What are some of the reviews of the LEGEND Ultimate Edition DVD?
21 Reviews Posted (as of 11/22/11)
November 22nd, 2011
Check out this awesome article called Restoring LEGEND - A Tribute
to Ridley Scott's Resurrected Fantasy (Plus: An Interview with Charles
de Lauzirika) by Andre Dursin at http://www.andyfilm.com/6-21-11.html.
August 25th, 2002
- Thanks to Matthew Wright for letting me know about the following five LEGEND DVD Reviews.
- The following review can be found at http://www.thedigitalbits.com/reviews2/legendultimate.html.
Ultimate Edition - 1985 (2002) - Universal
review by Adam Jahnke of The Digital Bits
Film Ratings (Director's Cut/U.S. Cut): B-/C-
Disc Ratings - Video (Director's Cut/U.S. Cut): B+/B-
Disc Ratings - Audio (Director's Cut DTS/Director's Cut DD/U.S. Cut): A-/B+/C
Disc Ratings - Extras: A
Specs and Features
Disc One: Director's Cut
114 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, custom
keep case packaging, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at
1:02:50 in chapter 10), audio commentary with director Ridley Scott,
animated film-themed menu screens with music, scene access (18
chapters), languages: English (DTS 5.1, DD 5.1 and DD 2.0), subtitles:
English, French and Spanish
Disc Two: U.S. Theatrical Version
90 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, custom
keep case packaging, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (no layer switch),
Creating a Myth: The Memories of Legend documentary, isolated music
score by Tangerine Dream, 2 lost scenes, 3 storyboard sequences, 2
theatrical trailers (U.S. and International), 4 TV spots, 3 photo
galleries, Is Your Love Strong Enough music video by Bryan Ferry,
production notes, cast & filmmakers bios and filmographies, DVD-ROM
features (script-to-screen viewer), Universal recommendations, animated
film-themed menu screens with music, languages: English (DD 2.0
Surround), subtitles: English, French and Spanish
I don't believe I'll get much argument when I say that the fantasy
genre has had, at best, a very spotty track record on film. Other than
Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast and (arguably) Peter Jackson's The
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, there are very, very few
real classics to boast of (before you start firing off angry e-mails,
realize I'm only talking about live-action movies here - animated
movies are an entirely different cauldron of newts). So it was with no
small amount of anticipation that fantasy fans awaited Ridley Scott's
Legend in 1985. Having conquered science fiction with Alien and Blade
Runner, it seemed that Scott was just the kind of visionary needed to
jump-start the genre. Well... that didn't happen. But even though
Legend was not well received, the anticipation didn't die. Word quickly
spread that American audiences had seen only a compromised version of
the film, severely cut and saddled with a completely new music score by
Tangerine Dream. Only in Europe could you see the original version,
with a score by Jerry Goldsmith that, rumor had it, ranked with Scott's
best work. It didn't take long for Euro-Legend to turn into the Holy
Grail of fantasy films. Legend had become a legend.
In one of the best corporate decisions a studio has ever made,
Universal has released both versions of Legend on a splendid new
two-disc DVD, allowing audiences to decide for themselves which version
is better. Both have their champions but, for me, it's no contest. The
director's cut is hands down the superior film. When I first saw Legend
theatrically, I was deeply disappointed. Primed by Scott's prior two
films, and publicity photos that focused on Tim Curry in Rob Bottin's
amazing makeup as Darkness, I was more than a little let down to
discover that Legend was basically a junior high girl's spiral notebook
cover sprung to life, complete with unicorns, dancing fairies, glitter
and magic pixies. This was not what I had in mind. Watching it again
for this review, I found that I could swallow some of the treacle a bit
more easily. Even so, I had some big problems with the film that I
simply couldn't put my finger on until I watched the director's cut.
The first difference between the two is the elimination of a text piece
that, in the American version, basically tells you the entire story.
It's a subtle change, one that I haven't seen commented on much, but it
makes all the difference. Next, you'll notice that Darkness doesn't
fully reveal himself in the director's cut until the famous scene in
which he steps through the mirror to meet Lily (Mia Sara). In the
American version, we get a pretty good look at him almost immediately.
Obviously, the thinking was that since the publicity relied so heavily
on this character, and they weren't trying to keep his look a secret,
they should exploit it as much as possible. This rationale doesn't take
into account the dramatic importance of a character's entrance. The
director's cut has more mystery and more menace. Only in this version
does the mirror scene have its full dramatic impact.
And then there's the music issue. Jerry Goldsmith has crafted some of
the greatest scores in movie history, but I don't think I'd go so far
as to say that this is one of his best. However, it's certainly more
appropriate. I don't dislike Tangerine Dream. In fact, I think their
music for William Friedkin's underrated Sorcerer is a truly great
electronic film score. But in this case, it marries the movie to the
1980's. And the awful pop ballads that end the movie will make you take
back every bad thing you ever said about Limahl's title tune for The
NeverEnding Story. Goldsmith's score is romantic and timeless. It does
a better job selling the audience on the reality of the images. In the
director's cut, Goldsmith's score makes you believe you're seeing
unicorns. The Tangerine Dream score makes you believe you're seeing a
couple of very pretty horses with horns glued to their heads.
For all its improvements, the director's cut of Legend does not solve
every problem. The biggest flaw with the movie is indicated by its
bland title. Scott and screenwriter William Hjortsberg might just as
well have called their movie Generic Fairy Tale. This is an extremely
simple story of Good vs. Evil (or Light vs. Darkness if you prefer).
It's a terrific movie to look at. In fact, this might be Ridley Scott's
most beautiful looking film and that's really saying something. But we
aren't given much reason to care. And sure, the movie hits most of the
main totems of a classic fairy tale. But it misses one big one. There's
no real moral to this story. Don't get me wrong here - I don't believe
every movie must have a moral. Far from it. But the best fairy tales,
from the Brothers Grimm on down, all have some little lesson to them.
If there's a lesson to be learned here, I can't find it since, by
story's end, we're right back where we started.
As for the DVD itself, this is generally a very nice looking disc,
though not without problems. The director's cut looks considerably
better than the U.S. version. The American release suffers from a
softer image and a bit of artifacting, resulting from cramming the
entire thing onto a disc with a boatload of extras. The director's cut
is much cleaner, with lovely, vibrant colors. The red of Darkness' skin
is quite something. But this is a very dark movie, particularly in the
second half. Details get washed out of the darkest shots with alarming
regularity. At it's worst, you can simply be looking at a muddy black
screen in which you can kind of see something moving around. There's
also some distracting edge enhancement here and there, which keep this
transfer well below reference quality. As for the sound, the director's
cut is again given preferential treatment with DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital
5.1, and 2.0 Dolby surround tracks. The DTS track is best, with Curry's
sonically enhanced bass voice rumbling tremendously through your
speakers. By contrast, the Dolby Digital track is a bit weaker, with
surround sound in the rear speakers coming off as somewhat anemic. The
U.S. version boasts only a 2.0 Dolby Surround track, which is
considerably weaker than anything on the first disc.
Of all the hyperbolic brand names studios have given to their sundry
DVD lines (New Line's Infinifilm, Buena Vista's Vista Series, etc.),
none have been greeted with as much scorn as Universal's Ultimate
Editions. The name implies that the disc will be the be-all and end-all
for a particular title. You'll never have to buy another version of a
title once you get the Ultimate Edition. Of course, most of us were
probably never planning on buying another version of Patch Adams
anyway, making an Ultimate Edition kind of pointless. But with Legend,
Universal finally nails the concept (thanks, in no small measure, to
the efforts of DVD producer Charles de Lauzirika). First off, J.M.
Kenny's documentary Creating a Myth: The Memories of Legend covers the
movie's tumultuous history in detail, interviewing Scott and
Hjortsberg, actors Tim Curry, Mia Sara, Alice Playten, the late Billy
Barty, Cork Hubbert and Robert Picardo (Tom Cruise is conspicuous in
his absence, but I'm told they DID try to get him), makeup man Rob
Bottin, producer Arnon Milchan, and a score of others connected with
the film. It's an outstanding making-of piece. Scott's commentary on
the director's cut is also terrific. It's better than his track for
Hannibal, partly because this was a more difficult (and therefore, more
interesting) movie to shoot. Scott generally avoids repeating material
covered in the documentary and reveals a number of effects and camera
tricks, at least one of which amazed me in its simplicity.
Other material includes the complete Tangerine Dream score on an
isolated music track. There's nothing similar for the Jerry Goldsmith
score, alas, but the Tangerine Dream track wins points for including
complete, uninterrupted tracks, as well as a number of alternate cues
not used in the film. A long-lost alternate opening is interesting,
even though it was understandably cut, and the extended Fairie Dance
sequence is reconstructed using the original soundtrack, storyboards
and still photos. Three other sequences are given the storyboard
treatment, revealing some interesting moments that were never shot due
to budget considerations. There's also the usual publicity related
material: two trailers, four TV spots, photo galleries (including
continuity Polaroids taken on set), and Bryan Ferry's music video for
Is Your Love Strong Enough, a song which I don't recall being even
close to a hit but it's nice that it's here for completists. Finally,
the second disc includes a Script-to-Scene DVD-ROM feature. This is
noteworthy in that the disc includes both the shooting script as well
as Hjortsberg's original draft. Considering the number of people in the
documentary who praise that first script as being amongst the best,
most poetic screenplays they'd ever read, it's only fitting that it be
included on the disc.
Even in its best, most complete form, Legend remains a flawed movie
that will not please everybody. However, it has enough going for it
that even the most jaded and cynical viewer should find at least
something to enjoy. If nothing else, Legend is a demo disc for the good
old days of pre-CGI effects. This is a movie with a unique and, dare I
say, magical look. A big factor in the success of that look is the fact
that everything you see on screen is real, from the mammoth sets to the
extraordinary makeup creations. CGI would rob a movie like Legend of
much of its character. Whether or not you totally buy into the story,
Legend is a visual feast with a few individual moments that approach
the level of sophistication that Scott and Hjortsberg aimed for. And
this DVD - truly an ultimate edition - is a wonderful way to experience
- The following review can be found at http://www.dvdshrine.com/reviews/show.shtml?id=1286.
Review by Brian Ludovico
Director: Ridley Scott
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
List Price: $24.98
Release Date: May 21, 2002
Tom Cruise stars in this visually stunning fantasy adventure in which
pure good and evil battle to the death amidst spectacular surroundings.
Set in a timeless mythical forest inhabited by faeries, goblins,
unicorns and mortals, this fantastic story has Tom Cruise, a mystical
forest dweller, chosen by fate to undertake a heroic quest. He must
save a beautiful princess, Mia Sara, and defeat the demonic Lord of
Darkness (Tim Curry), or the world will be plunged into a never-ending
ice age. Co-starring Billy Barty and Alice Playten and directed by
Ridley Scott, famed for his remarkable settings and unparalleled
imagery, the incredibly realized tale is the stuff movie legends are
The phrase “visually stunning” on the back of a movie case immediately
raises the eyebrow of suspicion (sort of like the words “seductive” or
“steamy”). Every title I’ve come across that touts its “amazing
imagery” so prominently always seems to do so at the heavy expense of
interesting story. Obviously, I make mention of it for a reason: such
is the case with Ridley Scott’s 1985 fantasy effort, Legend. No matter
how much I wish I could tell our readers differently, the fact remains
that yes, the story line behind Legend really is as simple as the blurb
makes it out to be. There isn’t a single twist, not one solitary turn,
no wrinkly in the storyline where the ultimate outcome can fall under
even the shadow of a doubt (in fantasy movies, good invariably triumphs
over evil on a long enough timeline; the trick is getting the audience
to forget that for a few minutes). In three viewings of two different
cuts of the movie, I found absolutely nothing of note to justify the
time spent watching it, at least for anyone less than die hard in their
fandom. It takes more than well-done unicorns and a cloven-toed Tim
Curry to keep me interested.
The problems with the story stem mainly from the flimsy script (by
William Hjortsberg), as one might expect. The featurettes in the extras
package will give the viewer some insight into the conceptualization
stages of the script, a process that sounds like it developed in
between bong-hits at a Magic the Gathering game. Basically, Scott
wanted a script with “the fastest steeds” and a villain named
“Darkness,” and basically, that’s all he ended up with. The other
characters have almost no discernable depth or flair whatsoever. Jack,
some strange guy who hangs around in the woods doing lord knows what,
is supposed to be in love with Princess Lili (though the device of her
being a princess is completely wasted). The problem is that these two
characters seem so infantile that they come off as sexless children,
and the effect completely undermines his love for her. Cruise spends
the movie either trembling in fear or gazing in mouth-agape
astonishment, delivering his lines so flatly, you’d have though George
Lucas was at the helm. Sara reduces Lili to doleful stares and a
British accent from the Kevin Costner school. That’s just the MAIN
Peripheral characters fall into two main categories. The first is
“unbelievably annoying.” This category includes the goblins who never
seem the least bit menacing, the two dwarf-like creatures who run with
Jack’s posse for comic relief, and the utterly confusing fairy, who has
a strange secret (that might have to do with how she gets her hair to
look that way). The other category is “unsettlingly strange,” and only
one character can reside here: Thorngump. He’s apparently sort of a
wood nymph who runs around in oak leave underroos, and its implied that
he has some sort of powers or dominion over the forest. Gump (as his
friends call him) is so odd because the guy playing him, David Bennet,
reminded me too much of one of the kids from that Simpsons movie, “The
Bloodening.” I hope that’s shepherd’s pie in his knickers.
