When I started blogging this was one of the posts I was the most excited to do. I wanted to revisit the things I loved as a child and see how my perspective differs as an adult.
Is there a potential for the magic to be lost? Absolutely. But in the name of science I am okay with that.
One of the movies I was the most obsessed with as a child was Willow. It was generally considered a box office flop, but little me didn’t care about any of that. There were knights, monsters, sword fights and magic. My neighbourhood friends and I would often rent the movie on VHS (what’s that?) and watch it as many times as we could in a weekend. I’ve probably watched the movie over 50 times in my life.
Here we go!
The movie opens with a pretty dire situation. There’s this evil queen and a prophesy – pretty standard for a fantasy story. The prophesy is that a child will be born that will result in the end of her reign of terror. As these prophecy things always come true, Evil Queen Bavmorda rounds up all of the pregnant women in the land so she can look out for this wonder-baby Elora.
Fortunately for us and the rest of this movie, the baby is really good at knowing when to keep quiet and she is smuggled out of the castle by a very brave nursemaid.
Unfortunately for the nursemaid, she eventually gets eaten by pig-dogs beasts while Elora goes whitewater rafting much like baby Moses. Luckily, the pig-dogs don’t follow her down the river. At the end of the river trip Elora/Moses is discovered by the hobbit- I mean Nelwyn children.
Also, did I mention how fucking adorable this child is? I think I took more screencaps of her facial expressions than anything else in this movie.
Anyway, our titular character Willow is brought to Elora by his also very cute children. He figures since the baby is different, they should just send it back down the river. Heartless.
HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO THIS FACE!
Fortunately for little Elora, Willow’s wife vetoes the ‘float the cute baby down the river’ idea and takes her home with the kids. To be fair to Willow, he does have a lot on his plate. He needs to plant his crops and he has this asshole breathing down his neck. I’m just going to call him Sir Schadenfreude from now on because that is why his character exists.
Willow is planning on showing Sir Schadenfreude that he is awesome by performing some magic at the big festival and hopefully becoming discount Gandalf’s next apprentice. However, everyone fails discount Gandalf’s test/riddle and no apprentice is chosen. Maybe next time Willow. The festivities are brought to a shocking halt by another visit from the baby hunting pig-dog beasts. They tear up the village before being killed by the Nelwyn warriors.
Willow rushes home to check on his wife and he finds her and Elora safe. Formerly heartless Willow is now starting to kinda love this little baby. I mean, how could you not?
At this point I am 100% more invested in this baby than anything else in the movie. As a kid I was all about the swordfights. As an adult, JUST SHOW ME THE CUTE BABY!
Cue the town hall meeting where the angry hobbits cheer to throw whoever brought the baby into town into “the pit.” Brutal hobbits. Discount Gandalf saves the day by proclaiming that the baby is special.
Using his fortune telling bones, which actually tell him nothing, he has Willow go on a journey to return Elora to the humans. He needs an entourage though. All reluctant heroes need an entourage. After complaining about sending the village warriors, Sir Schadenfreude gets chosen by discount Gandalf.
Now we get some wonderful journeying footage. Mountains, waterfalls, lush forests. The movie was filmed in England, Wales and New Zealand and the scenery throughout the movie is honestly stunning.
I spent more time taking screencaps of the baby though, because she is giving me life and also vomiting on Sir Schadenfreude.
Back at the evil queen’s empire. She is pretty pissed off at her daughter for not being able to find prophecy baby. I guess it isn’t really her fault that the pig-dog things seem pretty terrible at tracking babies. Here we get to really meet Sorsha, the beautiful badass warrior princess. She’s pretty determined to prove to her mom that she is capable. She don’t need no man!
I was borderline obsessed with Sorsha when I watched this growing up. There weren’t many warrior type women in movies in the 80s so I latched on to her character. Also, looking back on it I think I may have had a little bit of a thing for her. But I also kind of wanted to be her. The classic WLW dilemma: Wife goals or life goals?
Sorsha and Kale leave to find the baby and the queen’s wise old man side kick warns her that he has forseen that Sorsha will betray her. To which the queen retorts, “I trust her more than I you.” Dumb witch, haven’t you ever heard of foreshadowing?
Back to the journey.
We finally make it to the crossroads and meet Madmartigan/Val Kilmer.
I was never a fan of his character when I was a kid. He is a little bit of a jerk and kind of awful. He is supposed to be the charming rake/Han Solo type character. Still not my favourite. At least as the show goes on his teeth start to look better and better.
All of the hobbits except for Willow and Meegosh (Samwise) decide that they need to leave the baby with the dirty man in a cage. They leave Willow and Meegosh. However, after a night in the cold the two remaining hobbits decide to free Madmartigan and leave Elora with him.
Madmartigan takes off carrying Elora while Willow and Meegosh head back to the village. However, it doesn’t take long for Madmartigan to lose Elora to a group of brownies with a giant eagle. The special effects of the brownies really don’t hold up, but the cutout tinier humans manage to capture Willow and Meegosh by chasing them into a classic hidden pit trap.
When the reluctant heroes wake up they are visited by the benevolent spirit Galadriel/Cherlindrea. She tells Willow that he can’t go home and that he has to take this very important baby Elora to find the exiled sorceress Fin Raziel. She entrusts Willow with her magic wand and leaves two of the Brownies with him to provide comic relief.
After sending Meegosh back home, Willow and the tiny comic relief units head into a very dirty looking human tavern. They need to find milk for the baby. What better place than a tavern? A tavern where they happen to run into Madmartigan again who is dressed as a woman while trying to avoid getting beat down by the husband of a woman he slept with.
The resulting wagon chase scene was always one of my favourite parts. The amount of danger that this child goes though though… man I must be getting old, worrying about this adorable baby.
This post is really starting to get out of control as I am trying to work in all of the baby screencaps. So if you’re still with me… After the wagon chase, the heroes continue to head to the island where Raziel is exiled. Madmartigan departs yet again now that they have reached their destination. Slowly, Madmartigan is redeeming himself and he is growing on everyone, especially Elora. He’s still not growing on me though.
Willow awkwardly rows a boat to exile island only to find out that Raziel was transformed into a possum by the evil queen. Raziel is pretty pissed off that Willow has no idea how to use the magic wand to change her back, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Willow comes back to the island with Raziel and they barely have a chance to settle in before they are ambushed by Sorsha’s forces. Who else do they have in tow but Madmartigan. Reunited yet again! Sadly, they are all in captivity now.
That is where I will leave it off for now. The heroes are captured, their futures uncertain.
Next week I’ll continue with weird love potion nonsense, an epic toboggan chase, and so many pigs. Oh and super cute baby screen caps, of course.
Chemist by day, dodgeballer and photographer by night. Relationship anarchist and passionate Earper.