Legend (1985): 2-Disc Limited Edition [Blu-Ray]

I haven’t been the biggest fan of Ridley Scott’s output over the years, but there’s no denying his one two punch of “Alien” and “Legend” is immense. Often times modern audiences forget to cite “Legend” as one of the benchmarks of the fantasy genre. It’s probably the quintessential dark fantasy film and the one film I think of when I refer to fantasy films. There’s everything here from goblins, and trolls, to unicorns, and a valiant warrior, in the form of Tom Cruise. There’s also the unparalleled performance by Tim Curry whose delivers a stunning turn as the Lord of Darkness.

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Five Favorite “The Lord of the Rings” Characters

This week Amazon released their first image for the upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series. In what I assume they hope will fill the hole “Game of Thrones” left in its wake, the new series is promising to be epic in scale and (hopefully) continue the stories of J.R.R Tolkien’s Middle Earth, as well as re-invigorate the property for fans (I saw all three films when they debuted in theaters) that were left disappointed by “The Hobbit” prequels.

In celebration, I listed my five favorite characters from the Peter Jackson “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

If you have your own choices, feel free to let me know in the comments!

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Bright (2017)

It’s David Ayer with another cop drama except rather than a socially relevant tale about mismatched officers of a different race or gender or religion—it’s got Orcs! “Bright” is by no means as clever as it thinks it is, as it uses fantasy tropes not to move the story forward or to lend a new twist to the cop drama, but to hammer us over the head with clumsy allegories and symbolism. Max Landis’ script is painfully stale and lacks any kind of idea as to what it’s trying to get across. It’s much too serious to take as a fantasy film, and not silly enough to take it as a meta-cop movie. Even the opening scene of Will Smith’s character beating a fairy to death on his front lawn with a broom is flat and never quite played up as a meta joke, so much as a poorly delivered device to alert us that we’re watching a “different” kind of cop movie.

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Northpole: Open for Christmas (2015)

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Yes, primarily Hallmark have used the “Northpole” movies to sell whatever kitschy Christmas ornament they’re touting for the year, but they’ve accidentally built a neat Christmas movie series I want to see more of. Years ago, I would have really loved the adventures of Clementine the Elf, and her quest to restore the Christmas spirit in one unhappy soul. Right now, she’s still a charming Christmas heroine played by the always adorable Bailee Madison. Madison doesn’t even have to do much to look like an Elf, as she’s given pointy ears, and achieves the rest with her wide smile, and large saucer eyes.

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Northpole (2014) (DVD)

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Part one in an apparent movie series from Hallmark Entertainment, “Northpole” is a cute film about Christmas, and trying to preserve the happiness. Literally. It’s a simple and down to Earth movie that celebrates the more entertaining aspects of the holiday, while also building on a new hero in the form of elf Clementine. Bailee Madison is the definition of adorable as the rambunctious cherubic elf, desperately trying to keep the North Pole from dying what with the happiness of Christmas fading away in a sea of unfortunate cynicism. “North Pole” depends on Madison’s enthusiastic performance, and as always, she steals the movie. “North Pole” has its fair share of silliness, but it’s a fine Christmas movie with amusing quirks that I sat through with ease.

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Legend (1985)

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I would really only suggest “Legend” to the hardcore fantasy aficionados. It might even be a little too heavy for “Lord of the Rings” fans. As a kid I loved watching what Ridley Scott gave movie fans, but I never quite understood it until years later. Scott touches on some heavy concepts both philosophical and spiritual, and he does so with a palette of monsters and unicorns. Director Ridley Scott composes a rather brilliant and dark fantasy epic about the concepts of light and dark, and good and evil. In truth, “Legend” is a twist on the tale of Adam and Eve, except with more fantasy, magic, and monsters.

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD UltraViolet)

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It dawned upon me watching the opening of “The Desolation of Smaug”: Did we really need the first movie? The entirety of the first film is so based on propping up storylines that “The Desolation of Smaug” wastes no time and drops in to the action. We could have just featured thirty minutes establishing the journey and cut to the opening scene. In “The Desolation of Smaug,” the writers provide a prologue where Gandalf meets Thorin in a pub and asks him to lead the journey. They proclaim they need a “burglar,” and cut to Bilbo Baggins in action. So, what was the point of the first movie? The opening shot of Bilbo hiding in the rocks with his allies speaks sounds more than the entire director’s cut of “An Unexpected Journey” could.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) (Extended Edition) (Blu-ray/UltraViolet)

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For a movie with the subtitle “An Unexpected Journey,” Bilbo Baggins really does get a huge notice ahead of time. In fact he has enough notice to run away from his home and let the dwarves wait at his door step. Director Peter Jackson really has his work cut out for him, as he has to adapt “The Hobbit” while also trying to remind the audience that this is connected in a large way to “Lord of the Rings.” So, he shoe horns in a cameo from Frodo Baggins, as played by Elijah Wood, and we then enter in to the rather long story afoot.

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