The script also seems saddled with somewhat of an identity crisis. At
times, the characters speak in rhymes, which would have been an
unorthodox, and thereby at least superficially interesting, device to
use throughout the movie. Instead, these characters seem to speak in
metered rhyme only when it strikes them to, which makes it distracting
and almost silly. Can there be any real threat from a ten year old
(who’s actually eighteen) half nude boy with elf ears rasping “Squawk
squawk, no more talk”? It was laughable, not menacing. Worse than those
poetic moments are spots in the dialogue that actually take the viewer
OUT of the time and place, the cardinal sin of the period piece film.
Why are goblins talking about “encouraging initiative” and using the
phrase “adios, amigo”? These lines are not only entirely superfluous;
they’re jarringly incongruous. They’re poor efforts at unnecessary
The “amazing imagery” that the back of the box promises is lost on me.
The only thing I found visually stunning was the amount of junk that
Scott found a way to cram into every single scene. Scott will lay some
of the blame for the film’s lukewarm commercial success at the feet of
the movie being “too much,” too much score, too much visual, too many
things going on in every frame. A good movie doesn’t rely on the
background to take the focus off of its characters, which is the
mistake Legend makes. The sets are intricately detailed and enormous,
but they don’t ever approach looking “real” enough to get the viewer
into the realm. In fact, parts of this scenery are downright gaudy. Too
much time was spent on the look of this film, and there aren’t enough
action sequences or engaging character exchanges to keep this movie
from being…well, boring.
Legend isn’t all bad, of course. Besides Mia Sara (albeit a
disturbingly young Mia Sara) in a Goth-queen outfit, there’s the
undeniably enjoyable and decadently over-the-top performance turned in
by a completely unrecognizable Tim Curry. As the film’s only
charismatic character, Darkness, Curry really sinks his fake fangs into
the few scenes he gets. He absolutely commands the screen, enough that
I found myself almost rooting for him (an effect no doubt aided by the
fact that the Darkness’ enemies are entirely irritating). Curry’s
performance makes every line Darkness has the only lines anyone cares
to remember from this film. I just wish there were more of Darkness and
less of the goblins.
The default argument about movies like these, when they’re criticized,
seems to be that we just don’t “get it.” We just don’t “get” the realm
of fantasy, we don’t “get” the magic and wonder of it all. I beg to
differ; I think I “get” fantasy. I think Harry Potter can qualify as
fantasy, with its roots in magic and witchcraft, and a world that
doesn’t exist, and I completely enjoyed that movie. I am a huge fan of
the first three Star Wars films, all of which can arguably be said to
count more as fantasy than as science fiction. I could even see
positives in below average efforts like Dragonheart, or take guilty
pleasures from the ever-watchable Beastmaster. I’m not even going to
mention LotR. What I don’t get is why fantasy movies have this built in
excuse that critics or viewers don’t “understand” the movie. A bad
movie is just a bad movie, that’s all. Legend, I hate to say, is just a
bad movie. In fact, I found Legend even less enjoyable than Willow. I
admire its ambition, but the execution falls painfully flat, thanks to
having too much running time and not enough script.
Both the director’s cut on disc one and the original US theatrical
release on disc two are presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen,
but strangely, they are not the same in terms of prevailing quality.
Any problems that this new DVD version has are far more pronounced on
the shorter US version than on the director’s cut, which would lead one
to believe that Scott really pushed for Universal to put some cash into
a digital restoration effort for his vision of this film.
Now, I know that Legend is aiming for a very whimsical, storybook
visual style, and to that end, it’s understandable that the picture be
somewhat soft-focus. At times, this effect is spectacularly effective,
like the moments where sunshine literally streams over the virginal
princess as she encounters the unicorn. Those moments, alas, are few
and far between; much of the movie takes place in the dismal forest
night, or in the dank halls of Darkness. This soft focus, coupled with
some limited black levels, contributes to generally poor shadow detail,
notable early on in chapter one, and again in chapter nine. In the
daytime, Scott seems to try to cram so much ‘stuff’ into the frame that
the ‘fantasy look’ can make the background looks like a multi-colored
mess. The film’s immense palette is uniformly well rendered when not
hampered by poor black depth or stylistic color ringing (as in the
princess’s dress having a bit of a halo). The director’s cut is
pleasantly free of compression artifacts, and print damage seems to
have been kept to a minimum. I was impressed with the fact that unlike
The Last of the Mohicans DC, the newly added footage seems blended
perfectly with the old.
Very few Legend fans will likely watch the original version as it is,
because the European cut is what they’ve been asking for. Those that do
are getting the video shaft (and wait until you hear about the audio
options). The original theatrical version, and noticed that the picture
just isn’t as ‘sharp.’ The best way I could describe it is that it just
looks “old,” and I don’t mean “timeless.” I mean it looks tired; the
colors seem more washed out, the picture has a bit of a grain layer to
certain spots…it’s just a bit of an improvement over the VHS versions.
On the digital authoring side, it’s got more than a few compression
artifacts (mainly black flecks), which may be a result of putting all
of the extras on this disc. Neither version had any sort of detectable
Main menus on both discs are animated, and this score represents an average of the two versions separate video ratings.
Universal offers a number of audio-related incentives to the viewer
who’d rather watch the longer director’s cut contained on disc one.
First, it’s the only version that restores Jerry Goldsmith’s original
score for the film. Fans of this movie have been clamoring for this
score for quite some time now, and honestly, I’m not exactly sure why.
It’s not as if this is a musical masterpiece, and it’s far from
“glorious,” as Scott’s liner notes describe it. Goldsmith has done some
of my favorite scores (most notably Rudy), but the way this score has
been referred to, you’d think someone uncovered Beethoven’s Tenth.
Perhaps the hype made out of its restoration put my expectations at an
unreasonable level, though. It struck me as overblown in most spots,
melodramatic and aurally grating. Still, it is better than the
thematically incongruous electroni-crap Tangerine Dream version, which
is preserved on disc two of this set. The other audio incentive: disc
two contains a pair of six-channel mixes, one a Dolby Digital 5.1, the
other an excellent DTS track.
Afforded the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison of the two
tracks, once again DTS comes out the clear winner. The subtler noises
that the track uses in the rear channels to create the forest
environment, ambient sounds like birds chirping or voice echoing are
far more distinct and pronounced. Soundpans, underused though they may
be, such as the fairy buzzing around Jack, or the spread of ominous
thunder, are seamlessly executed, an accomplishment because of the
source material. Overall localization work is outstanding, particularly
when it comes to the voice of Darkness ubiquitous and enveloping
whenever present. It’s through Darkness that the subwoofer finds most
of its activity, backing up his voice and his footsteps. The standard
5.1 track isn’t bad per se (in fact it would be a 3.75 - 4.0 on its
own), but the sounds have (as usual) less presence, less distinction,
and the soundpans are just a tad choppy. Either way, both tracks are
vastly superior to the 2.0 track on disc two. I doubt many fans will be
watching disc two anyway, so that’s somewhat immaterial. The only true
shortcoming of the two mixes is that they don’t really push the limits
of sonic imagery, a product of sound engineering work done prior to the
advent of six-channel home theater capability.
For the masochist in all of us, disc two features the isolated
Tangerine Dream score. The real quandary: is this movie better without
the insipid dialogue, if one has to endure the awful score instead?
Universal has also included English closed captions and French
When it comes to studios “subdividing” their catalogues into Special
Editions, Limited Editions, Collector’s Editions or Super Special
Limited Collector’s Director’s Cut Editions, Universal’s “Ultimate
Edition” line has been perhaps more frustrating than most. The extras
material has almost always been limited to extended promotional stuff
for pending sequels, as was the case with American Pie UE or The Mummy
UE. If there’s one overwhelming positive thing to say about the
Ultimate Edition of Legend, it’s this: the bonus material is easily the
best of that particular small bunch. I know, I know…bold words, putting
this ahead of such vaunted fan favorites like Meet Joe Black UE,
Notting Hill: UE and Patch Adams: UE, but I’m all about making bold
statements. Legend is absolutely bursting out of its fancy clear
plastic case. (Aside: I’m going to need reassurance that someone at
Universal lost their job over the green light given to Patch Adams UE.
Please tell me this person no longer has any decision making power over
what forms of entertainment go to market.)
Disc one, the digitally restored, DTS-sporting longer version, has but
a single supplement, but it’s an important one: a full length
director’s commentary, by none other than Ridley Scott. Scott, a
director on whom I am overwhelmingly ambivalent (if that’s possible),
seems less aloof on this track as I have always imagined him. He
contributes a lot of behind-the-scenes stories, and explains at times
what is actually going on in front of us. Most of the time, this
narration becomes annoying, but on this particular title, I found it
interesting mainly due to the fact that so much of the movie is so sort
of ‘scattered.’ Fans of the film will be extremely happy to hear
Ridley’s comments, and people (like myself) who don’t quite get the
appeal of this movie will enjoy his anecdotes and remembrances.
On disc two, the extras are the real star. First and foremost is a
brand new, fifty-two minute retrospective documentary, featuring
everyone involved in the film except Tom Cruise. Fans of the film will
absolutely revel in the sheer volume of stories and behind-the-scenes
details that this documentary reveals, from sources ranging from Scott
to Mia Sara to Tim Curry to Billy Barty. As one might expect, some of
the folks involved have a tendency to overstate the accomplishment of
Legend. Special effects supervisor Rob Bottin (yes, I’m naming names!)
calls this script “one of the most amazing scripts ever written” and
“at least as good as Lord of the Rings.” That’s why he is the special
effects supervisor and not “The script supervisor.” Everything from the
evolution of the script (an anecdote that really explains a lot about
how this movie feels so frail from a plot standpoint) to the hasty
re-cut and re-scoring this movie received after disastrous test
screenings has been included in some from or another. The most
interesting details are the ones about how Scott and co. burnt down the
007 Stage in England. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise; sounded to
me like they constructed the most flammable set in the history of
movies. Trees made entirely of styrofoam, covered in a fine mist of
shredded paper, don’t exactly mix well with a propane powered bonfire.
The next section contains a pair of lost scenes. Shouldn’t the be
called “newly discovered sequences,” as they’ve obviously been found
and only one of them can actually count as a ‘scene?’ That one, the
“Four Goblin Alternate Opening,” apparently found in a vault on a
videotape somewhere, is entirely unproduced, devoid of music or
effects. This alternate opening, which depicts Darkness as a far less
charismatic “phantom,” runs about ten minutes and takes far too long to
set the premise. The second sequence, “Faerie Dance,” is limited to a
mix of storyboards and accompanying audio (as all original footage was
lost). It’s an absolute blessing that this footage was lost, because as
much as I disliked the movie, this particularly goofy sounding sequence
would have cost it another half point. Here, in the extras package, it
actually counts as a positive.
From here, things become a little more pedestrian. The new Ultimate
Edition of Legend also contains an extensive selection of storyboards,
for three separate sequences (one of which was not filmed). The two
that remain in the film are “Lili and the Unicorns” (seventy-five
drawings running about thirteen minutes on its own) and “The Downfall
of Darkness” (sixty drawings running ten minutes). Both of these
sequences could really have done with some background music, or a
side-by-side comparison, seeing as they both remained in the movie in
some capacity. Watching silent pencil drawings in a slideshow gets a
little dry in a hurry. The third sequence, “Jack’s Challenge,” was
never filmed because it was considered to be cost prohibitive, features
a two headed giant with a toothache. This sequence runs VERY long at a
whopping one hundred and sixty one drawings.
Getting away from the navigation-heavy extras for a few minutes, we’re
treated to a pair of trailers, both running ninety seconds, with the
only ostensible difference being one is labeled “domestic” and one
“international.” Speaking of advertising material, there are also four
television commercials, all of the thirty second variety. Universal has
also assembled three different photo galleries for this two disc set.
There’s a gallery of “publicity” (42 pictures), an “Images of Legend”
section (72 pictures), and a particularly boring section of “continuity
polaroids” (73 shots).
Perhaps the worst extra yet to grace one of Universal’s “Ultimate
Editions” is the god-awful Bryan Ferry Music video “Is Your Love Strong
Enough.” Songs don’t get much more “Eighties Rock Ballad Cheesy” than
this one. It lasts an eternal five minutes, and made me wish a
thunderstorm would put out my power. In the text-based sections of
bonus material (everyone’s favorite), the viewer can read ten pages of
Production notes and a section of Cast and crew biographies totaling
eighteen pages. That’s it, that’s your ultimate edition of Legend.
Sheer volume is impressive, but for my taste, it contains far too many
‘click through’ sections to really go crazy over.
Maybe it’s true what they say, maybe I just don’t “get” this movie. I’m
not a twenty-sided-dice sort of guy, I have never had a single hit
point in my life, never cast a spell, and I didn’t have a nickname like
“Lord Goofhammer” (or whatever the guy in the next dorm at college
called himself). Still, it does have a devoted following, and that
following is getting a truly great deal when it comes to this DVD. At a
reasonable price of under $20 through many e-tailers, the Ultimate
Edition of Legend is replete with extra material, including the
long-awaited fully restored director’s cut with Jerry Goldsmith score,
a well-done DTS mix, and the best looking picture that we’ll find on
this film. If you’re already sure you like the movie itself, this is an
easy purchase. The rest of us will only be thankful that Lord of the
Rings avoided being the next Legend, and we’re better off waiting until
that hits our beloved format.
- The following review can be found at http://www.dvdmoviecentral.com/ReviewsText/legend.htm.
Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennet, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert
Director: Ridley Scott
Audio: Dolby Surround (Theatrical), Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Surround (Director’s Cut)
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: See Review
Length: 90 Minutes (Theatrical), 114 Minutes (Director’s Cut)
Release Date: May 21, 2002
“What is light without dark?”
