Ridley Scott's classic fairytale finally receives the treatment it deserved with the release of this two-disc set. It contains both the director's cut and the theatrical cut. The director's cut runs over 20 minutes longer than the theatrical version, and it also contains the original Jerry Goldsmith score.
I'm glad that the theatrical cut has also been included because I'm a big fan of its Tangerine Dream score. I must admit that the Goldsmith score is more fitting for the film but that Tangerine Dream score is so damn impressive. Especially when you consider that it was written in just three weeks!
That score is all that the theatrical version really has to offer as it seems too short in comparison to the original vision provided here. I also think that the theatrical cut makes a huge mistake by revealing the character of Darkness so early in the picture. It makes the sequence where Darkness emerges from the mirror, much later on, loose all of its powerful impact.
Ridley speaks thus on the commentary notes - "...in the end we delivered a different film. It wasn't necessarily a better or worse film. It just wasn't the film I had originally intended to make. And now finally - after more than 17 years - that lost film has been found. It restores character and story. It restores Jerry Goldsmith's glorious score. It restores my original vision for the film. In my eyes, Legend
is now complete."
Both cuts of Legend are presented in full widescreen but alas, no 5.1 score for the theatrical cut. However the isolated Tangerine Dream score on that version does make up for that shortcoming.
I suppose I had better explain the plot just in case anyone is unawares. It's not too complicated a story but that's the whole point really. Imagine a Beauty & The Beast theme and a story about the opposing forces of light and darkness. The role of Darkness (the beast) is provided by Tim Curry who looks nothing less than horrific underneath Rob Bottin's outstanding make-up. The role of Lily (the beauty) is played by a 15 year old Mia Sara. Some unknown bloke called Tom Cruise plays Jack the forest child. Don't panic, it's a young Cruise and he bears little resemblance to what's-his-name (Ethan Hawke?) or American James Bond as I prefer to call him.
Darkness will conquer all if the Unicorns in the forest are destroyed. Only Jack and some of the forest-folk can save those Unicorns, Lily and the world itself. It's much better than it sounds. Honestly! I'd also like to mention that the performances by the shorter actors are very impressive. It's a far cry from the embarrassment of Willow.
Both the scripting and dialogue are pleasing but the film is really an excuse for Scott to bombard us with scene after scene of lush fantasy images, and it has to be said that the film hasn't aged at all. The quality of the photography, the huge sets and Rob Bottin's work make you sit up and take notice.
Be warned though, dark as the film is at times, Legend contains much humour with the interplay between the forest-folk and the goblins. Legend is easily one of the greatest fantasy films ever made, and also one of my favourite movies. I'm pleased to see it receive this kind of treatment. It deserves no less.
This "Ultimate Edition" provides:
- Full widescreen
- Director's cut in DTS, and Dolby 5.1 & 2.0
- Theatrical cut in Dolby 2.0
- Audio commentary (director's cut)
- Isolated Tangerine Dream score (theatrical cut)
- The making of Legend (over 50 mins)
- Alternate opening sequence (over 10 mins)
- Deleted scene (Audio only but reconstructed with photos and storyboards)
- Storyboards for three sequences
- Bryan Ferry music video. Aaargh!!! (hey! I like Bryan Ferry!-ed)
- Cinema and television trailers
- Production, cast and film-maker notes
Ridley's commentary is entertaining as ever. It's no Alien beater but very few commentaries are.
However, check this out - "Now the kitchen set is essentially the devil's kitchen, and, em, that, er, guy there is clearly Pigface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Pigface?! Lol! I know what he's saying though, the kitchen worker does resemble Leatherface. Sorry Ridley but that moment made me laugh. Quite a bit too.
This anecdote made me laugh even more. "In fact, at the very beginning of the film. When you see the forest, with the pool and the high rock, the bear that you see at the beginning of the movie. This big dumb bear walked straight through the set in the first shot on the first day, and fell in the pool and couldn't swim. So the guy who owned him leapt in the pool, the bear... The guy screamed "Sally," leapt in the pool, the bear grabbed him around the neck and nearly drowned both of them." Oh man, I love commentaries!
The making of documentary is very good. It interviews the producer, writer, cinematographer, set decorator, production designer, editor and the stunt coordinator. As well as Ridley Scott and Rob Bottin. It also interviews Tim Curry, Mia Sara, (no Cruise!), Alice Playten (Blix), Robert Picardo (Meg Mucklebones), Billy Barty (Screwball), and Cork Hubbert (Brown Tom). Robert Picardo is better known as the hologram doctor from Star Trek and like many others, he's unrecognisable in his Legend role.
It's fascinating to watch the behind-the-scenes footage and watching the set-building particularly pleased me. There's enjoyable stuff from Bottin, and the documentary's participants also discuss the fire at Pinewood Studios, where the forest-set burned down. We even see photos of the devastation.
The strangest bit of this extra is where we hear that Blix the goblin is actually a caricature of Keith Richards from The Rollin Stones!!! Once they told me that, that was all I could see when I looked at the character!
So a very impressive release from Universal that does Scott's film justice. I do have one problem with it though - the packaging itself. It's made from clear, thin plastic and I really hate it. Other than that, no complaints. Just satisfaction.