5.0 out of 5 stars
Pure Magic, Oct 16 2004
This film is truly a homage to pure, undamaged, fairy-tale magic. Although created in the age before computer animation, it sends the viewer to a realm that is foreign but feels familiar - maybe because it lives deep in our unconscious - a world of magical creatures and unicorns and princesses, and, of course, Evil. In this bold Ridley Scott deviation, the craft of moviemaking and wild imagination combined bring to life our innermost fears and fantasies. As far as makeup, set, direction and technical special effects are concerned, this is a true work of art. Any trick of the trade we've seen in LOTR comes from here. The host of magical creatures and the extensive netherworld bring to mind the phantasmagorical images of Rheon Argonian's dream-world or the medieval illustrations to Dante's Hell by Alberto Rios. The Evil is pure evil. The Good is light and luminous. But the borders of light and darkness are blurred, like in any good fairy-tale. As far as cast is concerned, the characters seem to live in their skins. Cruise, the hero, is still very young here, and despite his later reputation is completely in his element: he is saving the world. And, the drama between His Satanic Lordship (Tim Curry) and the Princess (Mia Sara) is darkly captivating and emotionally charged in all sorts of directions...
This film, strangely overlooked, sets the archetype in the genre of fantasy. It leaves an impression. It doesn't even require the viewer to suspend disbelief - the realm it portrays must be real, somewhere, somehow, simply because of the way it's made and because deep inside we believe in the basic, primal struggle of light and dark, of one life force with another. There is something beautiful and urgent and innocent in the simple facts of that enchanted world, in its fragility - its summer and light resting in the horn of a single unicorn. It is also deeply passionate, whether this passion drives one to save the world or to destroy it.
In a word, if you've ever longed for the magical, even if it was long-ago when you were a kid and didn't learn yet to be scornful and cynical of emotions, this movie is for you. Enjoy it!