Film *** (Both Versions)
Up until the recent Lord of the Rings, it seemed as if the fantasy
movie genre had been lost for good, that is if you forget to include
the disastrous Dungeons and Dragons a couple of years back. It was
during the mid 80s that Hollywood made and endless array of adventure
movies such as Krull, Willow, and The Princess Bride. Films of this
type were set in either medieval times or generic mythical underworlds.
Ridley Scott’s Legend is definitely a movie that takes place in the
latter. This is a pure guilty pleasure as far as I can see, filled left
and right with endless fantasy jargon about goblins and unicorns and
ultimate darkness. It sounds as if I’m panning the film in that regard,
but it’s directorScott’s sharp and atmospheric look of the film that
saves it from being anything of a mess.
The movie tells of a long, long time ago, when the earth was ruled by
no less than that of the unicorns and the endless battle between light
and darkness. Earth itself is a sylvan place, filled with flowers and
little glades and grassy clearings - but also with dread swamps and
moldy fens. Young lovers can kiss for an afternoon in a bath of
sunshine, but fearsome storms come up suddenly and lash the land with
their fury. A race of evil little druids lives in the woods, and they
spread mischief wherever they venture. Their favorite pastime is
frightening the unicorns.
In caverns far beneath the earth, a brutal prince named simply Darkness
(Tim Curry) plots to take over the universe by way of blotting the sun
and rule forever with the entire world engulfed in absolute gloom.
Enter Princess Lili (Mia Sara), the heiress to the throne who has more
in her heart for the land and the creatures than life in the kingdom.
The man of her dreams is the heroic Jack (Tom Cruise), a defender of
the earth’s creatures who vows to put an end to the powers of darkness
and return the world back to normal. Unexpectedly, however, Lili is
suddenly lured into a supernatural underworld controlled by Darkness,
and is trapped in the prince’s lairs, and Jack vows to rescue her.
For Tom Cruise, this was the last film he did before his breakout
picture Top Gun, which coincidentally was directed by Ridley’s brother,
Tony Scott. Watching the film, you simply can’t believe that you’re
watching one of today’s biggest movie stars performing at such a young
age. True to say that this will never go down as one of Cruise’s
strongest performances, but with a film of this scale and scope, a
tremendous acting job isn’t much required from him, or anyone for that
matter. It’s Tim Curry, however, who steals the show with his memorable
performance as Darkness. Curry, who’s long been known for his countless
villainous portrayals is completely unrecognizable thanks to make up
artist Rob Bottin’s jaw dropping work. I think when looking at the
character of Darkness how painful and excruciating it must have been
for Curry to sit in the chair and have make up applied on, because it
certainly looks as if it took long to get it all on. In the history of
make up effects, Legend is nothing short of a breakthrough.
This is simply a well put together adventure, filled with endless
beauty and atmosphere. Credit must go in Ridley Scott’s direction,
because he is simply a master at bringing larger than life canvases to
the screen. It’s not at the level of his other films Alien and Blade
Runner, but it’s satisfactory enough.
Director’s Cut ****
I’m sure that many fans of this film are anticipating this disc simply
because, as far as I can tell, it will finally be available in
widescreen. This 2 Disc Ultimate Edition offers both the original 90
minute cut of the film, as well as the new director’s cut, with 24
minutes of restored footage seen internationally, but not in the
states. Of the two versions, it’s the director’s cut version that fares
much better in comparison in terms of video quality. This release was
delayed numerous times, but it does look as though Universal took their
time in ensuring that fans of the movie would get their money’s worth
in terms of picture perfect quality. The director’s cut is virtually
flawless, with no image flaws whatsoever. The theatrical version, while
a mostly strong presentation, does encounter a few instances of grain
and softness about midway through the movie.
Director’s Cut ****
Again, with the new Director’s Cut version of the movie, Universal took
their time in restoring this 1985 adventure with a furious sound that
would rival that of a transfer of a fairly recent movie. Fired up with
a 5.1 audio mix, the sound is consistently alive and all around with a
perfected natural sense of the surroundings of the film. The director’s
cut contains a new never before heard musical score by Jerry Goldsmith,
whose score was replaced in the theatrical version by the synthesized
sounds of Tangerine Dream. While the Director’s Cut soars in this
department, the theatrical version suffers in comparison based solely
on the fact that only a 2.0 channel mix is offered, while the
Director’s Cut contains both a 5.1 Digital mix and a DTS 5.1 channel as
Universal hasn’t resorted to an Ultimate Edition double disc in quite
some time, and Legend certainly deserves title, because it’s one of the
most superbly loaded discs the studio has ever put out. In addition to
including the extended director’s cut, which is an extra bonus for
sure, the 2 disc set includes a feature length commentary by Ridley
Scott, who continues his knack for informative commentary following
Gladiator and Hannibal.
Disc 2 contains much more goodies, including a lengthy documentary
titled “Creating a Myth”, which includes interviews with cast and crew
members who reflect on the making of the film. Those expecting an
interview with Mr. Cruise will sorely be deprived, as he is nowhere to
be seen in this area. Also included is an isolated score by Tangerine
Dream, a gallery of deleted scenes, Bryan Ferry’s music video for the
song “Is Your Love Strong Enough?”, photo galleries, 2 theatrical
trailers, 4 TV spots, and a DVD-Rom feature.
Legend may forever be something of an acquired taste, but if you’re an
admirer of Ridley Scott’s work, this one very much deserves a look at.
It’s one of the more extravagant looking films I’ve had the pleasure of
- The following review can be found at http://dvd.ign.com/articles/358/358327p1.html.
"Legend: Ultimate Edition
Ridley Scott's fantasy epic finally arrives on a packed two-disc set. Our multi-page review.
May 01, 2002 - Here's a DVD with a bit of history. Originally due for
release quite a while ago, Ridley Scott's Legend has been a mythical
DVD on the top of many DVD collector's list. Not only because a very
good version of the movie doesn't exist right now, but also because
this DVD edition promised the original cut of the film that includes a
Jerry Goldsmith score.
This two-disc set contains the Director's Cut on the first disc
complete with a scene-specific audio commentary by Ridley Scott and
Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks, while disc two is fully packed
with the theatrical cut of the film, an isolated score track,
featurettes, and much more.
Legend is basically a children's storybook brought to life on the big
screen, with a huge budget and Ridley Scott behind the camera. The Lord
of Darkness (Tim Curry who is barely recognizable under layers of
makeup) captures a pure princess (Mia Sara), and a forest dweller (Tom
Cruise) must embark on a quest to save her.
Even after all of these years, Legend still is visually impressive. The
movie was made well before the advent of CGI effects, and using the
huge James Bond soundstages in the UK for the elaborate sets, the movie
really looks like a storybook painting brought to life.
The forest scenes are full of texture with small particles floating
around in every shot, then snow later. The early scenes in the forest
are some of the most impressive, and all of it was shot live on a huge
soundstage. Later in the film it gets a bit darker and the lighting is
excellent as well with the only source of light being the hot orange
light of fire.
In the original theatrical cut, there were some abrupt edits that
caused some scenes to not make much sense and made some of the
transitions a little jarring. This new director's cut fixes all of that
with about twenty-four minutes of footage added in.
While there are bits and pieces of new scenes added (such as more
footage with the Unicorns), the majority of the changes flesh out the
movie. They fix those abrupt edits in the original cut; make the film
flow better, and overall make this Director's Cut the definitive
edition of the film. It's like comparing an unabridged novel to an
abridged one. You still get the same story in both cases, but one is
just a little fuller.
There really shouldn't be any large fan separation on which version is
better. This isn't like the Blade Runner situation as the original
theatrical cut had many problems that almost everyone agreed on that
are now fixed in the director's cut.
Legend has a very simple story, but that's probably part of it's charm.
But, like another childhood favorite of many (Willow), Legend is an
either love it or hate it film. Myself, despite the simple story, I
enjoy the movie if only as a visually stunning piece of film back
before CGI invaded movies, and this director's cut is even better.
8 out of 10
Both versions of the film feature 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen
transfers, and in the case of the Director's Cut, the film has never
looked better. Ever.
Honestly, the clarity of the transfer and the richness of the colors
make some scenes (especially close-ups) look as if they were filmed
just a few months ago as opposed to seventeen years ago. There's hardly
any edge enhancement in the picture, and compression artifacts are
The theatrical cut, while appearing better than ever on the DVD,
doesn't feature the same level of clarity and color balance that the
Director's Cut does. But since you won't really be watching it much it
doesn't matter too much. At least it's anamorphic.
8 out of 10
Most of the time when an old mono or stereo soundtrack is remixed to
Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS it sounds a bit artificial. Not so here.
The Director's Cut features both Dolby and DTS 5.1 mixes, and while
there isn't a huge difference between the two tracks, they both feature
surprisingly good use of the surrounds and LFE with no distortion or
"artificial sounding" effects added in.
On the other hand, the Theatrical Cut simply features a Dolby Digital
2.0 track, so if you decide to watch that version it would be ProLogic
8 out of 10
Disc One of the set hold the Director's Cut as well as a feature-length
commentary track by Ridley Scott. Now, you can listen to this track
normally, or you can jump to a specific chapter in the commentary via
it's own scene selection menus.
I really like Ridley Scott commentaries. He tends to ramble a bit here
and there while recounting conversations he had in the past, but it
draws you into the track where he also gets pretty technical explaining
how certain shots were done as well as camera techniques that were used
to create some of live effects.
He also talks a lot about the cast, including the boy who played the
main elf in the movie who had a German accent, but a studio exec
demanded it changed because he said the movie couldn't have a "Nazi
elf". He then comments on how he wishes that that original dialog track
were still around just to see how it would compare to the existing one.
The score issue is also addressed in a couple parts of the commentary
with Ridley mentioning how the Jerry Goldsmith score was closer to what
he wanted to the film and how it should have stayed in the US release
of the movie.
Moving on to disc two, we find a horde of great extras in addition to
the film's US Theatrical Cut that also includes an isolated Tangerine
"Creating a Myth: The Making of Legend" is an newly produced featurette
that runs for nearly an hour and features interviews with nearly
everyone involved with the movie with the exception of Tom Cruise. The
featurette covers everything related to the production and includes
some very, very, rare behind the scenes footage and photos sprinkled
throughout the special. It's excellent.
"Lost Scenes" includes two: an alternate opening that was actually
completed as well as the lost Fairy Dance sequence. The latter is shown
via the original audio track, still photos, and storyboards. It was one
sequence that fans of the movie always heard about it, and although the
video doesn't exist, at least it's on the disc in some form.
The Storyboards section contains artwork for three sequences: "Lily and
the Unicorns", "Jack's Challenge", and "Downfall of Darkness". You then
get both the US and International Theatrical trailers shown full
screen, four TV spots, three photo galleries (Publicity Photographs,
Images of Legend, and Continuity Polaroids), the Brain Ferry "Is Your
Love Strong Enough" music video, and a DVD ROM script-to-screen.
As the packaging claims, this really is the "Ultimate" edition of
Legend. Both cuts of the film, both lost scenes, commentary, and an
excellent documentary. Highly recommended.
10 out of 10
-- Jeremy Conrad
The Director's Cut fleshes out the original film, filling in the gaps
where the editing was jarring. It's the definitive version of the
While the Theatrical Cut's video isn't anything to be impressed with, the Director's Cut transfer is excellent. 8
Dolby Digital and DTS mixes on the Director's Cut are very good. Theatrical Cut is stuck with Dolby 2.0 8
An excellent commentary, and equally excellent documentary, lost scenes, storyboards, the script, and more.10
Overall Score (not an average) 8"
- The following review can be found at http://www.jackasscritics.com/movie.php?movie_key=50
DVD Cover for the Ultimate Edition of Legend
IMDB Link: http://us.imdb.com/Details?0089469
DVD Release: 2002
DVD Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
DVD Extras: Loads of extras for the avid collector.
DVD IMDB Link: http://us.imdb.com/DVD?0089469
Legend is a fantastic story of good vs. evil. Jack (Tom Cruise) must
save mankind from the purest of evil, Darkness (Tim Curry). Darkness
has a master plan to plunge the world into a dark and frozen wasteland
for all eternity. Light is his destroyer and goodness is the weapon
that keeps him at bay. But Darkness and his Goblin kin use the pure of
heart to bid their evil doings. Jack and his lovely Princess Lily (Mia
Sara) unknowingly deliver the last two Unicorns into the hands of a
Goblin band waiting for a chance to steal the Alicorns (a Unicorn's
horn) and use their power for their masters dark biddings. But all is
not lost, one of the Unicorns escapes the Goblins poisoned darts and
remains alive to keeping the world in check. Half in the light of day
and half in the darkness of night, nature is locked in a frozen state
of despair and Jack is the only hope of saving the Unicorn's and
conquering Darkness. Along the way he is aided by the folk of the
forest, the Elves and ever elusive Fairies. As the story progresses we
see Jack, a young boy forced into the trials of the real world where he
must make decisions that carry deadly consequences which transform him
into a man fighting for not only his own life but the life of the woman
he loves and of course the lives of all mankind. Lily is also forced to
deal with her exposure to this new unknown world in her own ways. She's
a fancy young princess who enjoys the spoils of wealth only to be wooed
by Darkness with temptation and wicked desires. Her education in these
matters are both seductive and deadly. Thus fully drawing her into the
web of darkness in body and soul... How does the story end you ask?
Watch the movie and find out!
The features of this two disk set are what Legend fan's have been
dreaming about for years. Until now this movie has only been available
on VHS. And as we all know, VHS is a waste of time and effort for the
true movie goer (I just had to say that). Until now, what we have seen
is a bastardized version of what was and still is an excellent cult
classic. In fact, the following of this film is so great, it has been
the number one requested movie from Universal Pictures. Yep, that's
what I said, the number one most requested film they've produced.
Anyway, the new DVD has the original release of the movie never seen
here in the United States. It is the uncut European version with the
original Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack. The soundtrack by the way is
excellent. What was released here in the U.S. was a hacked up edited
version with a new soundtrack created by Tangerine Dream. While the
Tangerine Dream soundtrack was ok and upbeat, the Goldsmith music was
fantastic and it brought a surreal feeling of doom and darkness to the
story. The DVD set also has the original U.S. release on the other disk
if you must see that one too. There are also several other goodies on
the discs that are a collectors treasure chest.
While this film was shot in the mid 80's when the Star Wars craze was
still buzzing strong and everything was seen as futuristic and visually
amazing, Legend took a hard right turn to make a clean break from the
money making Science Fiction mindset. It plunged us into a world of
pure fantasy film making as visually stunning as any new special
effects filled sci-fi thriller. The world we saw on the screen was
anything but bright and clean (even in space). It was just the
opposite, it was dark and dirty. It was almost real but at the same
time totally unreal. The entire movie was shot on a sound stage in the
UK, twice. Once for normal shooting then partially again later due to a
fire that wiped out the entire building.
The story is great in the way that we see how the innocence of youth
gives way to the reality of the world around us. It's a slap in the
face for both leading characters and in truth the movie didn't have one
lead. Both Cruise and Sara balanced their parts equally with Curry
tipping the scales one way then another... I think the youth of the
actors lent itself very well to the story line too. In a short time
(the length of the movie) we saw both main characters "grow up". The
acting was pretty good on the part of Cruise and Sara while Curry did
an excellent job as Darkness. He almost drew you into his servitude
with just his presence in a given scene. The make-up was second to none
considering the era the film was made and the visual impact was just as
incredible. It won a Best Cinematography Award and was nominated for
several others including an Oscar. I'm also a fan of Ridley Scott's
work so it's no surprise that this movie turned out so good.
All considered, this being a fantasy film and totally unrealistic, it
was just that. So unreal that it just holds your attention until the
If you've seen this movie on tape or at the theatre in the past and
thought it was worth the time to watch it, it's well worth your time to
see it again in it's uncut presentation. Or if you've never seen it
before, see it in it's un-cut format. You'll love it if you're a
fantasy film lover. It's a flat out all around good entertaining movie.
Editors Note: If your thirst for Legend isn't quenched yet, visit the excellent Legend FAQ
May 26th, 2002
- Once again, thanks to Matthew Wright for letting me know about the following five LEGEND DVD Reviews.
The following review can be found at http://www.digitallyobsessed.com/showreview.php3?ID=3480.
Legend: Ultimate Edition (1985)
"As long as they roam the Earth, nothing can harm the pure of heart." - Jack (Tom Cruise)
Review By: Rich Rosell
Stars: Tom Cruise, Tim Curry, Mia Sara
Other Stars: Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo
Director: Ridley Scott
MPAA Rating: PG for (mild violence)
Run Time: 01h:53m:18s
Release Date: May 21, 2002
Throngs of fantasy fans (myself among them) have been eagerly counting
the days for this highly-touted, 2-disc release of Ridley Scott's lush
1985 epic, Legend. Scott (Alien, Bladerunner, Hannibal, Gladiator,
Black Hawk Down) is certainly an accomplished filmmaker, and one who
knows his way around dark and fantastic storylines. But his sole foray
into the world of sword and sorcery came to be remembered more for its
harshly edited U.S. release, and its out-of-place synth score (from
Tangerine Dream) than anything else. While it is true that the visual
scope of Legend is magnificent, and that it delivers one of filmdom's
most striking villains, the problem that the faithful fanbase has
encounter over time is that word leaked out that what we had been
seeing in theaters in the States—where it flopped—was not the only
version, and that a far different experience, closer to what director
Scott had originally imagined, existed. In 1985, filmgoers in Europe
were treated to an expanded version of Scott's vision, running nearly
thirty more minutes and, most of all, it included a Jerry Goldsmith
orchestral score in place of the bubbly electronics. Of course, this
was pre-Internet, so much of the buzz came in slow trickles, popping up
here and there in grubby film magazines, especially after it was
eventually released on VHS (see, it was a looong time ago).
We all know that memories have a way of sometimes tweaking the past,
making things seem better than they really were. So the question is,
now that Universal has dished out this beautifully-packaged "ultimate
edition" that features the infamous European director's cut (as well as
the original U.S. version), does Legend hold up? Was the hubbub about
the longer version really true? I hadn't seen Legend in quite a few
years (my VHS copy long since gone), so I was as curious as anyone.
Much of the criticism of the film was that it was all eye candy, with
no real narrative substance; that's not a completely incorrect
statement. Scott had created a remarkable visual experience, but for
many that was what made the film so memorable. The good news is that
when you can compare the two releases, it seems as if the expanded
version is an entirely new film (a much better one at that) due, I
believe, in no small part to the inclusion of Goldsmith's score.
But it's not just the score that is thematically different; I urge you
to compare the drastically different opening sequences, and how the
U.S. release featured a lengthy text scroll and full shots of the
villain Darkness, while the director's cut opts for a more subtle
approach, ditching the text scroll, featuring only the clawed hand of
Darkness. This version of the opening alone changes the whole tone of
the film, and signifies the inherent difference between the two
As with all good fantasy, the film is set in an indeterminable time
period, when magic, faeries and sprites filled the forests, and
all-consuming evil could be behind the next tree. The plot itself is
remarkably spartan, and concerns the lovely Princess Lily (Mia Sara)
and her flowery prose-filled relationship with the mysterious forest
dweller Jack (a post-Risky Business Tom Cruise). Unknown to them, the
vile lord Darkness (Tim Curry buried beneath a mountain of latex) has
demanded the execution of a sacred unicorn, which brings about complete
and permanent ice-covered darkness across the land so that he can rule.
True to the genre, Legend becomes a quest and redemption film, as both
Jack and Lily embark on separate adventures to ultimately undo what has
been done, each blaming themselves for what has occurred. Jack is aided
by an odd quartet, including the elvish Gump (David Bennent), dwarves
Brown Tom (Cork Hubbert) and Screwball (Billy Barty), and the
Tinkerbell-esque Oona (Annabelle Lanyon). Lily has to go it alone, and
her involvement largely mirrors Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, as she
finds herself deep within the lair of Darkness, enveloped in a strange
mixture of sexual tension and danger.
It's not the somewhat traditional fantasy plot that makes this such an
enjoyable film. It is the vision that Scott has managed to bring to the
screen that makes it really something to experience. Peter Jackson's
The Lord of the Rings has set the new standard for serious and grim
fantasy, but Legend cannot be far behind. It is a soft-focus world of
deep, dark forests, where the air is constantly filled with rose petals
and cottonwood seeds, and every locale looks like a Maxfield Parrish
painting on acid. I can't remember when I've seen rendered as beautiful
a depiction of a fantasy environment, especially one created in the
pre-CG universe of 1985; the elaborate forest set is still as visually
stunning today as it was then.
A good fantasy is populated with eccentric and strange creatures, and
this is one of the only areas of the film where it reads slightly
dated. Made before CG effects, Rob Bottin's makeup effects for Tim
Curry's devil incarnate, Darkness, are incredible (with his massive
curved horns and cloven hooves), and the evil goblin Blix and dwarves
Brown Tom and Screwball look like heavily costumed actors under latex
appliances. Even the elven ears of Gump sometimes appeared glaringly
artificial. If a film like this were to be made today, these characters
would likely be computer-generated, but Scott was forced to rely
strictly on in-camera shots, and the result is still, for the most
part, a success.
The director's cut is the preferred viewing choice here, and the
roughly thirty extra minutes allow Scott to give his already
leisurely-paced tale more time to meander along its way. This 2-disc
set is also a great example of how a proper score can breath new life
into a film, and more importantly, how the wrong score and
studio-forced editing can be a tragic mistake.
Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: B+
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratio yes
Image Transfer Review: Universal has issued Legend with sharp, pristine
2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers for each version of the film.
This was not intended to be a bright tapestry, but rather a soft
palette of muted colors, and that effect is captured perfectly. The
forest scenes are where this transfer excels, and they still stand as
some of the most visually lush sequences in the film. Some of the
interiors in Darkness' lair have inconsistent black levels, resulting
in some muddy shadowing. A bit of grain, and some minor compression
issues are evident, but not excessive. Beautiful.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The director's cut features DTS, 5.1, and 2.0
surround, while the U.S. release gets a solitary 2.0 mix; that alone
should tell you which version is the anchor of this 2-disc set. Even
with the DTS and 5.1 tracks, the surround mix is never too aggressive,
so if you're looking for a solid reference disc, this ain't it.
Dialogue is mixed well though, and anchored solidly in the center,
ringed by sound effects and Goldsmith's generally superb score. The 2.0
track on the U.S. release sounds downright tinny when compared to the
fullness of the DTS and 5.1 options on the director's cut.
Over analysis of an audio mix is often a heated source of debate among
DVD buffs, but this is an impressive sounding disc (disc one, that is),
considering the age of the film.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
2 Original Trailer(s)
4 TV Spots/Teasers
2 Deleted Scenes
Isolated Music Score
1 Feature commentary by Ridley Scott
Weblink/DVD-ROM MaterialPackaging: Unknown
1. Bryan Ferry music video
2. Photo galleries
Extras Review: This 2-disc set is packaged in a clear tri-fold Amaray
case that smudges kind of easily, and doesn't have a slot for the
included foldout booklet. The extras are plentiful, though it's the
commentary and the brand new, fifty-minute feature that make this DVD
In addition to the director's cut of Legend, the only extra on the
first disc is another honest and revealing full-length scene-specific
Ridley Scott commentary. A well-spoken Scott waxes nostalgic on the
project, and though the first twenty minutes or so replicate much of
the info found on disc two's documentary, it is still loaded with not
only detailed production and casting insights (the benefits on CG vs.
non-CG), but with a level of deeper discussion on some of the
influences and origins for the screenplay. There is much discussion on
the creation of the elaborate forest set, as well as the large-scale
fire that occurred shortly before filming ended. Some of the factoids
are cool movie nerd fodder, such as that Jack's shiny chain mail was
made out of beaten beer bottle tops or that the actor who played Gump
(David Bennent) spoke with such a heavy German accent that it was
feared he would sound too much like a Nazi (he was later overdubbed by
Alice Playten, who portrayed Blix). It's clear by listening to this
track that Scott put a lot into this film, and that its subsequent
theatrical failure was more than a bit startling to him.
U.S. Theatrical Version (01h:29m:15s)
Up until now, this was the only version available, including the
infamous Tangerine Dream score, which now seems horribly dated. This is
the version that's been in my memory banks since 1985, but now the
juxtaposition of the synth score with the fantasy elements looks like a
poorly conceived experiment. With a ninety-minute runtime designed for
short attention spans, the U.S. release still retains the powerful
visuals, despite a clunky opening sequence, but when compared to the
more expansive director's cut, now seems choppy and uneven. While it is
also presented in 2.35:1, it is only packaged with a 2.0 surround mix,
and it's clear that it is the redheaded stepchild of the two versions,
relegated to an already crowded supplemental disc. The image transfer
is clean, but somehow a bit less vibrant than the director's cut.
Creating a Myth: The Memories of Legend (50m:51s)
This feature, created specifically for this DVD release, gathers up
comments and recollections from just about every principle member of
the production crew and cast (except for Tom Cruise, of course). The
comments and anecdotes cover the gamut from story creation through
production and makeup design, and the impact of the massive studio fire
at the James Bond stage where Legend was filmed. Mia Sara (still
adorably radiant, by the way) fesses up to having had a major crush on
Ridley Scott, and there is some surprisingly good comedic moments when
makeup effects wiz Rob Bottin's admits which rock and roll star was the
influence for the character of Blix. On the more serious side, Ridley
Scott openly confesses that the Tangerine Dream score "was the wrong
thing to do". Excellent stuff, and extremely enjoyable.
Isolated Music Score
The loved-or-hated Tangerine Dream score, which includes some alternate
cues not used in the final film, is available in an isolated form,
though sadly only in 2.0 surround. Not their strongest film score by
far (I prefer Miracle Mile), and certainly not completely
representative of their overall work. I only wish the Jerry Goldsmith
score on the director's cut had been given the same treatment.
A pair of "lost" scenes are collected here, and unfortunately neither
is exceptionally memorable, but for Legend-aholics they will be
Alternate Opening: Four Goblins (10m:35s)
This much ballyhooed lost footage was discovered in March 2001, and
features a different opening sequence than was used in either the U.S.
or director's cuts, in which Blix, Pox, and Blunder are joined by a
fourth goblin, Tic. The rough (emphasis on "rough") print is
non-anamorphic (though it is in 2.35:1), and it is in really bad shape.
The scene runs far too long, and is more of a curiosity than anything
The Faerie Dance (02m:45s) Editor Terry Rawlings preserved the audio
portion of a scene featuring a wild dance done by Gump, Brown Tom,
Screwball and Oona, when they first encounter Jack after the world has
become ice-covered. The original footage has long since been destroyed,
but here it is somewhat recreated via storyboards and production
If you like storyboards, you're in luck. Three scenes are displayed in rather detailed storyboard format, and they are:
Lily and the Unicorn
Downfall of Darkness
There are two theatrical trailers (U.S. and international), and both
are presented in grainy full frame. The pair are virtually identical,
and completely fail to capture any of the film's beauty.
Four television spots reinforce how poorly this film was marketed. No wonder it flopped theatrically.
There are three automated photo galleries of color and black &
white images, each covering a distinct, self-explanatory area:
Publicity Photographs (02m:45s)
Images of Legend (04m:49s)
Continuity Polaroids (04m:49s)
The continuity group is easily the most interesting and unusual of the batch.
