You know, the film with dwarves, brownies, witches good and bad, goats, heroes, trolls, an army of pigs and a topless Val Kilmer?
I have. And it’s one of my favourite films. Ever. Not only was it the moment I fell in love with Val Kilmer but it was probably the first sword and sorcery film I ever saw.
Yes, it’s the same 1988 film Willow, written by Star Wars’ George Lucas and directed by the ginger one from Happy Days Ron Howard.
With the charming Warwick Davis playing the lead in the well-traveled story of unlikely heroes, there’s a 126 minutes of adventure, romance, horror and fantasty. What’s not to love? And did I mention that Val Kilmer is topless most of the time?
Long story short, there’s a prophecy that a baby will bring down the bad Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) from her evil reign – who looks a lot like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Willow finds the baby in a basket floating down the river by luck (and his kids) and begins his journey facing seemingly insurmountable foes. And yes there is a happy ending but, thinking about it, I don’t think Willow would have got anywhere without Val Kilmer.
Along the way, Willow meets a cast of characters including Mad Martigan (Val Kilmer) in a cage and a couple of brownies who have a mix of German and French accents, and situations (drunken pub fights with Val Kilmer dressed as a woman).
Doesn’t that just sound amazing. Val Kilmer adds character, humour, sex (even in this sort of film) and a touch of testosterone as he waves his sword around.
This film screams childhood to me and doesn’t fail to make me smile whenever I hear the word Willow or when I hear the word “Peck”. It’s probably the most quoted film in our household, from “Your mother was a lizard” to “Ignore the bird, follow the river” to “Vongaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard” to “You’re all pigs” or even “Oh Ruis, you and your stupid rat dreams”. My favourite: “Not a woman? Not a woman? …Gentlemen, meet Lug”
At the end of last year I was bawled over and starstruck when I went to a Comic Con in London and saw Jean Marsh. During childhood she always played the villain – in Willow and in Return to Oz – and I was always scared of her. But seeing her was amazing, I was literally speechless. I wonder what I’d be like if I ever got to meet Val Kilmer.
Go now and watch it. You can thank me later when you’ve wiped the dribble off your face.
|| Part of the A to Z Challenge ||
A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
Previously on A to Z: