Film Review: Krull

Krull feels like a film that is trying to cash in on a variety of trends. It’s a fantasy film like Conan. It’s a grand heroic epic like Star Wars, but it doesn’t quite pull all of them off. However, Krull has its strengths that make it worth watching.

The film is set on a planet of the same name as the film’s title, which is invaded by some sort of alien entity known only as “The Beast”. It lands its massive fortress, before disgorging a horde of warriors known as “Slayers” to wreak havoc across the countryside. Two of the main kingdoms decide to ally through marriage (decided unilaterally by the prince of one kingdom and the princess of another) in order to face the Beast, only for The Beast to raid the castle during the wedding, kill both kings, and kidnap the princess. Cue big grand epic quest to rescue the princess.

The plot is fairly archetypal, pretty much hitting almost every one of the Hero’s Journey beats. The story isn’t what makes the film interesting. What makes it work is the cast and the visuals. Director Peter Yates mined a slew of established and up-and-coming UK and Irish actors, from veterans like John Welsh, Freddie Jones, Alun Armstrong, along with then up-and-comers like Robbie Coltrane and Liam Neeson.

And then there are the visuals. There are some truly imaginative sets in this film, with the interior of the Black Fortress of the Beast really taking the cake. It really felt like Peter Yates and the set designers pushed the techniques they had to their limits to make the fortress itself feel like it is very much a living thing.

Ultimately, while I enjoyed the film, I am also very much aware of its many flaws, and if you’re going to see this film, I recommend keeping those in mind. Additionally, when I re-watched it, I watched it during a Rifftrax live event. Should an audio-only Rifftrax for the film get a release, I would strongly recommend picking that up with the film, and I think it would help the film.

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