Bryan Ferry's Is Your Love Strong Enough? Music Video
One of rock's most debonair hipsters croons his way through a weak
Avalon-ish song used over the credits of the U.S. release. Oddly
enough, the over-produced music video features a lot footage from
Legend's climax, which seems to be just another nail in the shoddy
marketing coffin from back in 1985.
The rest of the extras include some fairly copious production notes,
subtitles (English, French, Spanish), bios and a DVD-ROM feature that
allows access to script-to-screen comparisons.
Extras Grade: A
Ridley Scott's fantasy epic finally comes to DVD as it was meant to be
seen, and I can honestly say it was well worth the wait. This is not a
razzle-dazzle action film, but instead it is a fairly slow-moving
visual treat, and that fact may be a bit unsettling for some of today's
quick-edit weaned viewers. Universal has kindly offered both versions
of the film here, as well as an insightful director's commentary and a
fine mix of other extras, including a new fifty-minute "making of"
- The following review can be found at http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s489legend.html.
Savant Review: Legend Ultimate Edition
1985 / Color / 2:35 anamorphic 16:9 / 114/90 min. / Ultimate Edition
Starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Robert Picardo
Cinematography Alex Thomson
Production Design Leslie Dilley, Assheton Gorton
Makeup and Special Effects Rob Bottin, Nick Allder
Film Editor Terry Rawlings
Original Music Jerry Goldsmith, Tangerine Dream
Written by William Hjortsberg
Produced by Tim Hampton and Arnon Milchan
Directed by Ridley Scott
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
A disconcerting flop on its first release, Legend is known more for
being split into two versions, than for any particular success. It was
cut by three reels in America and hastily rescored, and a lot of US
fans have patiently waited to see the original version. Good, bad or
indifferent, Ridley Scott's fairytale movie has been produced to
perfection on this Ultimate Edition DVD - which includes both an
Unreleased Director's version and the American cut, and a handsome
selection of extras.
In a magical land, young Princess Lily (Mia Sara) journeys into a deep
forest to see friends but mostly visit with 'green man' Jack, a
woods-dwelling young adventurer (Tom Cruise). He dares to show her the
world's most treasured sight, a pair of beautiful white Unicorns. She
makes the mistake of touching one, compromising its innocence and
violating a rule of the universe. Meanwhile, an imposing red-horned
demon called The Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) has dispatched several
sub-demons, notably the hideous Blix (Alice Playten) to destroy these
last unicorns by cutting off their horns ... which will plunge the
world into eternal night. As the Lord of Darkness cannot exist in the
daylight, this will set him free to rule the world. Blix de-horns one
unicorn, and the forest instantly becomes a forbidding land of ice and
snow. Lily is captured by the demons, and to save her Jack must thread
a maze of menaces, like the formidable creature Meg Mucklebones (Robert
Picardo). On his side are but a few forest elves and pixies.
For his fourth film, Ridley Scott chose a fairytale story and wrapped
it in his own brand of all-enveloping production detail. The incredibly
beautiful forest in the film, like everything else we see, is an
uncanny reproduction on a vast scale.
Scott wanted to make fairy tale with a simple story, and that's what he
got. For incident, it's fairly exciting, and his classical,
visually-oriented direction is also a plus. But it simply doesn't seem
very original or fresh. Without simply accepting the Hero and the
Heroine at face value, there aren't any characters we can identify
There's zero context given for these two: we know little about them
except that they are young, inexperienced, and in her case, perhaps a
bit spoiled. Since Jack doesn't simply avoid disaster by telling Lily
WHY she shouldn't touch the Unicorns, we feel from the start that the
story is highly rigged. They're innocent sweethearts victimized by a
world with 'rules' that serve as a trap. Adam and Eve ate the apple,
but they knew all along they were trangressing. There's nothing
negative about Lily's actions and neither Lily or Jack's actions
indicate character flaws that might give the story some meaning. But in
this fairy tale, the price is terrible just the same.
So most of Legend sees Lily and a very young and callow Tom Cruise
fighting and suffering over a problem which seems totally arbitrary.
Their entanglements vary in levels of excitement and interest, but
since we are missing vital info on Lily (Where's her castle? Why hasn't
anyone come to look for her?) it's hard to understand exactly what
she's going through. The tendency is to see both of the leads as easy
identification figures for the vapid, clueless teens who are the
presumed audience. True, Mia Sara's fresh smile is a joy to see, and
Cruise is well-matched to his athletic and determined character.
Likewise, the baddies are interesting to a degree, but lack oomph.
Blix, the number-one demon functionary, is so exaggerated a ghoul that
he looks like he was drawn by a ten year old: long pointy nose, long
pointy ears, etc. He and the rest of his cohorts do have that icky but
authentic look of the creatures from Häxan, but just don't generate
much impact. Their voices don't conjure up anything particularly
menacing either, and they just seem too generic, as if they'd wandered
in from Masters of the Universe. De-horning the Unicorn is unpleasant,
but in their other actions, the demons don't seem all that potent or
On the other hand, a couple of Jack's helpers are more interesting,
particularly the little elf and the sprite-like creature. This pair
could easily have wandered out of the Dieterle A Midsummer Night's
Dream. The Billy Barty character would be better if he were used for
less comedic effect.
Part of the problem is the dialogue script, which is just too
perfunctory. Tim Curry's Darkness is quite a technical achievement for
Rob Bottin, with his colossal horns and huge cloven hooves, but he
talks too damn much. He blabs on and on and says very little, except to
let everyone know loud and clear that sunlight will destroy him. He
stretches and makes faces and otherwise shows off, but he never seems
particularly Evil, invulnerable, or even very smart.
Are these quibbles as quibbly as they seem? There are obviously lots of
people for whom Legend was a powerful experience. There is considerable
grandeur in the sheer look of the film. As with Blade Runner, it's
difficult to find fault with Ridley Scott's 'world', created this time
by a large team of British experts. The forest is alive with light and
leaves and crawling with animals and birds. The air is full of sunny
bugs flitting back and forth. The light has texture and depth, and
there really is the dense feeling of an ancient wooded enclave.
Darkness'es caverns and fiery hearth are equally rich. Curious details
straight out of Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, such as a stop-motion
animated carved statue on a table top, are there to be found wherever
you turn. As a production, it's phenomenal
Universal's DVD of Legend is a fancy product in a fancy package. A
clear wraparound case enfolds two discs. One has the American 90 minute
cut, with the replacement score by Tangerine Dream. It is accompanied
by a lengthy and well-researched docu that has the full involvement of
Ridley Scott; two lost scenes; a recreation of the faerie dance with
storyboards and stills; the isolated Tangerine Dream; storyboards;
Brian Ferry music video; photos, trailers, tv spots, yadda yadda on and
on. It's quite the completist's dream.
The second disc (disc one, actually) is Ridley Scott's original 114
minute cut, before being cut in the UK. It has the original Jerry
Goldsmith score intact. The only extra here is a full-length Scott
Savant watched the long version and sampled the shorter American recut.
The long version is a beautiful sight to behold. Even when I was tiring
of the story, I was never bored by the look of the film itself. And the
Goldsmith music was so stunning that the hastily cobbled Tangerine
Dream replacement couldn't compete. I compared Lily's 'dance of death'
with the hooded creature who possesses (?) her, on both versions. The
dance is much shorter in the American version, with the music making a
big difference. The Goldsmith track creates some wonderful dark magic,
while the synth score just sits there. If you're already a fan of the
US version, and aren't totally locked into the Tangerine Dream music,
this will blow you away.
The American cut looks grainy and has less detail than the Director's
version, which is okay by me as I don't intend to watch it again except
to compare. According to the IMDB, 70mm prints were originally struck
for this show. I don't know whether it would have made a difference,
but it's a shame that the director got cold feet and decided to
undermine his first cut - I think the original would have been better
received here. The only thing I remember about the release was being
told that it had been cut down, with its symphonic score replaced with
a synth rock track ... and I tuned out entirely.
On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,
Legend the Ultimate Edition rates:
Supplements: Plenty, see above.
Packaging: Oddball see-through three-way folding case
Reviewed: May 9, 2002
- The following review can be found at http://www.dvdcorner.net/html/legend.html.
Anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen
English DTS 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Spanish, French subtitles, closed-captioned
114 mins., 90 mins., color, 1986
Picture A, Sound A+, Content A, Extras A
Intro-This Ridley Scott film finally comes to DVD with an Ultimate
Edition, two discs with two different versions of the film. On disc
one, we are treated to the longer, European version, with a score by
Jerry Goldsmith, and disc two contains the US version with score by
Tangerine Dream. Scott declares in the insert that the longer version
is more what he was his vision was for the film and now , through the
magic of DVD we get both films in one terrific package.
Story-Lily (Mia Sara) ,a princess, is in love with Jack(Tom Cruise),
who is a boy of the woodlands. One day Jack decides to show Lily
something special; he knows where the magical unicorns play. Neither
know that goblins, have been sent by the evil Darkness (Tim Curry) to
capture the unicorn's horn and make the woodlands forever dark. At the
moment when Jack tries to retrieve Lily's ring, the goblins strike,
creating an instant winter in the forest. Lily is captured by the
goblins and taken to the evil one's lair and Jack is recruited by
fairies and elves to find her and combat the Darkness.
So begins this magical, visually stunning fairy tale of good vs. evil.
Scott's direction is superb and the entire film is very dreamlike in
composition and script. While the forest scenes, created entirely at
Pinewood Studios in England, are beautiful, Scott's vision of darkness
is equally dark and foreboding as can be imagined.
Picture-An excellent anamorphic transfer is provided by Universal for
both versions of the film. The forest scenes are striking, as Scott
introduced hundreds of live animals into the set. Makeup for some of
the cast was critical and it is outstanding. Tim Curry went through
five hours of makeup everyday for his role as Darkness. Alice Playten,
as the head goblin, also went through many hours of preparation, which
resulted in a goblin resembling Keith Richard.
Sound-A DTS 5.1 soundtrack is provided, along with Dolby 5.1 digital
and is powerful for the longer version of the film on disc one. Dolby
surround is standard for the shorter, U.S. version. Obviously, Scott
prefers the longer version as a more definitive film, along with the
Jerry Goldsmith score. The music in this film is of critical importance
as it helps set the atmosphere for the film.
Extras-Commentary is provided for the longer version of the film by
Ridley Scott. Other extras are delegated to disc two including an hour
long feature "Creating A Myth: The Making Of Legend". Cast interviews
include Mia Sara, Alice Playten, Cork Hubbert, and Billy Barty. Scott
also is interviewed extensively for this feature, along with producers
and story writers. Other extras include an isolated score by Tangerine
Dream, two lost scenes; an original rough cut of an alternative opening
sequence, and also a fairy dance, which was cut from the film. No
existing footage remains of this but the soundtrack survived and the
scene is played out by still photos and storyboard sketches of the
original concept. Storyboard features include "Lily and The Unicorns",
"Jack's Challenge" and "Downfall of Darkness". A music video of Brian
Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong Enough?" is another highlight, plus three
photo galleries, two theatrical trailers, four television spots and
cast and filmmaker bios. The DVD-ROM feature is a script to scene
comparison. These extras should keep you busy for weeks.
Summary-After a long wait, "Legend " finally arrives with the personal
touch of director Scott. This Ultimate Edition is sure to satisfy fans
of the fantasy film and has been worth the wait.
- The following review can be found at http://dvdmg.com/legend.shtml
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson
1985 proved to be an odd year for directors who worked at Universal
Pictures. On one hand, one Universal release - Out of Africa - nabbed
the Oscar for Best Picture. Another - Back to the Future - took home
the crown as the year’s box office champion.
On the other hand, a couple of directors had a rough time with their
Universal projects in 1985. The most extreme problems befell Terry
Gilliam and Brazil. He experienced legendary battles with studio chiefs
over the tone and length of the flick, among other areas; it remains
one of the most famous feuds in movie history.
While it doesn’t appear that Ridley Scott went through Gilliam’s level
of angst as he prepared his fantasy flick Legend, what ended up on
screen in theaters wasn’t what he originally intended. After an
unsuccessful test screening, the director apparently lost some faith in
his vision and chopped up the film accordingly. What originally lasted
about two hours dropped down to the 90-minute version seen on US
screens. In addition, American audiences heard a different score than
the one created by noted composer Jerry Goldsmith; they got a cheesy
synthesizer offering from Tangerine Dream. (Oddly enough, Arnon Milchan
produced both Legend and Brazil.)
In 2002, it’s hard to imagine that a film directed by Ridley Scott and
starring Tom Cruise would tank at the box office, but that’s exactly
what happened to Legend. The movie died a quick death, though it went
on to gain a passionate following via video. Because of those fans,
Legend apparently has been one of the most-requested titles that
awaited DVD release. In fact, the disc was delayed repeatedly before we
finally got it in our hands.
In an intriguing move, this “Ultimate Edition” DVD includes both the
original 90-minute US theatrical release and Scott’s 114-minute
“director’s cut”. At last fans would be able to see the film as
intended, complete with Goldsmith’s famous score.
Speaking for myself, I never saw Legend - at least not all of it. I
recall that I tried to watch it on video back in the Eighties but just
couldn’t sit through it. The movie seemed so silly and fruity that it
possessed no interest for me; I think I made it through the first 15
minutes or so and then bailed on it.
When I watched the director’s cut, I did manage to last until the very
end, but it remained a tough process. More than a decade and a half
after my original attempt, it seems that I still feel the same about
Legend: this is one bad movie.
Legend places us in a land of faeries and magic. There forest-dweller
Jack (Cruise) loves Princess Lily (Mia Sara) and desires to spend all
his time with her. Although it’s against the rules, he tries to impress
her when he shows her the romping grounds of the unicorns, the most
sacred and special of creatures. Against Jack’s warnings, Lily
approaches and touches one of the unicorns, an action that messes up
the world badly. Concurrently, Blix (Alice Playten), the henchman of
Darkness (Tim Curry), slays one of the unicorns and steals its horn.
