What's new

HTF REVIEW: "Legend" (with screenshots) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
58,040
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
15457.jpg


Legend




Year: 1985
Rated: PG
Film Length: 116 minutes (DIR); 90 minutes (U.S.)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1



"Mortal World turned to ice here be
goblin paradise"

First of all, I must confess that I am not a
huge fan of Legend. I originally saw
the movie back in the mid-eighties when it was
released to Home Video. I saw it once, thought
it was a decent fantasy film, but have not thought
about it until it was announced for DVD almost a
year ago.
legend2.jpg

Watching this film after all these years has
given me new appreciation for Ridley Scott's
fantasy masterpiece, which came on the heels
of his Blade Runner and Alien releases.
Legend was a film Ridley always wanted to
make -- a film in the genre of mythology or faerie
story, inspired by his childhood fantasies.
legend3.jpg

I always wondered why there were so many different
versions of this film. Upon further research I
found that Legend went went through 15
rewrites before a final script was selected.
Ridley's first cut of the film ran a total of
125 minutes. He took this work print and cut
it down to 113 minutes. After a unsatisfactory
preview showing, the film was cut down to 98
minutes and then 94 minutes. Ridley Scott brought
Jerry Goldsmith aboard to write the score. Universal
Studio executive Sidney Sheinberg thought the film
was too long, and did not like Goldsmith's score.
Wanting to make the soundtrack more popular to the
MTV inspired teens, Sheinberg hired a German
electronic group called Tangerine Dream to compose
the replacement soundtrack.
legend4.jpg

The story takes place in a mythical forest
inhabited by fairies, goblins, unicorns and
mortals. It's the story of a Lily (Mia Sara),
a beautiful innocent princess who loves
a forest dweller named Jack (Tom Cruise). When
Jack shows her the sacred Unicorns of the forest,
Lily disobeys his orders not to touch them. Her
disobedience causes a Unicorn to be trapped and
killed. It's the story of the Lord of Darkness
(Tim Curry) who depends on the death of both
unicorns to give him ever-lasting power as he
plunges the world in eternal darkness. Can
Lily, Jack and their company of elves and faeries
overcome all odds to save the last unicorn and
the future of their world?
legend5.jpg

Succumbing to the demands of fans, Universal
has reassembled and released the long thought
lost "Director's Cut" of the film, restoring
nearly 25 minutes of footage along with Jerry
Goldsmith's score.
In a new 2-disc Ultimate Edition, Universal
has also included the U.S. Theatrical Version with
the Tangerine Dream score.
How is the transfer?
In a word, remarkable.
legend6.jpg

Watching the Director's Cut of this film,
I was marveled by the clarity of this transfer,
which while filmed rather dark and soft, I never
noticed any background video noise, which is
usually very evident in these sort of transfers.
Picture remains clean and glitch free, with colors
remaining mostly vibrant without flesh tones
suffering from over saturation. For a film of this
period, this transfer is about as good as it gets.
The 5.1 DTS track is surprisingly active throughout
all its channels. The film's main thrust action
stays firmly in the front speakers, with dialogue
remaining squarely in the center. The rears play
a remarkable part of the film's ambience, particularly
in the forest scenes where we hear Lilly's calls
to Jack echoing in the background, or the sound of
howling wind that supports the film's snow covered
landscape. Though the film has its share of LFE
channel bass during the Dark Lord's emergence, I
was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more bass
mixed into the soundtrack -- especially as the
Unicorns trotted in fear across the snow. Overall,
however, this is certainly more active a sound mix
than I would have expected from a film this age.
Special Features
legend10.jpg
legend11.jpg

To show you how special this release is, Universal
has released this title in a a very unique clear
plastic packaging with Ridley Scott's signature
across the front that opens to a 3-pane gatefold.
Although I really admire the packaging and artwork,
it is a magnet for fingerprints.
legend12.jpg

Inside the packaging is a 2-sided 8 page foldout
that contains an introduction by Director Scott,
as well as a text breakdown of the film's scenes
and bonus materials. All this is supplemented
with original film photographs and poster artwork.
legend1.jpg

Disc One holds the Director Cut of
the film, and unfortunately, the menu is rather
simple with only a slight touch of animated skyline
behind the Lord of Darkness. This is the only
version of the film that has been remixed for
5.1 Dolby Surround and DTS.
A full-length audio commentary with Director
Ridley Scott is also featured on this disc.
legend7.jpg
legend8.jpg

