Sunday, 4 March 2012

[539] Looking Back At Legend

It's March! Spring is here! And things are going to get a whole lot more productive from now on, I promise.

To start, here's a bloody big essay I wrote about Legend for Den of Geek. As with most of my previous 'Looking Back' pieces, I ask some pretty large questions, and push at the edges of my own critical sanity.

Hindsight is a strange gift. Geek history dictates that the 1980s were a heyday for the fantasy genre; however, few of the decade’s sword ‘n sorcery flicks were outright hits, and many barely made a comfortable profit. Indeed, nostalgia may enshrine the likes of Dark Crystal, Clash Of The Titans and Willow, but even the most successful only just cracked the domestic top 20 for their respective years.

Of the bunch, Ridley Scott’s Legend remains a particularly tricky case. On its theatrical release, it wasn’t just a box office failure, it was that terrible thing: a box office failure that, even after much pre-release tinkering by the studio, still bombed. Various cuts, endings, even soundtracks exist, but nothing that Universal changed attracted the desired audience. In 1985, Legend was pronounced dead on arrival, and Time critic Richard Corliss used the opportunity to open his review with a damning epitaph for the fantasy genre:

“A long time ago, in a conference room far, far away... it was ordained that sword-and-sorcery movies would be the Next Big Thing. Just imagine crossing the fantasy worlds of JRR Tolkien and George Lucas! Mythic reverberations! Megabucks! Didn't work.”

Nevertheless, Legend lived on. It endures as a pop culture footnote, where, depending on how you look at it, it could be either The Film Ridley Scott Made After Blade Runner, or The Film Tom Cruise Starred In Between Risky Business and Top Gun. However, there is something strangely alluring about its confluence of chaos and creativity, and, with its recent Blu-ray release, there’s no better time to reassess with fresh, 21st Century eyes.

Read the full article here.

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