My new motto when dealing with Disney+ originals is, “Look, they don’t have to be all Andor.”
It Andor recently wrapped up its first season has got to be the best Disney+ original, but it’s the first A Disney+ original that gives the impression of doing something really dangerous (or at least something really challenging) within the confines of a media giant that pleases everyone. Most Disney+ originals tend to fold themselves neatly with existing properties (even WandaVision is also, at its heart, the big screen Doctor Strange Adventure Prelude) or actively caters to fans of the beloved game, no matter how mediocre. But Andor came along, and used its Star Wars framework for a serious exploration of the banality of evil, the corrupting effects of capitalism, and the erosion of authoritarianism. It’s off-brand and daring, not the sort of thing I’d even recommend that Disney try too often.
Bottom Line Despite some odd choices, it’s still moderately fantasy fun.
Wednesday, November (Disney+) throw: Warwick Davis , Ruby Cruz, Erin Kellyman, Ellie Bamber, Tony Revolori, Amar Chadha-Patel, Dempsey Bryk
Developed By Jonathan Kasdan
, then, returns to bring us based on Disney+ pipeline Mighty Duck and 1234985329Turner & Hooch, and Hocus Pocus and the sequel to Enchanted. Adapted by Jonathan Kasdan from Ron Howard’s 1988 favorite fantasy novel, Willow is solid middle-of-the-road entertainment that aims to provide mnemonic fun to viewers who already love the property with some updated ideas and some polished and polished special effects. It suffers when it doesn’t quite capture the sound and tone of the original film, but just as its successes aren’t truly dazzling, its failures aren’t fatal either.
I am when Willow came out and I echoed its message that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. This movie is more of a silly Saturday afternoon serial than a melodrama or opera fantasy delivered by Ladyhawke or Labyrinth . Warwick Davis makes a perfectly overlooked protagonist, Val Kilmer expertly channels a Harrison Ford-esque rogue, and Joanne Joanne Whalley is a badass.
Willow might feel like a generational curio – even back then, the special effects alone went from “cute and effective” to ” Immediately clichéd “variety” – but a reminder of the film’s unexpected importance to FX’s spectacular Reservation Dogs that still holds a place in many hearts. , Willow beats ) Hillbilly Elegy .
As aspiring magician Willow Ufgood (Davis) helps debauched mercenary Madmartigan (Kilmer) and conflicted warrior princess Sorsha (Whalley) save Years after Elora Danan, the eight-episode season begins, with babies destined to save a kingdom.
Sorsha and her babies – Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Airk (Dempsey Bryk) Rule Tir Asleen together – until Elora Danan, safe in incognito, can ascend. Kit is following in her mother’s footsteps, training to fight her best friend – or more?!? – Jade (Erin Kellyman). A well-tempered cad strikes up a new relationship with a charming kitchen maid (Ellie Bamber’s Dove), Airk is more like his father, Madmartigan, whose absence is a key plot point.
When Airk Kit, Jade and Dove are kidnapped and the omens loom, they must embark on a journey, accompanied by a thief seeking redemption (Amar Chada-Patel as Boorman) and Kit’s cowardly Husband-to-be (Tony Revolori) (Graydon), but what this aspiring partner really needs—protection, inspiration, and instruction—is a wizard. The only one left in the land? You guessed it: Willow!
The critics have received seven hours of Willow episodes, and maybe by the sixth episode, something similar to the unique Direction stuff for the series. But most of the first season was about “Hey, remember that IP you loved? Among the structures we already know you like, here are plenty of references to it! The Vein has completely fueled too many contemporary stories. And so, once again, the dark rises, Elora Danan – whose identity was revealed anticlimactically early – becomes the light, Willow doubts again and must learn Believe in yourself. Callbacks are everywhere and the show seems convinced you just mention Cherlindrea’s wand or finger test or skull-faced General Kyle or those brownie-little people with peculiar French-Canadian accents- who annoy this critic , even when he was a child. Hints of James Horner’s theatrical score are at the heart of James Newton Howard’s series music to delightful effect.
However, accompanying this meta-spirit was the odd decision to have half the characters in Willow talking as if they were the recently rescued post-modern refugee Bell reboot. Plucky Kit Watch Looks less like an aspiring fighter and more like someone planning to host a podcast about fighters. Grouchy Boorman stars as Roy Kent from Ted Lasso , as Television Without Pity Recap. Heck, there was a troll – bridges, not networks – who said “Anyhoo! ’ or something like that. The original film is hilarious to the point of universal stupidity, but it’s almost completely devoid of irony—especially compared to something like The Princess Bride—that kind of The relentless pranks and winks suggest a fear that viewers will no longer be able to have fun with sincerely corny fantasies (which will be news to fans of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series). Or as Boorman puts it, “Your generation pays next to zero attention to epic stories. Is this true?
Willow often forgets that it’s meant to be an epic story, so Boorman isn’t sarcasm about the thing Willow is – he’s satirizing what it’s supposed to be. The first two episodes (directed by Stephen Woolfenden with proficiency, but no real talent) are a nice reset of these works, the first two Episodes six and seven (directed by Philippa Lowthorpe and Jamie Childs) have exciting action and some real laughs, but the middle of the episode is just a mess. For a long time, the characters just sit there whining while Will Lo was trying to train the guy who turned out to be Elola Danan. There was an entire episode where the action was shot entirely in such wretched darkness that it almost made House of the Dragon visual And then relying too heavily on that trope, a magical place, item or potion that causes each character to dream, hallucinate or fantasize about something related to their inner insecurities – it’s an old trope, of course, but Shouldn’t be in nearly half an episode of a series.
No one ever said the action-comedy-fantasy balance was easy – if it were, every show would be The Magicians – but when it does, Willow works fine. Not Lord of the Rings, but Willow looks big, special effects are done well, can’t say movie. With new queer undercurrent and racial inclusivity, Willow Themes about overlooked heroes, false first impressions, and the resilience of the underdeveloped are stronger.
It’s all a generally likable host by Davies His weather-beaten and jaded performance contrasts with his youthful and joyful appearance in the film.Willow‘s emotional highlights are not long, but Davis and his daughter Annabelle There are early scenes in between, playing Willow’s daughter Mims, which really brought me to tears.
I love the complicated Kit/Jade relationship, Cruz and Kellyman are great, None of the characters are as funny as the others though. Bamber brings a nice kind of silliness to Dove, though I don’t know why she’s using an American accent to tone down some of her better punchlines. Chadha-Patel is actually hilarious at times , making crude comments about everything around him, though Boorman’s writing is inconsistent. Yes, there are Lots of caveats, and plenty of cameos, including an interesting turn by Christian Slater as the mysterious prisoner.
Still a work in progress in terms of tone, pacing, and character, Disney+’s Willow delivers more than enough of what matters to fans , and will provide a basic level of entertainment for some curious newcomers. Could there be richer, more complex stories to tell in this world? certainly. But not everything needs to be Andor.