Disc Two contains the U.S. Theatrical
Cut in Dolby Surround. It too has a very
simple animated menu of a unicorn set against
the dawning sky.
Fans of this film will be delighted by the
abundant amount of material that is presented
here. Let's take a look at it....
legend9.jpg

Creating a Myth: The Memories of Legend
is a wonderful newly produced documentary that
starts with a wonderful montage of scenes from
the film set against Lily's song. Producer
Aknon Milchan was an admirer of Director Ridley
Scott's work from his earliest days of making
commercials. Ridley came to him with two film
ideas, one of them being a crazy Alien spaceship
musical, and the other...Legend. Director Scott
explains that after completing two very grueling
movies with gruesome carnage (Alien & Blade Runner),
he wanted to make a faerie tale. He approached
writer William Hjortsberg and gave him a brief
description of what he wanted the story to be about.
Hjortsberg went on to create a tale that would
be considered "classic" -- a tale that ultimately
inspired Scott to shoot his dream project.
Tim Curry recalls how the script reminded him
of a Grimms fairy tale, full of horror and grit.
Mia Sara recalls her falling in love with the
script at such a young age. She talks about
her reaction of seeing a movie set filled with
forestry and live birds, done on such a huge
scale on a 007 soundstage. The documentary goes
on to interview the production designers, make-up
artist, set director and even then Universal chief
Sid Sheinberg. This an extremely thorough look
at all production aspects of the film, and includes
makeup photos and even brief shots of test footage
taken on the set. (length: approx. 50 minutes)
Isolated music Score by Tangerine Dream
allows you to play the U.S. version of the film with
uncut music cues from the group Tangerine Dream.
Because of the nature of this presentation, some
of the cues may fall out of place, but you do get
an idea of how drastically different this score is
from Jerry Goldsmith's original concept.
Two Lost Scenes are included. The first
is an Alternate Opening. Thought long
lost, this opening features goblins Blix, Pox,
Blunder and an unintroduced goblin named Tic
who are lured through the forrest, eventually
coming upon the shrouded Dark Lord. The scene
doesn't play very well, and the video quality is
not especially clean. (length: approx. 11 minutes)
A deleted musical number, The Faerie Dance,
has been lost forever. However, the scene's audio
tracks were recently discovered and are presented
here against original photos and storyboards.
(length: approx 2.5 minutes)
legend13.jpg

Three sets of storyboards give you
the original layouts for the scenes they proposed.
It demonstrates how closely a film can match
the work of the storyboard artist. Using your
remote, you can individually pan through each
storyboard picture. While this is certainly
interesting to look through, I miss having these
storyboards shown in 2 separate windows as they
compare the conceptual drawings to the final
filmed sequence.
Trailers are included for the U.S.
Theatrical version as well as the
International Trailer. Both trailers
are nearly identical (scenes shown against
logo lettering), though the U.S. version is
longer and shows more footage. Five TV Spots
are also included here.
Over 100 images make up the Photo Galleries
section ranging from publicity portrait captures
of the entire cast to some rare pictures that show
shots behind the camera as well as alternative scenes.
Script Supervisor Polaroids taken for
continuity purposes are also shown here. It's
an eerie look at the cast in full makeup. Please
be aware that all these pictures run automatically,
so in order to view them for extended periods of
time, you will have to use your remote's pause
control.
Final Thoughts
I'm not as huge a fan of Legend as many
members of this forum are, who have followed this
DVD release since it was announced well over a
year ago. Still, I appreciate the fact that
this is a visual masterpiece that only Director
Ridley Scott could have pulled off so masterfully.
It's a wonderful fantasy film that still holds
up to today's standards. With this incredible
2-disc Ultimate Edition selling for under $20
on-line, there is no question that it should
become a part of your collection.
Release Date: May 21, 2002
 

Ron-P

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2000
Messages
6,296
Real Name
Ron
...oh I am dying to get my paws on this. Thanks for the review Ron. Looks beautiful.
Peace Out~:D
 

Peter Apruzzese

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 20, 1999
Messages
4,301
Real Name
Peter Apruzzese
Good review, Ron. Makes me want to get this one right away.

One thing:

Universal has reassembled and released the long thought lost "Director's Cut" of the film...
I thought this was an all-new edit and not the same as any other version previously assembled by Scott?
 