This places the world mostly in darkness, which is what Darkness
desires. He needs to kill the other unicorn to finish the job, and Jack
wants to stop this.
In addition, Darkness wants to make Lily his wife and let the two of
them rule the eternal night. Of course, this doesn’t sit well with
Jack, and he gets the assistance of a bunch of magical little folk as
they attempt to save the princess and prevent the victory of Darkness.
Though not exactly an original story, I have no great quibble with the
plot. After all, Star Wars featured a similarly Spartan basis for its
action, and it worked awfully well. However, Legend is no Star Wars.
Legend didn’t even live up to the fairly mediocre level of 1988’s
Willow, a similar flick.
On the positive side, I must admit that Legend looks great. Clearly a
lot of work went into the production design, and the results are
excellent. The forest and other settings seem lush and lively, and they
create a fine environment for the action.
Too bad that the events are so uninteresting. Like I mentioned, there’s
nothing particularly wrong with the story itself; it’s the execution
that seems problematic. For one, Legend seems to be poorly cast. Prior
to Legend, Cruise made a name for himself as a cocky teen in 1983’s
Risky Business. That tone of charming arrogance served him well through
his career, and it would help him during his next big hit, 1986’s Top
Gun. However, he was totally wrong for the part of Jack. None of his
personality could emerge through this bland and semi-impotent “hero”,
as Jack felt lost among the magic and wonder.
Curry does acceptably well as Darkness, though he’s totally
unrecognizable beneath many layers of makeup. Sara seems less
satisfying as Lily. While she appears pretty enough for the part, she
lacks much charm. Frankly, I could never understand why Jack loved her
so much; she came across like a total bitch much of the time. In her
first movie, Sara couldn’t find any depth or heart to the role, so Lily
remains a beautiful but unlikable character.
In the same vein as C-3PO and R2-D2, Legend’s sidekicks mainly exist to
provide comic relief. They do so poorly. Virtually all of the movie’s
gags fall flat, especially when executed by Blix and his buddies. The
jokes dispersed by the various demons seem silly and pointless, and
they serve to ruin any dark mood that the film might establish.
Honestly, Scott seemed like the wrong director for this project. He
works better within a gritty environment, and the light airiness seen
much of the time during Legend didn’t suit him. Granted, even the
darker bits still fall flat, but they seem less laughable than the
parts where Lily plays Snow White and croons to the forest creatures.
Actually, though I thought the Star Wars parallels seemed strong, it’s
clear that Scott wanted Legend to be his version of a Disney animated
flick. All of the staple elements are there, but he fails to imbue them
with the charm and life seen during Walt’s best creations. Legend feels
forced and cutesy much of the time, and the script saddles the actors
with some of the worst dialogue I’ve ever heard. In one scene, Blix
says to Darkness, “She’s just a female - she has no power!” To that the
boss retorts, “Only the power of creation!” How did such a terrible
exchange ever make it past the first rewrite?
Unfortunately, Legend offers many more groaners where that came from,
and it seems like a very forced and unnatural piece. It tries so hard
to dazzle us with magic and wonder that it never achieves any of its
goals. The characters become buried under elaborate sets and costumes
and display little positive personality, while the story can’t overcome
the various flaws. Legend offers a pretty experience, but it isn’t one
that I enjoyed.
Note: I also suffered through the original US theatrical cut. I’ll
discuss that version and the ways it differed from the director’s cut
when I get to the DVD’s extras.
The DVD Grades: Picture A- / Audio B+ (DTS), B (Dolby Digital) / Bonus A-
Legend appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this
single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9
televisions. Although a few minor concerns popped up, overall this was
an excellent transfer that rarely belied its age.
Sharpness seemed solid. At times the movie exhibited a mildly gauzy
look, but this appeared intentional and made sense within the fantasy
setting. Nonetheless, the picture always remained nicely distinct and
accurate, with virtually no intrusive softness. Jagged edges and moiré
effects caused no concerns, and I detected no signs of edge
enhancement. Print flaws were very minor, especially for an aging film
like this. I noticed a few specks and a little light grain at times,
but these never caused any problems. Overall, the movie remained nicely
clean and fresh.
Colors appeared very strong. The movie utilized a glowing tone that
made sense within the fantasy framework, and the various hues came
across as rich and vibrant. The colors always looked clear and
attractive, and they exhibited no issues like noise or bleeding. Black
levels also were deep and dense, and shadow detail seemed appropriately
heavy but not excessively opaque. During some of the “ice age” scenes,
the movie essentially looked black and white, and the DVD showed fine
contrast and delineation. Ultimately, Legend had a couple small
problems, but I found it to offer a generally positive presentation.
I felt the same way about the movie’s soundtracks. Legend boasted both
Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes. For the most part, they seemed
fairly similar, but in the end, I gave the nod to the DTS track. I’ll
discuss it initially and then cover the reasons why I thought it
appeared superior to the Dolby mix.
The soundfield generally exhibited a forward bias. Within the front
channels, the score showed solid stereo separation, while effects
created a good sense of atmosphere. Elements appeared appropriately
located within that domain, and they blended together nicely. As for
the surrounds, they usually stuck with general reinforcement of the
front track, but they came to life well when appropriate. For example,
the sequence in which Jack chased after Lily’s ring offered clear and
logical activity from the rear channels that helped make the scene more
Audio quality appeared erratic but acceptably good for its age.
Dialogue came across as reasonably natural and distinct, with no
concerns related to intelligibility or edginess. Effects seemed more
hit or miss. Some of those elements appeared nicely clear and rich, but
others sounded thinner and more dated. For the most part, however, the
effects remained fairly accurate and vibrant, though high-end sounds
occasionally were a little brittle sounding. Music showed positive
fidelity, as Jerry Goldsmith’s score seemed bright and lively. Bass
response could sound a bit loose at times, but it appeared pretty rich
and deep as a whole. I noticed some light hiss at times. While the
soundtrack of Legend won’t dazzle anyone, it stands as a good piece of
work for its era.
So how did the DTS track beat the Dolby Digital one? In the usual ways.
The DTS version sounded a little richer and more natural, and the
elements meshed together more cleanly. It also provided tighter bass
response and greater dynamic range; the Dolby mix could seem a little
too thin at times. Overall, the differences didn’t seem extreme, but I
still gave the nod to the DTS edition.
Virtually all of Universal’s “Ultimate Editions” offered expanded,
repackaged versions of already-existing releases such as American Pie
and The Mummy. However, Legend breaks that mold, as it gets an Ultimate
Edition with its first appearance on DVD. Based on the slew of solid
extras found in this set, I can’t imagine we’ll see another version of
it anytime soon, for the DVD offers a wealth of materials.
Most of these appear on DVD Two, but the first disc contributes one
significant supplement: an audio commentary from director Ridley Scott.
He’s a veteran of the format, and that comfort level shows during his
running, screen-specific chat. Scott covers a nice range of
information, from the origins of the project to various technical
concerns and other production issues. He devotes relatively little time
to the actors - which doesn’t come as a surprise, given the nature of
the film - but he talks about his work with them at times. Scott
touches on the alterations made for the release editions, but he also
doesn’t get into this issue heavily; I’d like to know more about that
process, as I get the feeling it was more controversial than he makes
it out to be. Those minor omissions aside, I found this to be a
consistently chatty and compelling track that added to my knowledge
about the movie.
After this, we move to DVD Two, where we find the majority of the
supplements. To start, we locate the entire US theatrical cut of
Legend. Presented in anamorphic 2.35:1 with Dolby Surround 2.0 sound,
the presentation of the film seemed good, but it didn’t match up with
the picture and sound of the director’s cut. Actually, at first I
thought they looked pretty similar, but the more I watched the US
version, the more defects I detected. The US cut showed muddier blacks,
heavier colors - especially when we saw fire - and seemed somewhat
softer. I also noticed a few additional print flaws, mainly in the form
of speckles. If forced to grade the picture of the US version, I’d
probably give it a “B-“.
I found fewer differences between the various soundtracks, but the
audio of the US edition did seem less satisfying. For the most part,
they offered similar soundfields and quality. However, I found that the
US cut seemed a bit less well defined and crisp, and the sound also
appeared a little harsher at times. Again, these weren’t enormous
variations, but they did occur. I’d award the audio of the US release
As for the content of the US edition, it offered a lot of changes from
the director’s cut. I thought it might simply be a shorter version of
the latter, but actually, quite a few differences occurred. For
example, the US film started with an explanatory text that didn’t
appear in the longer version, and it also revealed the image of
Darkness much earlier in the flick. Some omissions meant that other
parts made less sense. For instance, during the director’s cut, Gump
tries to stump Jack with a riddle. This didn’t appear in the US
version, which meant that a later line in which Gump mentions riddles
had less effect; it didn’t “throw back” to the prior occurrence.
Of course, the two films featured different scores, which also made a
big change. During the supplements, we hear discussions of the two sets
of music, and people seem careful not to slam the Tangerine Dream score
heard on the US version. Well, if they won’t, I will - it’s terrible!
The music really dates the film, as it lacks the timeless quality of
Goldsmith’s score. In addition, it includes a few New Age tunes during
the flick, and those really kill it. Admittedly, I didn’t like the
director’s cut, but the US version seemed even less satisfying for a
variety of reasons. Nonetheless, I appreciated its inclusion on the
DVD, since it’ll please longtime fans of the film.
Next we find a new documentary about the movie. Called Creating the
Myth: The Memories of Legend, this 50-minute and 45-second program
offers the usual mix of film clips, shots from the set, and interviews
with participants. Unfortunately, Tom Cruise declined to appear, but we
do hear from director Ridley Scott, writer William “Gatz” Hjortsberg,
producer Arnon Milchan, director of photography Alex Thomson, editor
Terry Rawlings, production designer Assheton Gorton, makeup effects
creator Rob Bottin, set decorator Anne Mollo, stunt coordinator Vic
Armstrong, key makeup artist Peter Robb King, former president/COO of
the MCA Motion Picture Group Sid Sheinberg, and actors Mia Sara, Tim
Curry, Alice Playten, Robert Picardo, Billy Barty, and Cork Hubbert.
My only complain about “Myth” related to the use of behind-the-scenes
footage. We see too little of this, as movie snippets and interviews
dominate. Nonetheless, the program offers a terrific look at the making
of the film. It covers a wealth of topics, from the original script to
the creation of the sets to working with the horses to makeup to the
fire on the Bond stage to the different versions, and it adds much
other material as well. Particularly enjoyable are Hjortsberg’s
comments, as he’s consistently funny and informative; his impressions
of Scott seem particularly hilarious. Overall, this is a fine
documentary that should be compelling ever for folks who don’t like the
For those with a high threshold for pain, they can listen to the
Isolated Music Score By Tangerine Dream. This includes a mix of
elements, as it provides unused music cues as well as the final score.
Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, it doesn’t work any better on its
own than it does when integrated with speech and effects, but fans
should be happy to have it, I suppose.
More interesting to me are the two Lost Scenes. One of these shows an
“Alternate Opening”, and it runs for 10 minutes and 35 seconds. Taken
from a video copy of the film, this expands the existing start to the
movie as it focuses on the quest of the four goblins, one of whom
didn’t make the final cut. Next we get “The Faerie Dance”, a two-minute
and 45-second piece. No film footage remains for it, so instead we hear
the scene’s audio played over a combination of production photos and
storyboards. All I can say is that I’m glad this obnoxious little piece
didn’t appear in the finished movie; it looks terrible!
After this we get three sets of Storyboards. One of these - “Lily and
the Unicorns” - basically hews to material seen in the finished film,
but one of the others - “Jack’s Challenge” - was never shot, and the
other - “Downfall of Darkness” - shows an alternate version of existing
footage. The areas include between 69 and 159 boards for a total of 300
In the Trailers area we see both the US and International promos; they
looked very similar to me. We also find four TV Spots for the film and
the Music Video for Bryan Ferry’s “Is Your Love Strong Enough”. That
clip lasts five minutes and 20 seconds and mostly uses the standard
combination of movie snippets and lip-synch shots, though at times it
appears to place Ferry in the action. It’s pretty lame.
The Photo Gallery breaks down into three subdomains, all of which
appear as running video programs. “Publicity Photos” lasts two minutes
and 45 seconds as it presents 40 posed pictures used for promotional
purposes. “Images of Legend” takes four minutes and 48 seconds to give
us 71 shots from the set, some of which include unused concepts; for
example, we see how Darkness would have looked if they’d made Tim Curry
wear contact lenses. Lastly, “Continuity Polaroids” also runs four
minutes and 48 seconds to display its 71 images, all of which show the
actors in different stages to ensure they’d look the same from day to
day. I’m not wild about the running video presentation - Disney does
still galleries best, as they offer thumbnailed collections - but the
material seems interesting.
A few minor pieces complete the DVD. The Production Notes offer a brief
but reasonably useful overview of the film’s creation, while Cast and
Filmmakers gives us some short biographies. We find listings for Scott
as well as actors Cruise, Sara, Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten,
Billy Barty, and Cork Hubbert. These are standard Universal fare: good
Within the DVD’s booklet, we locate “A Message From Ridley Scott” that
discusses the reasons for the creation of the new director’s cut. It
also includes the usual chapter listings as well as a chart of the
Finally, for DVD-ROM users, a few addition materials appear. Most
significant are the Original Screenplay and the Shooting Script. These
can be viewed as you watch the US cut of the film. They’re a cool
addition to the package. Finally, the DVD-ROM area includes a few
Weblinks. It gives us connections to Universal Home Video, Universal
Pictures, Universal Theme Parks, and Universal Studios. You can also
sign up for Universal’s DVD Newsletter.
