Ignore VIEWER FROM NJ folks.
Willow has all the components for a fantasy story: a fairly long journey, myth, legend, a band of varied heroes, a witch, a dragon, trolls, and brownies...action, adventure, humour, romance...
For the time when it was made, it is great; as time passes, all your favourite movies will seem slip backwards, from a technological point of view. You appreciate a movie for what it is.
And while VIEWER FROM NJ mentions THe Phantom Mencace, which I must agree was tardy from every stand point, except the effects, he or she does not appreciate Willow. It's not that the movie is bad as he/she states; they just can't appreciate it for what it is.
It is not on the same epic scale as Lord of the Rings in terms of the books and the movies (after all, Willow is 1 movie, not 3). And unlike what VIEWER FROM NJ stated about "You gotta have plot character and the mythic element of the hero for fantasy to work and to make great movies on the subject", Willow has it all then some (see first paragraph).
See this movie remembering whence it came. VIEWER FROM NJ does appreciate that fact; also he/she seems to be young since they praised LOTR, saw The Phantom Menace then asked if there was "CGI back then". This seems to be the norm, for the younger folk not to appreciate and respect the movies from the previous years that has paved the way for the great (and unfortunately, not-so-great) movies of today and tomorrow. The dragon was actually done using a method called stop-motion animation; not CGI. There was more worked involved in this method - actual (minitaure) models were used.
So ignoring VIEWER FROM NJ review, borrow Willow if you can; I'm pretty sure you'll want to own it afterwards. Also have a look at Neverending Story (The first one), The Princess Bride, Legend, and Krull.