"Love is fleeting, power is eternal." This is what The Beast would inform Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) as he attempts to convince her to give up her love of the young king Colwyn (Ken Marshall). Lyssa would shoot back with the retort that ‘Power is fleeting and Love is eternal’. I mention this because that is the only line I remember from seeing ‘Krull’ as tweens with my cousin Heather, on grainy VHS tape no less, some twenty plus years ago. I could call her up right now and instead of saying ‘hello’ I could say ‘Love is fleeting…’ and she would no doubt respond with ‘Power is Eternal’. The only thing is, since the girl is now a big time Manhattan tax attorney, I think those are words she actually lives by. Regardless, considering I can’t remember a single solitary thing about ‘Krull’ other than that suspect line of dialog, let’s go ahead and watch it again and see what it had to offer to audiences way back in 1983, and why a movie that I’m certain had glorious designs for a long series died a painful death after that first movie.
The medieval based planet of Krull is under attack. The aforementioned Beast has dispatched his legion of faceless warriors called The Slayers to burn and pillage and kill and stuff. King Turold (Tony Church) and King Elrig (Bernard Archard) might hate each other, but they realize that the only chance they have of defeating The Beast is if their children marry. On the surface this sounds like the stupidest solution ever to stop an unstoppable horde of indestructible evil aliens, but that wacky prophecy does say something about a child from a king and princess ruling the galaxy or something. One problem I see with this, however, is that my man Colwyn wears pants so freaking tight that he’s going to have a hard time generating anything that’s going to be able to make a baby.
Well this Beast is a hater to the nth degree and he busts up the marriage, kidnaps Lyssa and has his slayers kill practically everybody in the kingdom with their laser sticks. I’m
no military genius but in the battle of swords vs. laser sticks, I like the cats with the laser sticks chances a lot better. And you would’ve thought that the Krullians would have long ago picked up a couple of those sticks and figured out how make those suckers work for themselves. But I’m no military genius. Colwyn also got messed up real good in this raid but fortunately for him some mystical dude named Ynyr (Freddie Jones) stopped by to fix him up and helps Colwyn fulfill his prophecy as King.
Now Colwyn, under Ynyr’s guidance, must accomplish a number tasks which include finding the Glaive, the one thing that can kill The Beast, find some help along the way which he does manage to do in making the acquaintance of the silly magician Ergo (David Battley), and he also enlists the aid of some escaped prisoners led by Torquil (Alun Armstrong). At first the prisoners were hesitant to follow their future king with Toquil saying that he’s not following any dude wearing pants that tight. Okay, so he really didn’t say that but I could tell he was thinking it. Also along for the ride is a depressed Cyclops, some old man who they really should have kept a closer eye on, and a cute kid.
The immediate goal of our heroes is to get to the Black Fortress, which is like the mobile home of evil lairs since it changes locations every dawn, the we gotta break into this fortress, kill the slayers, free Lyssa, and then use the Glaive to kill up The Beast and then set the land of Krull free. There will be losses along the way, evil changelings, big glass spiders, horses who ride on fire and some seriously suspect special effects, but with the eternal power of love… you know the deal.
I can see where the ‘Pitch Guys’ shot this at the execs at Columbia saying that their movie was ‘Excalibur’ meets ‘Star Wars’, and considering anything remotely connected to Star Wars was making dudes rich all over the planet I can see where the execs thought they had gold. Oh well. But one thing I can say is that ‘Krull’ didn’t fail for lack of ambition brother, oh no. Academy Award nominated director Peter Yates working with a budget a shade under thirty million bucks, which when adjusted to 2008 coin adds up to about 8 billion dollars, made a film that was filled with sorcery, sword fights, lasers, a super fancy space opening and lots of special effects. Taken separately some of this stuff was kind of cool, but I don’t think any of it worked all that well when it was finally stitched together in the editing room.
A lot of the movie was just plain silly. I was curious why The Beast didn’t just kill everybody from the get go with a wave of his hand since he’s so powerful and stuff. Plus he wants to mate with the lovely Lyssa, but after looking at my man I’m thinking that just might be a biological impossibility. Ynyr, ‘The Old One’ as they called him, was supposed be some kind of sorcerer but he was like the worst sorcerer ever since he didn’t do any kind of mystical stuff. His only power, as far as I can tell, was that he was old and knew people who could do stuff. Damn if I don’t have that power too. And let’s not get started on king Colwyn not using that freaky weapon of his until the end, thus possibly saving everybody’s life who died in the process of trying to help him save his squeeze. But again this was on the sage advice of our worthless sorcerer dude.
All the silliness aside the main problem with ‘Krull’ is that Ken Marshall just wan’t much of a hero. He has great hair and his short box beard is groomed to perfection but he’s not very charismatic, he lacks any kind of heroic presence, for a dude that’s supposed to be a supreme warrior he doesn’t seem all that comfortable holding a sword and his pants were too damn tight. And if he was any kind of leader he would’ve figured out a way to make one of those laser sticks work for him. That’s really messing with me. Not faring too much better was Lysette Anthony who was apparently cast because she has a twelve inch waist and looks super cute in a curly red wig. Seriously. Since they dubbed the girls voice out of the movie for whatever reason.
All that being said ‘Krull’ did still have some entertainment value, probably more so today for nostalgia purposes than it did when it was originally released back in ’83 where it was simply lackluster and derivative. Today however it is funny, a bit charming, a nice look back at special effects before the advent of the computer in addition to still being lackluster and derivative.