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Reminiscing, I love it. As most people who know me will attest, I am more than partial to the odd trip down memory lane. Krull came at a time when my imagination was at its most fertile, in a time when I wasn’t the cynical sod I am now. Released at roughly the same time as such films as Return of the Jedi, Tron, The Dark Crystal and numerous other fantasy movies, Krull has always stood out in my mind as being one of the cooler flicks of that era. It was will great anticipation then, that I awaited the arrival of the special edition DVD on my doorstep.

Krull

Feature


Set on the distant planet of Krull, the story begins with the arrival of the Beast and his armies of Slayers. The Beast has enslaved many a world, and has now turned his attention to conquering this one. Before long, Slayer raiding parties begin slaughtering people indiscriminately, and in no time at all the Beast looks set to take control.

However, all is not lost. In an attempt to unite the people of Krull against the Beast, a marriage between Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa, heirs to opposing kingdoms, is proposed. It is hoped that this union will inspire the people, and lead them to victory over the invaders under one unified kingdom. Unfortunately, the all-powerful Beast has other ideas. On the wedding night he orders his Slayers to attack the palace and kill everyone except the princess, whom he wishes to make his own bride. She is taken to his stronghold, the Black Fortress, and held prisoner there until she agrees to consent to the marriage.

Meanwhile back at the scene of the massacre, Ynyr, a wise old man who has foreseen these events, discovers Colwyn alive. With his father dead, Colwyn is now king, and must bear the responsibility of that position. At first he is reluctant, but after some encouragement from Ynyr he soon remembers his duty. The pair set off on a journey to rescue the princess from the Black Fortress, and along the way they recruit many strange companions, including a band of outlaws, a magician, a Cyclops, and a small boy. Colwyn also discovers the Glaive, as mystical weapon of great power, perhaps even power enough to defeat the Beast.

The group encounter many hardships along the way, in the form of Slayers, changelings, giant spiders and more. Not all of them will make it, but they are determined to go on to rescue the princess and to vanquish the Beast and his armies once and for all.

The cast, consisting mostly of (then) unknown actors, do a great job in their respective roles. Ken Marshall, who plays the lead role of Colwyn, puts in a good performance as the heroic young prince. Freddie Jones is excellent as the wise old Ynyr, and he has real screen presence. Some of the members of the cast went on to bigger and better things, most noticeably Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltraine. Still, if you’re awake you will notice Todd Carty, he of Eastenders, Grange Hill and Tucker’s Luck fame, lurking in the background. Even Bernard Breslaw (famous for the Carry On films) pops up as Rell the Cyclops. Lyssette Anthony, who rather unbelievably was only seventeen when she made this film, plays the princess. She is perfect for the role, looking very elegant and at the same time innocent, she really is what you would imagine a fairytale princess to look like. Unfortunately, for some reason the studio decided to dub her voice with that of a considerably older American actress, which slightly spoils the innocence of her character for me.

Krull

Video


Krull is presented in its theatrical ratio of 2.35:1, and is anamorphically enhanced. Columbia Tristar has done a good job with the restoration of the video, and everything looks very nice indeed. Obviously the picture quality isn’t the best out there, but it is more than adequate for this release and better than many back catalogue titles.

Audio


Featuring a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, as well as surround tracks in a couple of other languages, Krull’s audio is no let down either. The main 5.1 mix is good, if not outstanding, with nice use of the surrounds to create atmosphere and draw the listener into the film. The score is perfectly suited to the action, with foreboding music signalling the arrival of the Slayers, and fanfares to greet the heroes.

Extras


The disc comes with a collection of extras that put many newer releases to shame. Alongside the standard audio tracks we have two commentary tracks: one features the director, cast and crew, while the other is a Cinefantastique Article on the film. The first commentary is very informative, and strikes a good balance between technical information and amusing anecdotes. Next up we have the twenty two-minute featurette entitled Journey to Krull. This contains a lot of behind the scenes footage and information on the making of the film, and is worth at least one or two viewings. Also included are the theatrical trailer for the film, photo galleries and the usual cast and crew bios. One unique feature, in that I’ve never seen it on DVD until now, is the inclusion of an animated comic book. This is actually the Marvel Comics adaptation of the film, set to musical and audio cues from the feature presentation. This is an interesting alternative way to view the movie, but I wouldn’t advise doing so before you’ve watched the film proper. Overall though, it’s a novel and worthy inclusion. The package is rounded off with some very nice presentation, with animated menus in keeping with the themes of the film.

Krull

Overall


If you even half remember this film from your childhood I would urge you to seek it out. It can be purchased for very little if you shop around, and the R4 disc is even cheaper whilst being identical in content. It is a charming fantasy adventure from a more innocent time, but it still stands up very well today in the face of (often soulless) newer movies. It’s no Star Wars that’s for sure, but it does feature remarkably high production values, solid performances from the cast and some genuinely imaginative moments. If you have fond memories of films such as Tron and the Dark Crystal, then this is definitely up you street. Even if you’re far too young to remember the film from its theatrical run you may still enjoy it immensely, and it’s innocent enough to show to younger children without scaring the life out of them (in fact compared to today’s films it’s positively tame). Maybe it’s just me looking at the film through exceedingly rose tinted spectacles, but I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to anyone seeking a couple of hours of good natured fantasy entertainment.


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