Thoughts on “Krull”

This one is the last movie in the 11 movie pack that I picked.  I thought the name sounded familiar, but I might well have been confusing it with “Kull the Conqueror”.  At any rate, this does have some bigger names in it in small roles (Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane being the most prominent) but it doesn’t appear to be a very well-received movie.  And in my opinion, it really shouldn’t be.

The basic plot is this:  there is some sort of alien race of invaders going around and invading planets, and there is a legend on this planet that a woman shall choose a king and they will rule their world, and their son will rule the galaxy.  We are introduced to the pair early on with a marriage to form an alliance to battle the aliens, which is interrupted by said aliens who kidnap her and seem to slaughter everyone else.  However, her beau survives and sets out to rescue her, with the help of a wise man, and they pick up a number of other people along the way.  Meanwhile, the leader of the invaders tries to convince the woman to marry him.  Her beau also picks up a mythical weapon but is warned not to use it until the end.  And so the movie goes.

The big problem with this movie is that the plot really seems to be a bunch of sidequests.  As I’ve noted in the past, science fiction can often get away with creating a premise that gives the characters an excuse to wander around the planet showing up what things are like, and while this is more of a fantasy movie that model can work for them as well.  The problem is that here the parts of the quest are just there to have things in a quest to do, and so don’t follow from the plot or world itself.  They need to find a way to find and get to the teleporting fortress, and so find a guy to do that.  The enemy then immediately finds out about him, replaces him, and then attacks them, snuffing out that attempt.  So the wise man needs to go talk to what turns out to be his old love to figure out where it is, and this leads to a long scene where she ends up being killed by her own guardian spider at the end of it.  And then from there they suddenly need to find a way to get there — quickly, because it moves every day — and find some fire horses to do that, and then have to get into the fortress, and then rescue the woman, and so on and so forth.

But all of these issues are just too “convenient” when it comes to the story.  They happen for no reason other than that they need to happen to try to build tension and drama and to provide obstacles for the heroes (or to overcome them).  Think about it this way:  in “Fellowship of the Ring”, Gimli notes that Gandalf is taking the long way around and they could go through the Mines of Moria, and Gandalf replies that he wouldn’t do that.  Then, when they are forced to turn back from the pass, we know that there is another option and know that there’s some reason why Gandalf doesn’t want to go through it, even though we don’t know why.  Here, the wise man never mentions someone else who might be able to figure out where the fortress is, and we don’t find out their connection until the end of their conversation.  There aren’t even any hints of it.  So what happens is that they seek out their first candidate, that one is replaced, the attack happens, the wise man says that he has another solution, and then we find out that history … and then find out that they still need a way to get there and then happen to remember the fire horses.  The problems are only mentioned right when they need to be and are never set up in advance, and the solutions also come out of nowhere just when they are needed.  This is pretty much exactly how bad sidequests work in RPGs:  situations are contrived so that the heroes suddenly need to do something that they didn’t know they needed to do to solve a problem that they found out they had immediately before the solution was presented to them.  This can work in a game since it gives the player something to do, but it doesn’t work very well in a movie where all we are doing is watching the heroes and so have more time to notice and are less supportive of the contrivances.

Also, the movie never explains what he was supposed to save the weapon for, nor does it ever explain in any way how the prophecy gets fulfilled or if it would have been fulfilled if the leader of the invaders had gotten the woman to marry him . Since that was highlighted at the beginning and the end of the movie it’s something that the movie clearly thinks important but clearly doesn’t want to bother to actually deal with.

I don’t think I want to watch this movie again.  Some of individual sections are done well, but the connections between them are done so poorly that the movie just doesn’t hold up.

Out of this pack of 11 movies, “Slipstream” is clearly the best, which is sad because it isn’t all that good.  Out of the rest, many of them have some charm but there isn’t one that rises to the level of a movie that I’d really want to watch again.


One Response to “Thoughts on “Krull””

  1. natewinchester Says:

    GBF did a video on Krull.

    Rifftrax also had a live show riffing it.

    Like you said, not a great movie, but it had a certain b-movie charm that’s hard to hate. It’s one movie I’d say is ripe for a remake. Lots of fertile ground for ideas but a generally poor execution.

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