It’s the eternal dilemma for a DVD reviewer. Bad movie, terrific disc -
what recommendation do I offer? Make no mistake: Legend is a terrible
flick. It shows good visual imagination but wastes those efforts on a
bland story that seems poorly executed. However, the DVD itself is a
terrific piece of work. It provides very good picture and sound as well
as a fine collection of supplements. Ultimately, I can’t fully endorse
the DVD simply because I strongly disliked the movie. Nonetheless, fans
of Legend should be absolutely delighted that the flick finally got
such an excellent DVD release, and those who think it might be their
cup of tea are firmly encouraged to give it a look.
- The following review can be found at http://www.dvdauthority.com/legendue.asp.
DVD Reviewed: Legend: Ultimate Edition
Reviewed by: Matt Brighton
One of the more "odd" things about DVD (essentially the next wave of
home video) is the fact that there are several movies that are on the
format that should be. Naturally, we're missing classic movies (as of
this writing, anyway) like Sunset Boulevard, The African Queen and
Treasure of the Sierra Madre as well as some more modern movies like
Grease, Raiders of the Lost Arc and Star Wars. Now this brings me to
Legend. Legend is essentially known to be Tom Cruise's worst movie
(along with "Losin' It") and I have to admit that I had never seen it
until it arrived on DVD. But Universal has been teasing us for almost a
year now, with the title. Will it be a special edition or not? Finally,
it became an Ultimate Edition, Universal's "Top of the Line" when it
comes to DVD. Legend has achieved cult status, that's for sure. But to
me, the movie just isn't very good. Tom Cruise has certainly done
better since (both critically and he can obviously have a film make
some money) and though Mia Sara had a good thing going with Ferris
Bueller's Day Off, I don't think I recall her in anything of note
since, but I could be wrong. So Ridley Scott's, who has become "hot"
lately with Black Hawk Down and Gladiator Legend is finally on DVD and
it certainly looks and sounds better than it ever has. But let's see
what all the hoopla has been about.
Legend is a fairy-tale, at least we hope so as unicorns don't wander
around much anymore. The two heroes of the film are Jack and Lili (Tom
Cruise and Mia Sara respectively). Jack's mission is to save the world
from Darkness (both in the literal and physical sense of the word as
"Darkness" is the villan played by Tim Curry) and let the sun shine
forever. Lili is the woman who he meets and falls in love with.
However, Lili is lured to the dark side, literally, and is taken
prisoner by a priestess into becoming evil. So what is our hero to do?
Take all of the muppet-like creatures and cast them aside, take the
sets that are pretty amazing and what it boils down to is a basic
struggle between good and evil. Naturally, most every movie in the
world has this underlying concept, but it's expressed in its most
literal form here. The good, Jack vs. the evil, Darkness.
Now for all of it's faults, Legend is a very good technical movie.
Helmed by Ridley Scott, who is known to be quite the perfectionist, the
sets are amazing and it's a tribute to the director of Alien and Blade
Runner that he can create the suspension of disbelief when he wants to.
But I felt the roles were kind of miscast. True, Tom Cruise had only
one "hit" under his belt in the form of Risky Business and he had not
yet tasted the success of the star that he would become. It would not
be a result of this movie, however. Love it or hate it, this fantasy
genre will not go away. With the recent Lord of the Rings movies
becoming one of the top-grossing movies of all time, it's clear that
movies like this paved the way for the ones yet to come. So while all
of the elements were in place here, it was maybe the execution that
made Legend both the critically bashed yet cult classic that is Legend.
Containing not one, but two cuts of the movie, Legend has the 114
minute "Director's Cut" of the film as well as the United States
version of 90 minutes. While I would like to say that these look
identical, I would be lying. Both are presented in their original
2.35:1 anamorphic ratio, but the Director's Cut looks better here...in
many ways. The Director's Cut is presented on the first of two discs
and has nothing else on it, save the commentary by Ridley Scott.
Getting the benefit of added space, this version has the "room" to take
advantage of the transfer. Black levels are great, edge enhancement is
minimal and for the most part it is far superior to how the film has
been handled on home video to date.
This brings us to the United States version of the film. Yes, there are
two different versions of the film in the set. This cut is only 90
minutes and what we saw here in the states. But, this version has been
crammed on the disc with all of the extras, and there are plenty to go
around. What's this mean for the quality of the image? It suffers. It's
not un-watchable, but when compared with the UK version, this one is
inferior. If you're looking for a better cut of the film and a
better-looking version of the film, then by all means...go with the
Like all of Universal's "Ultimate Edition" line, Legend has both Dolby
Digital 5.1 and DTS tracks. As with the video, the Director's Cut gets
all of the "benefit" of the audio, while the US version is only a Dolby
Digital Surround track. Yet another reason to watch the Director's Cut,
I suppose! Now, granted, the film (regardless of which version you
choose to watch) is fifteen years old, so it's suitable to understand
that the sound won't hold a candle up to the depth of today's
soundtracks. It doesn't. While the DTS track on the Director's Cut is
superior to the Dolby Digital version, it isn't that much of a
difference here. There appear to be some more discrete effects, as is
common with DTS/DD discs, but most of the action is limited to the
front channels. Scott (Ridley, that is) is known for his use of sound
(just look at Black Hawk Down and Gladiator), but for it's time, I'm
sure Legend sounded pretty darn good. The US cut of the movie sounds
far worse, as the mix is only a Dolby Surround mix. Dialogue is a bit
mushy and the effects are almost non-existent. Let's face it, if you
want the best audio and video mix, watch the Director's Cut. They
almost make it so you have no choice!
The line of "Ultimate Editions" by Universal is hard to beat. As
one of the few studios that consistently put some good extras on their
"bare bones" discs, this line of discs raises the bar to an even higher
level. True fans of the film might say that the 114 minute
Director's Cut and awesome picture and sound would be just fine enough,
but we have even more to offer so let's get started. First up is
the screen-specific audio commentary from Director Ridley Scott.
Scott has offered up plenty of commentaries for his movies and he's
pretty good at them. This is no exception. As I noted
above, he is very particular and very technical, though his commentary
track is very upbeat and full of information about the production,
shoot and casting. He's obviously happy that his director's cut
is on DVD! A good track, and a must listen for true fans of the
film. "Creating a Myth: The Making of Legend" is not your typical
"making of" documentary. This is a relatively in-depth look at
how the film was made, cast, edited, re-edited and so on. New
interviews with the cast and crew (minus Tom Cruise) make for a very
interesting documentary that runs almost an hour. Some deleted
scenes (entitled "Lost Scenes") which do look bad, but they are
presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. An
alternate opening sequence, "Four Goblins" is presented as is the "The
Faerie Dance". While these don't have much to offer in terms of
value to the film, it's nice to have them on this disc.
Some storyboards can be found, three scenes in all and it runs nearly
twenty minutes when all is said and done. Some text is also
supplied to describe what is actually going on, so that helps.
Also included is a still gallery of over 100 shots from the film.
Another nice touch, but still...very static. Next up we have a
music video "Is your Love Strong Enough" by Bryan Ferry. Let's
just say that it's definitely an 80's video! And, as with most
all Universal releases, some cast and crew bios are included,
production notes and a theatrical trailer. Some DVD-ROM material
is also included with two versions of the original screenplay.
While fans of Legend will be happy that the DVD is finally here, it
might gather dust on my shelf. The DVD is great, don't get me
wrong...it's just not my personal cup of tea. Kudos to Universal
for their effort though, the Ultimate Edition series is top notch!
May 22nd, 2002
- The following review can be found at http://www.cinescape.com :
Disc Grade: A
Reviewed Format: DVD
Stars: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty
Writer: William Hjortsberg
Director: Ridley Scott
Distributor: Universal Home Video
Original Year of Release: 1985
Retail Price: $24.98
Extras: two-disc set; widescreen anamorphic; Dolby Digital 5.1; DTS;
commentary; director’s cut restored version with Jerry Goldsmith's
score; original U.S. theatrical version with Tangerine Dream score;
documentary; storyboards; lost scenes; original screenplay with
comparison to final film feature; isolated music score by Tangerine
Dream; music video
A goblin off Ridley Scott’s back
Dateline: Wednesday, May 22, 2002
By: JEFF BOND, Contributing Editor
With big screen fantasy making a big comeback courtesy of LORD OF THE
RINGS, it’s the perfect time to go back and revisit Ridley Scott’s
LEGEND, one of the most visually luxuriant, sumptuously scored and,
ultimately, most problematic fantasy films ever made. Scott launched
this elaborate, Brothers Grimm-style fairy tale after completing THE
DUELLISTS, ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER, and he saw LEGEND as the completion
of a trilogy of genre films begun with his tremendous artistic (if not
financial) successes on the latter two pictures.
Filmed on the massive 007 soundstages in Great Britain, the film was
set in a tremendous fairy tale forest completely constructed from
scratch, a set so vast that live animals and birds inserted into the
environment for filming purposes actually made a home there during the
shoot. Scott got Tom Cruise hot off the success of RISKY BUSINESS,
makeup effects expert Rob Bottin from THE HOWLING, and technical
collaborators from BLADE RUNNER and ALIEN to complete the mix, and
embarked on one of the most hotly anticipated films of the decade.
Unfortunately, the final film as seen by U.S. audiences was a hollow
fragment of Scott’s original, ambitious vision. After some rough test
screenings and at the behest of Universal executive Sid Sheinberg,
Scott reduced his original two hour cut of the film to 90 minutes and
dumped a beautiful symphonic score by Jerry Goldsmith, replacing it
with a work of abstract, vaguely Middle Eastern electronics by
Tangerine Dream. The results pleased no one, from Tom Cruise fans who
were put off by the vision of their hunky young hero playing a
starry-eyed forest sprite, to fans of ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER who were
ill-prepared to digest a Ridley Scott film that was essentially
designed for children.
European audiences saw something closer to Scott’s original intent and
got to hear the Jerry Goldsmith score, but after its initial release
LEGEND disappeared and thereafter was seen only in its bowdlerized
American version, and then in dreadful pan-and-scan television and
video screenings which devastated the film’s one undeniable strength:
its stunning widescreen visuals.
A DVD release of LEGEND has been in the works for a long time, and in
the years since its release the film has built a small but fervent
following that should be overjoyed at the treasures Universal’s DVD
release offers. First off there’s a stunning anamorphic transfer of the
film, reassembled by Scott into a one hour and fifty four minute
director’s cut that gives the story the breathing room that the
90-minute version never offered, plus a rich 5.1 Dolby surround mix of
Jerry Goldsmith’s score. Add a full length, indexed commentary from
Scott, deleted scenes including the original opening of the film and
the fabled “faerie dance” (alas reproduced only with storyboards and
photos, although the original audio is heard) sequence, storyboards,
photo galleries and continuity polaroids, Tangerine Dream’s score
isolated and a DVD-ROM feature that allows you to compare the original
script to the completed film, and you’ve got an already generous
package. But Universal also throws in the U.S. cut of the film (albeit
in a somewhat lesser transfer) and an exhaustive full-length
documentary on the picture that should make LEGEND junkies very happy.
The documentary features just about every major player involved in the
making of the film, even a brief appearance by Sheinberg himself (who
was also involved in a conflict with Terry Gilliam over BRAZIL around
the same time LEGEND was released). Alice Playten, who plays the goblin
Blix, discusses her initial suggestion to make the creature look like
Keith Richards (a suggestion approved by Scott and makeup man Rob
Bottin), Scott talks about one of the early screenings in which he
states that a few pot-smoking audience members giggling at the action
onscreen caused him to second-guess his cut of the film, as well as
admitting that the movie’s budget was too low and that the film’s lack
of large-scale action hurt its chances at the box office.
Notable by their absence are Tom Cruise (who had one of his only box
office bombs with this movie) and Jerry Goldsmith, who has publicly
aired his grudge against Ridley Scott for dumping what he believed at
the time was his best film score. It falls to actor Robert Picardo
(interviewed on one of the standing sets of STAR TREK: VOYAGER) to sing
the praises of Goldsmith’s score as well as Scott, who points it out as
much as possible in his commentary.
If you haven’t seen LEGEND or disliked it when you did, it’s
questionable whether the new DVD is going to turn you around. The
poetry of William Hjortsberg’s screenplay is sometimes haunting, more
often thuddingly juvenile. And sometimes the universality of the
story’s fairy tale themes impinges on other genres: when Tim Curry’s
awe-inspiring Darkness character intones, “I feel a presence in the
forest… a force I had almost forgotten exists…” it sounds like he’s
channeling Darth Vader. Cruise gives his all and you have to admire the
trust he put in Scott, but with his teased-out hair and Jolly Green
Giant uniform (later on he puts on a suit of armor that looks like a
gold lamé miniskirt), the box office superstar has never looked more
feminine. And the antics from Playten, Billy Barty and other actors
playing goblins and trolls comes off as second rate Sid and Marty
Nevertheless, the film has its assets. Mia Sara (all of fifteen years
old when she played the role) makes a convincing turn from an innocent
forest princess to a black-lipsticked tramp under Darkness’ influence.
Child actor David Bennent of THE TIN DRUM makes a mesmerizing elf,
someone who might have stepped out of a Maxfield Parrish painting.
Picardo gives a deliciously droll, terrifying performance as Meg
Mucklebones, a disgusting, man-eating swamp witch. And best of all is
Tim Curry’s overpowering turn as Darkness, a ten-foot tall, demonic
satyr in one of the greatest latex makeup get-ups ever put on the
screen. When Curry enters the fray midway through the movie LEGEND
comes to hair-raising life; on the big screen the presence of this
villain could almost drive you under your seat.
