds the universe together and helps our diminutive hero triumph.

Even if Willow isn't as much fun as you would like it to be, it holds up surprisingly well with age. Kilmer's no Harrison Ford (and his ex-missus is never at her best when acting with an American accent for that matter) and this is no Star Wars, but if you don't expect too much it's a nice enough fantasy adventure with some magical effects (although, coming from a lowpoint in ILM's output, there are a few too many matte lines in places) and a few (intentionally) funny moments en route to a terrific last half-hour.

The major liability is director Ron Howard, who makes 500 extras look like five at one point and could handle the action better, although he certainly fares better than Peter Yates and Krull, which really pushed an audience's best wishes to the limit. Although Howard doesn't do much with the Scope frame, it's certainly a better film in widescreen than panned-and-scanned on TV, and it boasts one of James Horner's very best scores (albeit one that seems heavily influenced by Bruce Smeaton's score for Iceman). There's also a decent extras package as well - audio commentary by Warwick Davis; featurettes Willow - Making of an Adventure and Morf to Morphing - The Dawn of Digital Filmmaking; stills gallery; 8 TV spots; 2 teaser trailers and full theatrical trailer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great Saturday afternoon movie, 17 Jan. 2013
By 
Albatross "Never argue with idiots" (Suburbia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Willow copies Lord of the Rings. Or at least that is the general consensus. From epic space battles in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas turned his screen-writing pen to a time of `sword and sorcery.' Despite the film predating Peter Jackson's (now classic) Lord of the Rings franchise by about thirteen years, it was possible that George read the books a while ago and was heavily influenced.

Is that a problem? In my opinion, not really.

Willow is set in a time of magic and monsters and follows a dwarf (I forget the technical term for `little people' they use in the film) called Willow, who finds a human baby washed up on the shores of his village. He is then tasked with protecting the baby on a journey to return it to its own kind. For this is no ordinary baby, but the princess who will later grow up and overthrow the evil queen. Did I mention an evil queen rules the land? No? Okay, well she does. She's evil, powerful and everyone lives in fear of her (actually, that's more Snow White territory than Lord of the Rings, but anyway...).

Expect the usual characters to pop up along the way - elves, pixies, heroic knights, sorceresses, two-headed monsters and so on. It's like an early version of Lord of the Rings, only they're on a quest to drop a baby off (as opposed to throw their precious cargo into a fiery pit).

I think there are only two groups of people who would appreciate Willow nowadays. One is me, who grew up with films like this in the eighties and looks on it with a sense of nostalgia. The other is very small children, who haven't seen The Lord of the Rings. I think if you showed it to anyone in between (dare I say those dreaded teenagers?) they would see it as cheap, low budget and generally a bit dull. And perhaps they're right? Lord of the Rings captured, on a grand scale, the depth of an entire world and even managed to throw in a good deal of human emotion into the bargain. But was it a fun movie? Could you laugh and cheer at it? Probably not. However, with Willow you can.

Yes, Willow is not as well written. Yes, it's cheesy. Yes, the effects now look very dated. But if you're bored on a wet Saturday afternoon and happen to stumble on it, sit there and give it a go (taking every battle with a larger pinch of salt than the last).
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Old Favourite, 26 April 2006
By 
Tara Saunders (Derry, NI) - See all my reviews
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I loved this film as a child and when I saw the DVD version I jumped at the chance to introduce it to my own daughters.

It's an excellent family movie for those long winter nights, with everything from dwarfish, heroic Willow determined to do the right thing as a family man to madcap Madmartigan, out for the main chance but a good guy really. When our fine heroes meet up with the seemingly evil but actually quite sweet Sorsha, daughter of the evil Queen Bavmorda, things start to get really complicated. Add a sorceress who (unwillingly) changes shape about twenty times over the course of the movie and you've got something the kids will go mad for.

For those adult eyes amongst us, it's sad to admit that this movie hasn't aged as well as we might have hoped. More than a little cheesy and peopled with every fantasy cliche character from inept magician to evil babykilling queen to swordmaster thief turned hero, the watching prompts as many winces as it does smiles.

At least the kids will love it. And, in theory, they're the ones we're buying it for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent fantasy movie, 13 April 2005
By 
Kurt A. Johnson (Marseilles, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Willow [VHS] [1988] (VHS Tape)
Willow Ufgood (Played by Warwick Davis) is a nelwyn (little people) farmer who aspires to being a good farmer, a good father, and (if possible) the village sorcerer's next apprentice. However when he finds a daikini (tall people/us) baby, his whole world is turned upside-down. This baby is Elora Danan, a child of prophecy, destined to be the end of the evil witch-queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh), and Bavmorda's army is looking for her. There's a destiny at work here, and Willow must see it through. But along the way he will find help in unexpected places, most unexpectedly in the form of Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), a rogue of rogues and self-proclaimed "greatest swordsman that ever lived."
This is a great story of swords and sorcery, good and evil. I thought that the battle scenes were very good, as was the magic. Heck, I even thought that the special effects were good. It's not The Lord of the Rings, but nothing else is. This is an excellent fantasy movie, one that you can sit down and watch with your whole family. It's got something for everyone - action, adventure, magic, romance and comedy. My children (a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old, who are both fans of The Lord of the Rings) both loved this movie, especially the brownies, who have to be seen to be believed. My family and I all highly recommend this movie to you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So refreshingly rejuvenating !, 9 Oct. 2007
By 
An extremely simple story, nearly a skeleton of a story. A girl is born with a sign on her arm. She has been predicted as the one who will destroy the evil queen of the kingdom. Thus the queen decides to put under surveillance all pregnant women and to check all the babies for the sign. She is not as bad as that after all, and less bad than Herod, though we have here a rewriting of Biblical stories in the feminine mood and gender. But the midwife retrieves the baby and entrusts her to the river. Moses is thus revisited, though in the feminine mood and gender already mentioned. But far from being saved by Pharaoh's daughter she is saved by dwarves. And there the story starts: to escape the queen, then to save the baby from the queen, trolls and other monsters added into the story for good measure. The best part is that the queen's daughter is going to betray her mother and after all it is the queen's daughter who will recuperate the baby from her direst danger, more or less. The film is charming because of the dwarves. They definitely give some enticing flesh to that skeleton of a story and they help dangerous situations become nearly harmless, at least agreeably pleasant.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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Willow [DVD] [1988]
Willow [DVD] [1988] by Ron Howard (DVD - 2013)
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