More Films to See Before You Die: #98 Legend

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Legend (1985)

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, David Bennent and Tim Curry

Synopsis: The Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) is planning to end his isolation in the shadows by destroying the guardians of the Power of Light. Darkness instructs his goblin minions to kill the unicorns and bring him their horns so can be free to roam the world after it becomes an eternal night of cold darkness. Meanwhile, Princess Lili (Mia Sara) goes alone to the forest to meet her friend Jack (Tom Cruise), a forest dweller who teaches her the languages of animals before showing her the unicorns who have arrived to the forest. Against Jack’s pleas, Lili approaches the stallion before the unicorn is hit by a poisoned dart from Blix’s blowpipe. The unicorns bolt, and Lili makes light of Jack’s fears and sets him a challenge by throwing her ring into a pond, declaring she will marry whoever finds it. But as the stallion dies from the poison with the goblins taking his horn, the pond freezes over with Lili running off in terror before Jack manages to break free. Taking refuge in a frozen cottage, Lily hides when the goblins arrive and overhears how she “led the beasts to bay” as she follows them while vowing to make it right. The unicorn mare and Lily are kidnapped by Darkness in an attempt to make her his wife and banish the Power of Light forever. Now it is up to Jack and some new found friends led by the elf Gump (David Bennent) to free Lily and save the world from forever being engulfed by Darkness.

Trivia: Filming stopped when the “007” soundstage burned to the ground. The remainder of the film was shot on hastily-constructed sets. The famous scene in which Princess Lily is taken to see and touches the Unicorns by Jack was actually filmed within the gardens of Pinewood Studos as at the time of filming, the vast Forest set had been destroyed by a fire.

Why Should You Watch This?: This is a wonderful film in the vein of the Grimm fairytales that are so popular and still being adapted to this day. What makes Legend so special is that this an original fairytale created from the mind of Ridley Scott. Like Blade Runner another Scott film the production was very troubled and it took them 3 years to complete the film which started production in 1982. Also like Blade Runner, the Director’s Cut is in my opinion superior to the Theatrical Cut. What makes Legend so special are amazing looking sets and the incredible job done with prosthetics which in a time before CGI make it that much more impressive. Tim Curry’s scenery chewing performance alone is worth the price of admission.

Films to See Before You Die: #87 Minority Report

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Minority Report (2002)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow

Synopsis: In the year 2054 there is a government program exclusively in Washington, D.C. called Precrime which has eliminated murder. They are able to do this by premonitions by the Precogs wherein they are able to see murders hours before they happen. Police officer Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is the lead detective of the Precrime unit working for the founder of the program Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow). The program is being investigated by The Department of Justice agent Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell) before is goes national. While they are being investigated a murder has been seen by the Precogs that John Anderton will kill a man named Leo Crow in 36 hours. Anderton now running for his life must prove his innocence by finding his “minority report” which means stealing the most powerful Precog Agatha (Samantha Morton) and extracting it from her before his time is up.

Trivia: At the police station, the officers talk about the metaphysical proof of precognition. Chief Anderton rolls a red ball along a table to demonstrate the law of cause and effect to Det. Witwer. All of this is an allusion to the famous claim of philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), that by observing billiard balls you can actually demonstrate that cause and effect does not exist but is merely a habitually created fiction of the mind.

Why I think you should see this: Minority Report is a great sci-fi film and has aged pretty well actually. I have always been a huge fan of Spielberg’s whether he is directing or producing each film has a sense of wonderment that most filmmakers cannot bring to their films. Tom Cruise is great in the lead as the always cornered but never beaten John Anderton and Max von Sydow does a great job as usual in his role.