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  Krull Beauty And The Beast
Year: 1983
Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Freddie Jones, David Battley, Alun Armstrong, Bernard Bresslaw, Francesca Annis, Liam Neeson, Todd Carty, Graham McGrath, Robbie Coltrane, John Welsh, Tony Church, Bernard Archard, Belinda Mayne, Dicken Ashworth
Genre: FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 5 votes)
Review: The planet of Krull is under attack from a menace that descends from the skies: the huge fortress of The Beast and its armies of Slayers that mean to take over. Two opposing kingdoms join forces to battle this shared enemy and they are brought together by the prince, Colwyn (Ken Marshall), and princess, Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) who are to be married. Alas, come the wedding day, the Beast's troops arrive and not only kidnap Lyssa, but also massacre the two kingdoms' men. Colwyn survives, and has to come to terms with the idea that he is now King, and must save Lyssa, now imprisoned in the fortress.

"Original" is not a word that springs to mind where Krull is concerned. Written by Stanford Sherman, it is obviously heavily influenced by Star Wars, with a fairy tale theme that runs the basic "save the damsel in distress" plot by us once again. This takes the form of a quest where Colwyn is joined by a Gandalf-style wise man (Freddie Jones - or is he an Obi-Wan Kenobi-style wise man?) and they pick up a selection of travelers along the way to the fortress, including Ergo (David Battley), a bumbling magician who calls himself "the Magnificent" and provides feeble comic relief.

In addition, Colwyn secures a modest army of his own, made up of other chirpy British character actors who remind you of panto season more than anything else. Alun Armstrong leads a band of escaped criminals who naturally have enough goodness in their hearts to help, and Bernard Bresslaw, of all people, plays a spear-hurling Cyclops who acts as a guardian to the group, but unfortunately speaks in his normal voice rather than his Carry On voice.

Although a quest traditionally features a collection of trials that our heroes must suffer on the journey to their destination, the incidents in Krull are tiresome and are more obstacles to your entertainment than anything dramatically satisfying. The Beast doesn't have any more charisma than his mute Slayers, and a few half-hearted attempts at killing off Colwyn don't amount to much, he's happier to amuse himself with Lyssa in his castle den - in a thankless role, Lysette Anthony gets almost nothing to do, and her voice is dubbed with an American accent, as well.

There are some compensations; the scenery is wonderful, and a few good ideas pop up from time to time, such as the way that the Beast's fortress magically changes positions every day, to make it harder to track down (which presumably must cause a lot of trouble for any Slayers wishing to go home at night). And the sequence where Freddie Jones matches wits with a giant spider is a highlight. But Krull is a drab experience, looking washed out and never taking off, with clich├ęs in place of wisdom and an offhand approach to its characters. Music by James Horner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Peter Yates  (1929 - 2011)

British director with some range, originally from theatre and television. After Summer Holiday and Robbery, he moved to Hollywood to direct Bullitt, with its car chase making waves. There followed The Hot Rock, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Mother, Jugs & Speed, The Deep and touching teen drama Breaking Away before he returned to Britain for the fantasy Krull and The Dresser. Spent most of his final years working back in America.

 
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