Andy_S

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 19, 2000
Messages
393
I wasn't looking forward to this DVD but now it's on my wishlist. Thanks Ron!
 

todd stone

Screenwriter
Joined
Dec 1, 2000
Messages
1,760
Rob whether you liked it or hated it, this baby was coming to me no matter WHAT! :)
I am a HUGE legend / willow fan and now my 2 dream movies are here I am in bliss :)
Great review.
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
58,040
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
Peter,

Being unfamiliar with all the past releases

of this film on any format, you may be correct.

I was under the assumption that this cut was

assembled to the near standards of the original

Director cut.
 
Joined
May 25, 2000
Messages
268
Real Name
Charles de Lauzirika
I thought this was an all-new edit and not the same as any other version previously assembled by Scott?
It's the same 113 minute version that was originally test screened back in 1985, with some very minor tweaks that I doubt most people will notice. The biggest after-the-fact tweak was the replacement of some temp FX shots with their finished counterparts seen in the U.S. version.
If anyone wants to learn more about "Legend's" complicated history, be sure to check out the wonderful "Legend" FAQ at www.figmentfly.com/legend/index.shtml
 

Carlo Medina

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 31, 1997
Messages
12,309
Man, I've been waiting so long for this, it's hard to believe that it's nearly here!
The anticipation is killing me...I hope it will last :)
 

Peter Apruzzese

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 20, 1999
Messages
4,301
Real Name
Peter Apruzzese
Charlie, thanks for the definitive word on this version - I'm really looking forward to it.
 

Jo_C

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 20, 2001
Messages
347
One two three...hooray for DVD!

Actually, Ron, your review only got me more psyched up for the LEGEND DVD.

Earlier today I saw a video print of the butchered UK 94 (time compressed to 90) minute version of LEGEND as taken from my old imported LaserDisc (which I sold off some years back) just as a curio. When I saw it, I thought of it as just a "promo" preview of the director's cut to come.

After the DVD is released, I can throw away that video print.

Cross your fingers!
 

DarrenA

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 30, 2000
Messages
311
To show you how special this release is, Universal

has released this title in a a very unique clear

plastic packaging with Ridley Scott's signature

across the front that opens to a 3-pane gatefold.
This is the same awful clear plastic packaging used on some of the previous Ultimate Editions (American Pie, Meet Joe Black, Notting Hill) from Universal. There were several complaint threads back when these UE versions were released and I think they look awful. Heck the front panel doesn't even close, it's just folded over. I'll take an Amaray case over this junk packaging anyday.

Still going to buy this DVD though as I find it a wonderful movie that has always been very underrated.
 

Michael St. Clair

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 1999
Messages
6,001
Wanting to make the soundtrack more popular to the MTV inspired teens, Sheinberg hired a German electronic group called Tangerine Dream to compose the replacement soundtrack.
Was he nuts or what? I've never heard anything remotely like Tangerine Dream on MTV. A synthesizer is an instrument, not a musical genre.
 

cafink

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
Messages
3,044
Real Name
Carl Fink
It's the same 113 minute version that was originally test screened back in 1985, with some very minor tweaks that I doubt most people will notice. The biggest after-the-fact tweak was the replacement of some temp FX shots with their finished counterparts seen in the U.S. version.
Would you care to fill us in with details on the smaller tweaks? I know they are basically inconsequential but I'm such a film geek and quite curious.
 

Greg Robinson

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 16, 1999
Messages
223
Location
New England
Real Name
Greg R
"and unfortunately, the menu is rather simple with only a slight touch of animated skyline behind the Lord of Darkness"

"It too has a very simple animated menu of a unicorn set against the dawning sky."

This disc looks like a wonderful effort from Universal and I'm definitely ordering it. However, I must disagree with Ron's comments above; I think these menus look phenomenal! The words "subtle" and "elegant" spring to mind. I think drawn-out animated menus have become tiresome and often give away WAY TOO MUCH information, especially if it's the first time I'm seeing a film. Quick, intuitive and attractive menus are the way to go in my book - and these Legend menus appear spot-on in all departments!
 

Chuck Mayer

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2001
Messages
8,244
Location
Northern Virginia
Real Name
Chuck Mayer
Sold, Day One, watched Night One! I preordered this mad set back in 2000...looks like it is at least worth the wait!

Thanks, Ron, you lucky devil!

Take care,

Chuck
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
346,928
Messages
4,795,689
Members
141,941
Latest member
wernerhans57
Top