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Legend (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • Legend (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: October 12th, 2021.
    Director: Ridley Scott
    Cast: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty
    Year: 1985
    Purchase From Amazon

    Legend - Movie Review:

    Arrow brings together a host of extras and both cuts of Ridley Scott's Legend for a two-disc special edition release sure to please fans of the film but unlikely to sway those not already enamored with the picture.

    Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible, Interview With A Vampire) plays Jack, a forest dwelling mystic chosen to save Princess Lily (played by Mia Sara of Ferris Bueller's Day Off fame) from the Lord of Darkness (played by a scene stealing Tim Curry, best known as Dr. Frankenfurter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show) who also seeks to bring about eternal darkness by destroying the last known Unicorn, who carry in their souls the essence of life. It's every bit as hokey as it sounds.

    The plot is pretty simple. Along the way, Jack encounters help from an assorted group of fantasy forest creatures like elves and sprites and the like. The visuals in the film are fantastic, and Scott really lets his imagination run wild in this movie, probably more so than any of his other films to date. It's a shame, however, that the picture can't quite coast on the strength of those visuals, as the story just isn't anything all that interesting or engaging.

    Tom Cruise, as usual, is Tom Cruise. He plays Jack unconvincingly and even at a young age he comes across as a pompous fool most of the time. It's hard to like him. Mia Sara is decent enough as the Princess; she looks and acts the part well and unlike her male co-star, isn't hard to like at all. The highlight of the cast however, is the extremely underrated Tim Curry. He really does his best to bring Darkness to life, and is as menacing and evil as any on screen fantasy villain you'd care to name.

    The Director's Cut does do quite a bit to flesh out the scenes and characters in Legend, and it is a much better movie than the theatrical cut. The addition of Goldsmith's score really helps the movie a lot. But, unfortunately, even this version seems dated today and the atmosphere of the film just isn't as tense as it needs to be (with the exception of a few scenes where Darkness is the central character). The movie is worth watching because a lot of the visuals are interesting, but it's hard to argue that Legend really deserves the status of 'classic' that it's somehow acquired over the years. Still, it offers eighties movie buffs a hefty dose of nostalgia and there is a lot of creativity on display here.

    Legend - Blu-ray Review:

    Both versions of Legend are presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition on separate 50GB discs and framed properly at 2.35.1 widescreen. Disc one features a new 2K restoration of the U.S. theatrical cut “from original materials including a 4K scan of the original negative” and takes up 29.9Gbs of space on the disc, whereas no information is provided about the source for the Director's Cut, which takes up 36.8GBs of space. The theatrical cut looks great, boasting excellent color and detail with really impressive depth and strong black levels. Nothing to complain about here. The superior Director's Cut is presumably taken from the existing Universal master and while it looks quite good, it isn't nearly as strong a presentation as the one afford the theatrical cut.

    Arrow has provided 24-bit DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo audio options, in the film's native English, for both cuts of the film, with optional English SDH subtitles provided for each version of the movie. Both versions of the movie sound very good, with the 5.1 mix spreading out the score quite nicely and using some impressive effects placement quite effectively. The audio is properly balanced and clean.

    Extras are spread across the two disc set as follows:

    Disc One - U.S. Theatrical Cut:

    Extras start off with a new commentary by Paul M. Sammon author of Ridley Scott: The Making of His Movies. Sammon provides plenty of biographical information about Scott as the track progresses and also does a nice job of talking up the efforts of the cast and crew, going over the scripting and pre-production phase, the score, the effects work and lots more. He covers a lot of ground and clearly know his subject very well.

    The Creatures Of Legend is a two-part featurette. The first part, Inside The Illustrations, is a ten minute look at the design work that has gone into creating the different and varied creatures that populate the film's landscape. The second part, Inside The Make-up Effects, spends sixteen minutes going over the different makeup tactics and techniques that were necessary to bring these creatures to life.

