HTF REVIEW: "Legend" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, May 3, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein


    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.
    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.
    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.
    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?
    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.
    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
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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....
    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)
    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
    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
  2. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

    Jul 25, 2000
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    Real Name:
    ...oh I am dying to get my paws on this. Thanks for the review Ron. Looks beautiful.
    Peace Out~[​IMG]
  3. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

    Dec 20, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Peter Apruzzese
    Good review, Ron. Makes me want to get this one right away.

    One thing:

  4. Andy_S

    Andy_S Second Unit

    Jul 19, 2000
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    I wasn't looking forward to this DVD but now it's on my wishlist. Thanks Ron!
  5. todd stone

    todd stone Screenwriter

    Dec 1, 2000
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    Rob whether you liked it or hated it, this baby was coming to me no matter WHAT! [​IMG]
    I am a HUGE legend / willow fan and now my 2 dream movies are here I am in bliss [​IMG]
    Great review.
  6. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

    Jan 18, 2001
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    Relief has washed over me in a most awesome way. I love this movie!
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    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.
  8. Charles de Lauzirika


    May 25, 2000
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  9. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Oct 31, 1997
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    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 [​IMG]
  10. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

    Dec 20, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Peter Apruzzese
    Charlie, thanks for the definitive word on this version - I'm really looking forward to it.
  11. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

    Oct 20, 2001
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    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!
  12. DarrenA

    DarrenA Second Unit

    Aug 30, 2000
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  13. Michael St. Clair

    May 3, 1999
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  14. cafink

    cafink Producer

    Apr 19, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Carl Fink
  15. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    I can't wait to get my hands on this DVD....May is indeed a great month. As for the packaging, I'm hoping that Universal doesn't bilingualize the packaging on this side of the border as they have done with their most recent offerings. The plastic tri-fold packaging gives me hope that they won't be able to.
    Regardless....this set is mine come May 21st.[​IMG] [​IMG]
  16. Charles de Lauzirika


    May 25, 2000
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  17. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Apr 25, 2000
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    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    Nice review Ron, can't wait to feed this movie to my hungry dvd player.[​IMG]
  18. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

    Apr 15, 2002
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    Great review and another sale
    Oscar Merkx
  19. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

    Jan 1, 2001
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  20. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 16, 1999
    Likes Received:
    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!

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