Plot: What’s it about?
On the planet Krull, it seems as though doom has arrived in the form of a monster and his legions of Slayers, who seek to gain control of the lands through violence. The forces on Krull have little chance if they battle the attackers alone, but when two rival nations decide to join up, it seems like there might be a chance after all. The new partnership is to be kicked off with a marriage, as Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) and Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) take the vows and unite together. But the wedding doesn’t go as planned when the Slayers show up and in the end, the damage is severe and both nations are left in a mess. The attack resulted in the destruction of the gorgeous palace, the death of both kings, and of course, the kidnapping of Princess Lyssa. But this act of violence will not go unanswered, as Prince Colwyn and Ynyr (Freddie Jones) trek off to gain revenge and recover Lyssa before it is too late. It will not be a simple mission by any means, but Colwyn has a magical weapon and a lot of courage, which just might be enough to save the princess, but then again, maybe not…
I do love a good fantasy picture, which is why I am so pleased that Krull has arrived on our beloved format, in full special edition form no less. An excellent new transfer, active sound mix, and a wealth of supplements make this a disc to own, but more on the disc itself later in the review. I am a sucker for movies like this one, with swords, monsters, and of course, terrific production design teams that create incredible alternate worlds. I know these aren’t as action packed as most sci/fi flicks, but I like the slower pace and focus on story, I think it adds a lot to the film’s impact. I happen to think Krull is one of the better fantasy films out there, as it combines lush visuals, a gifted cast, and a terrific storyline to create a fun movie, one that both young and old audiences can appreciate. I do think some parts seem a little dated and of course, special effects have come a long way since 1983, but even so, I think Krull has held up well over the years. This movie has adventure, romance, and of course, a one eyed monster and in this case, those elements add up to one fun and worthwhile motion picture. I recommend this movie to all those interested and with such an excellent disc, a rental of purchase is more than justified.
At the helm of Krull is Peter Yates, who is able to take a cast of low profile talent and deliver one heck of a wild ride. But while Yates had a cast of unknowns in the master scheme of cinema, he was a well known director and had several popular films under his belt. Even so, his previous successful movies had name players, such as Nick Nolte, Steve McQueen, and Dennis Hopper, whereas Krull had minimal known talent. But Yates proved his skills with Krull and came through on all counts, as the lesser known proved to be no hindrance in the least, perhaps even enhancing the experience for viewers. He might not be the most well known director in the business, but Yates has proven he is a more than reliable worker. Other films directed by Yates include Murphy’s War, For Pete’s Sake, Mother Jugs & Speed, Bullitt, The Deep, and Breaking Away. The cast of Krull includes Ken Marshall (Claws, Burndown), Freddie Jones (The Satanic Rites of Dracula, The Elephant Man), Francesca Annis (Cleopatra, Headhunters), Lysette Anthony (Misbegotten, Husbands and Wives), and Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, The Haunting).
Video: How does it look?
Krull is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This film has never been given a proper visual treatment on home video, but this release changes that, as the movie looks excellent from top to bottom here. The source print used is clean and allows for a sharp image, although some grain is present at times, usually in special effects shots. But I don’t think the grain is that bad in the end, as it never distracts and is lessened from previous editions. The contrast here is excellent, as black levels look very sharp and detail is always strong, very impressive indeed. I was able to find minimal flaws with the color presence also, as the hues were bold and vivid, with only a few soft spots to lower the score a shade. In the end, this is a terrific transfer and one that finally gives this picture the image quality it deserves.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is also impressive, although not as much so as the visuals, but even so, the included Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks makes this a solid experience. The overall dynamic presence is less than explosive, but that is to be expected to a certain extent, due to the film’s age and source materials. The surrounds are used a lot in this mix, very rich sound effects and James Horner’s score is immersive and well placed also, very active overall mix here. But don’t expect a mind blowing experience here, as the surrounds are well used, but not to the extent of more recent releases. I had no trouble with the dialogue, which sounded clean and crisp at all times, with no volume errors I could detect. The disc also includes 2.0 surround tracks in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Thai, Korean, and Chinese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc bears the banner of a special edition, so the content needs to live up to that name and in this case, it does. A total of four photo galleries can be found on this disc, which each hold a number of photos, from eight to almost a hundred stills. The galleries each cover a different area and the areas are Vintage Advertising, Behind The Scenes, Cast Portraits, and Design & Concept, all very cool and fun to browse through. Next up is Journey to Krull, a made for television featurette that runs about twenty minutes and offers a peek behind the scenes of Krull. There isn’t much aside from the usual promotional stuff in this piece, but I am still pleased it has been included on this disc, although a more in depth addition would have been welcome as well. A unique audio track is found here also, which consists of a magazine article from 1982 that contained a wealth of information on Krull, mostly behind the scenes stuff. More than worth a listen, this track is loaded with inside scoop on the film, very cool indeed. If you want a more conventional audio commentary track however, this disc has one and it features director Peter Yates, as well as actors Ken Marshall & Lysette Anthony and editor Ray Lovejoy. I liked this track a lot, as Yates and Lovejoy have a lot to discuss and seem prepared, although the actors don’t share as much, which is a let down of sorts. Next is a very cool feature, which presents the comic book adaptation from Marvel, right on your television screen. This is pretty much like reading the comic book, but it is cooler than it sounds and runs about forty-five minutes in length. This disc also includes talent files, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.