    The Music Of Legend is another two-part featurette, with the first part, entitled Jerry Goldsmith, spending sixteen minutes exploring the famous composer's work on the picture. The second part, Tangerine Dream, gives thirteen minutes of screen time to the prog rock band's contributions to the film's score.

    Disc one also features a thirty minute look back at the making of the film called Remembering Legend which is made up of interviews with grip David Cadwalladr, production supervisor Hugh Harlwo, costume designer Charles Knode, co-star Annabelle Lanyon, camera operator Peter MacDonald, set decorator Ann Mollo and draftsman John Ralph. In this piece, each interviewee shares some insight into their work on the film and what their specific experiences were like.

    Incarnations Of A Legend is an interesting comparison featurette written and narrated by critic Travis Crawford that runs twenty-one minutes and which does an appreciated deep dive into the differences between the multiple cuts of the film that are out there.

    The Directors: Ridley Scott is a fifty-eight minute documentary from 2003 where Scott discusses not just Legend but pretty much his entire career up to this point in time. It's a pretty in-depth piece that goes over most of the highpoints and lets Scott, in his own words, express his thoughts on a lot of pretty iconic projects that his name has been attached to over the years.

    Rounding out the extras on disc one are the 2002 reconstructed isolated score by Tangerine Dream, the alternate opening from the TV version, an isolated music and effects track, and the “Is Your Love Strong Enough?” music video by Bryan Ferry as well as menus and chapter selection options.

    Disc Two - Director's Cut:

    Carried over from the DVD edition is a commentary on the Director's Cut disc with director Ridley Scott, who seems genuinely enthusiastic to finally have his original cut of the film restored and released. Those who enjoy the film will likewise find much to like about the commentary track, where Scott goes into a lot of detail about the making of the film.

    We also get 'Creating A Myth: The Making of Legend,' a documentary on the making of the film that clocks in at just over 50 minutes in length, and despite the fact that Tom Cruise didn't get involved, it's a really interesting look at the cast and crew and what they went through trying to bring a very FX heavy fairy tale to the big screen without the aid of CGI. Additionally, this disc includes the original promotional featurette from 1985 that runs ten minutes and serves as a basic EPK-styled look behind the scenes of the movie.

    In addition, there are also some 'lost scenes' presented here, including an alternate opening and the infamous 'Fairy Dance' scene which is presented in the same way that the lost footage on MGM's Blue Velvet disc was released. The footage for this scene has been lost and it's been 'recreated' using the original audio overtop of a photomontage. The footage is in really rough shape, but it's nice to be able to see it, no matter how beat-up it looks.

    Universal also gives us storyboards for three complete scenes, two drafts of William Hjortsberg's screenplay, a selection of alternate footage from the overseas release plus textless footage, a selection of trailers and TV spots, some still galleries, menus and chapter selection options.

    As Arrow has only sent test discs for review and we can't review what we don't have, we're unable to comment on any packaging, inserts or booklet material meant to be included with this release at this time. Should proper materials be made available, we'll update this review accordingly.

    Legend - The Final Word:

    Legend is a visually impressive nostalgia rush with a great performance from Tim Curry that, ultimately, isn't all that good. That didn't stop Arrow from giving the film the deluxe treatment, however, as the new transfer of the theatrical cut looks fantastic and there's a massive selection of extra features old and new here. For those out there who do appreciate the movie, this set should be much appreciated.

    Click on the images below for full-sized Legend (theatrical cut) screen caps!

    Click on the images below for full-sized Legend (Director's Cut) screen caps!

    • agent999
      Senior Member
      agent999 commented
      Editing a comment
      Saw a recent video of Tim Curry, he's in a really bad way after his stroke.

    • Barry M
      Barry M
      Super Fiend
      Barry M commented
      Editing a comment
      That GalaxyCon interview with Seb Sandford? Too sweet for this board, but yeah, though he's rocking the virtual. "I'm having a lovely rest." We'll always have MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND.

    • Alison Jane
      Alison Jane
      Girl Boss Jane
      Alison Jane commented
      Editing a comment
      Love that he still has a wicked sense of humor and mentally he's still all there.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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