Goldsmith’s score is a major asset, painting Scott’s gorgeous forest
compositions in a wash of beautiful impressionism and bringing an
operatic flourish that the film’s physical set pieces desperately
needed (by comparison, the Tangerine Dream score offsets the movie’s
treacley sweetness but leaves it feeling flat and unfinished). LEGEND
never hits the bullseye of narrative that made LORD OF THE RINGS work,
but it still stands well apart from other would-be fantasy epics of the
period like KRULL—at least LEGEND tried to do something different
instead of redoing STAR WARS without the spaceships.
- The following review can be found at http://www.daily-reviews.com/l/bmlegend.htm :
Director's Cut: 5.0 stars out of 5.0 stars / Theatrical Cut: 4.0 stars out of 5.0 stars
Reviewed by Brian Matherly
Cast: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten,
Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle
Lanyon, Robert Picardo, Tina Martin, Liz Gilbert
Written by: William Hjortsberg
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Running Time (Director's Cut): 114 minutes
Running Time (Theatrical Cut): 89 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
In the depths of a wondrous fairy tale forest, the evil entity known as
Darkness (Tim Curry, in some of the most spectacular make-up ever seen
in the history of film) has hatched a plot to steal light from the
world and pitch it into eternal night. His plot involves two unicorns
who hold the source of light and goodness in their horns, but he isn’t
powerful enough to gain the objects of desire on his own. Instead, he
relies on the power of innocence, in the form of lovers Lily and Jack
(Mia Sara and Tom Cruise), in order to trap and remove the horns from
the mythical beasts. When one of the unicorn’s horns is finally removed
and the other is captured (along with Lily), the world becomes a bleak
winter wasteland that consumes all but a few of the forest’s many
residents. In the midst of this dramatic climate shift, Jack realizes
that it is up to him (and a few of the local forest fairies) to
penetrate Darkness’ lair, rescue his love, and restore order to the
Released in 1985 to poor box office and even poorer reviews, Ridley
Scott’s fairy tale masterpiece Legend is a film that has become
legendary more for the history behind its release than it has for the
film itself. One of three major sci-fi/fantasy projects released by
Universal in the mid-eighties that was drastically altered before
hitting theaters (the other two being Terry Gilliam’s brilliant Brazil
and David Lynch’s mind-numbing Dune), Legend's story is one that not
only echoes familiarity with the other two films involved, but also
gives us a twist that involves director Scott severely second guessing
the audience that eventually went to see his film.
As Scott himself has explained many times, his original idea for Legend
was to re-introduce the fairy tale back into the film world and he
thought he had found the perfect story in his collaboration with writer
William Hjortsberg. Mounting an epic story with some amazingly
elaborate sets and the most brilliant make-up effects available, Scott
shot a wonderful film that most filmmakers probably would have lost
control of within weeks of beginning principle photography. Even in the
face of a fire that destroyed his immense set, Scott carried on and
completed what he hoped would resurrect the dying genre. During test
screenings, though, the director was devastated when he heard some of
the more jaded members of the audience (whom he claims were also
probably high) snickering at some of the more fantastical elements of
his movie. Reacting negatively to the audience response, Scott hacked
out almost ten minutes of his film in an effort to appease a select few
who had no desire to employ a little thought while watching the film.
On the heels of this, Universal’s most notorious editor, studio head
Sid Sheinberg, decided that the director’s edit was not good enough, so
he had another twenty minutes removed and a prologue added that “dumbed
down” the film’s story by explaining the entire plot within the first
five minutes. There were also some dialogue changes made that confused
the relationship between the main characters and a few edits that
manipulated some of the film’s initial surprises. Not content to just
alter the film’s narrative, though, Sheinberg also stated that Jerry
Goldsmith’s fantastic score was not “hip” enough for the film’s target
audience and had it completely removed (replaced by a more “modern”
score by the band Tangerine Dream). For good measure, he also loaded
the soundtrack with two pop songs performed by Yes' Jon Anderson and
solo artist Bryan Ferry. Although the result was still a visually
resplendent and entertaining film, it became obvious to the film’s ever
growing fan base that there was something missing in the version that
finally reached US theaters. When a European cut surfaced several years
later that contained most of the altered and cut material restored,
that fan base went crazy to try and find this more complete version.
For a full listing of the alterations made between the American and
European versions of the film, check out the Ultimate Legend FAQ
(especially the section featuring the exhaustive Video Watchdog article
written by Sean Murphy, which has been reprinted in its entirety with
permission from Murphy and Video Watchdog).
Though I had seen bits and pieces of the original theatrical version of
Legend over the last few years, I had never fully committed to sitting
down and watching it in its entirety until I sat down for this review.
I’m kicking myself for this now, though, as I found Ridley Scott’s
tribute to the old time fairy tales to be absolutely amazing and a film
that was way ahead of its time. Not only is the story absolutely
involving (despite its fairy tale familiarity and chopping at the hands
of studio editors), but the visuals are beyond stunning and impress far
more than the rampant CGI that has flooded the film world in recent
years. Scott went out of his way to have the production designer on his
film create one of the most life-like forests ever made inside a
soundstage and even had it populated with real animals. The sheer
dedication that Scott and his crew piped into this film to create
complete realism make it a truly impressive cinematic experience.
Also impressive are the make-up effects used in the film. I can
guarantee that there are few creatures in the history of cinema that
will impress quite as much as Darkness or the hag Meg Mucklebones
(played by holographic "Star Trek: Voyager" doctor Robert Picardo).
Created by the expert hand of Rob Bottin, the authentic look of the
make-up is what really builds the world of this film and allows the
audience to become fully immersed in it.
If the theatrical cut of Legend was a work of art, though, the
director’s cut is certainly a masterpiece. Scott had always intended
for his story to stand on its own and play out with little of the
narrative pushes that many filmmakers employ to help out less
thought-driven members of the audience, so this director’s cut restores
his original intent. Gone is the written prologue that proceeds the
film, as well as the odd allusions that Lily MIGHT be of royal birth
(the director’s cut plainly states she is a princess). Also altered in
this cut is the removal of a scene that suggests Jack and Lily have a
carnal relationship. This deleted element not only strengthens both of
the characters’ personalities, but it also makes more sense when we see
Jack rebuke Lily moments later in the film.
Besides the restructuring and removal of certain scenes, the director’s
cut also restores almost twenty minutes of film. These scenes include
moments where we see Lily singing beautiful songs as she wanders
through the woods in search of Jack (songs which become important later
when they ironically ensnare the unicorn and rescue Jack at different
moments in the film). There is also an extension of the Meg Mucklebones
scene, which allows Jack the growth into the champion that he is
supposed to be by the time he has to face Darkness. Where the
theatrical cut’s edits tried to make the story more obvious, these new
alterations allow the story to build entirely on its own.
It has taken more than fifteen years, but fans of Legend can now
rejoice. Though it was pushed back multiple times, Universal’s Legend:
Ultimate Edition DVD has finally seen the light of day and it is
everything that the fans have been waiting for. Filling two discs, this
set not only includes both the director’s cut of the film and the
original theatrical version, but also a bevy of extra features that
help enrich one’s appreciation for Scott’s incredible work.
Disc one features the director’s cut of the film, presented in its
original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and anamorphically enhanced. For a
completely re-edited film, the presentation is flawless and makes one
truly appreciative of what the DVD format has brought us in just a few
short years. This version of the film also finally restores Jerry
Goldsmith’s flawless score, which fits the fantastical nature of the
film far better than Tangerine Dream’s score did. Though both scores
certainly have their own distinct musical merits, it is painfully
obvious which score worked better for the film. Also on this disc is a
highly enlightening commentary track by Scott, who not only discusses
the studio’s editing of the film with candor, but also the decisions he
made on his own affecting its outcome. Though he tends to slow a bit
during the end, the track is one of the most informative I have heard
for a DVD release in a while and it completely brought back the rush of
what a commentary track used to mean.
Disc two contains the theatrical cut, with the same 2.35:1 anamorphic
transfer and clarity seen in the director’s cut, making this the
absolute best way to own Legend in any form. The bulk of the extras
also appear on this disc, as well. First up is the complete Tangerine
Dream score isolated on its own separate track. Although I prefer the
Goldsmith score, having access to the alternate score separate from the
dialogue and effects track is still an invaluable resource. This disc
also contains the complete never-before-seen "Four Goblins" opening
sequence, which had been rumored to have been filmed, but no evidence
of such had seen the light of day (until this disc, of course). Another
lost scene, "The Fairie Dance", has also been included, but is simply
recreated (due to lost film elements) from the original audio and still
photos taken on the set at the time the scene was filmed.
Following the lost scenes are three storyboard sequences (for "Lily and
the Unicorns", "Jack’s Challenge", and "Downfall of Darkness"), three
photo galleries (publicity photos, Images of Legend, and continuity
Polaroids), an international and US theatrical trailer (which are the
same, save for different credits for the disparate scores used for both
films), four TV spots, and an incredibly cheesy video for Bryan Ferry’s
Is Your Love Strong Enough?. The standard production notes (which
moderately recount the tale of the fire that destroyed the sets) and
cast and crew bios round out the text features, while a DVD-ROM portion
features the original screenplay.
The best feature on disc two, though, is the fifty-two minute
documentary Creating a Myth: The Making of Legend. Featuring all of the
major cast and crew (except for Tom Cruise), this extensive documentary
covers just about every aspect behind the making of the film and its
subsequent editing and release. All of the participants are incredibly
candid about their feelings for the film and its treatment and it is
truly amazing to see how much this film affected all involved. We also
learn a great deal about Ridley Scott’s bizarre method of selecting a
project, complete with all the profanity and discarded story ideas that
seem to come with working on a Scott film. It's an enlightening
documentary and makes this disc a complete experience for the Legend
The wait is over, Legend fans! The true vision of Ridley Scott’s epic
fairy tale has finally hit home video and in an edition that befits the
film that contains it. Its a two-disc set that is well worth the
purchase and one that can’t come recommended any higher.
* Overall Quality: A+
* Extras: A+
* Director's and Theatrical Cut
* Director's Commentary
* Isolated Score Track
* Deleted Scenes
* Music Video
* Still Galleries
* Trailers and TV Spots
* Production Notes
* Cast and Crew Info
* Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
* English 5.1 DTS
* English 5.1 Digital
* English 2.0 Surround
* English, French and Spanish Subtitles
- Thanks to Matthew Wright for bringing this review from http://www.thebigpicturedvd.com/cgi-bin/master/viewer.cgi/Legend to my attention :
Reviewed by: Jeff McNeal
Review Date: May 16th, 2002
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1
Screen Format: Anamorphic - Enhanced for 16x9 viewing
Sound: Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 Surround
Running Time: 114 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent
Co-Starring: Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork
Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle
Lanyon, Robert Picardo, Tina Martin, Ian Longmur, Mike Crane,
Directed By: Ridley Scott
When you stop to consider the critcal flop that LEGEND started out as
when originally screened, the release of this deluxe, two-disc set from
Universal might come as a surprise to anyone who hasn't seen and been
drawn in by the artful spectacle of Ridley Scott's unsually ethereal
Like the very title of the film itself, LEGEND has grown in myth and proportion since its original theatrical release.
Desperate to "find an audience" the director was driven to the barbaric
act of self-mutilation (in a manner of speaking) not only trimming over
20 minutes off the orginal 1:54 running time, but also scrapping Jerry
Goldsmith's score in exchange for a new version featuring Tangerine
Dream for U.S. audiences, which is of course what most U.S. filmgoers
originally saw. Even with the changes, the film starring Tom Cruise,
Mia Sara (who seems to have dropped off the face of the earth), and Tim
Curry in a deliciously wicked role as "Darkness" never really generated
much heat at the box office. But then a funny thing happened... LEGEND
became a cult hit with a loyal legion of fans who for years, hotly
debated which version was "better" and later, which version should
appear on DVD.
Please don't ask me why it took so long for Universal to release this
epic tale of good vs. evil. I reckon it has to do with legal and/or
restoration issues. The good news is that if you're a die-hard fan of
LEGEND, you will find much to rejoice about with this two-disc
"Ultimate Edition" set. It's all here. Everything you could ask for.
One disc features the original U.S. theatrical release with the
Tangerine Dream soundtrack, but the real treat as far as I'm concerned,
is the other disc containing a "new" director's cut, adding over 20
minutes of never-before-seen footage and restoring the Goldsmith score.
Only the Director's Cut contains both DD and DTS 5.1 audio tracks. The
bastardized U.S. version has to "settle" for DD 2.0 surround, but that
should still satisfy most fans as that was probably the original
theatrical mix (I'm not certain about that, mind you).
To be candid, I never had any desire to view this film, somewhat amused
by all the hype and bickering from the "believers". After having
recently viewed the Director's Cut (the basis for this review) I don't
think I'm going out on any limbs to suggest that this film does NOT
contain one of Tom Cruise's better performances. However, it is an
extraordinarily appealing film visually.
Tim Curry is terrific and completely unrecognizable as the
obscenely-huge-bull-horned, demonic Lord of Darkness, except for his
voice, which wasn't processed enough to render it indistinguishable.
My favorite character, oddly enough, turned out to be Gump, the little
bow-weilding forest nymph or whatever the hell he is. I had to do a
double take, because the actor who incorporates dramatic,
Rumplestiltskin-like theatrics in one of his better scenes, bears an
amazingly close resemblance to Frankie Muniz (MY DOG SKIP). So striking
their facial features in fact, it's even a little bit creepy. Picture
Frankie Muniz with Elizabeth Taylor's teeth, and you've got Gump.
The direction is excellent with hypnotic set design and cinematography.
One thing for certain. The forest-like world inhabited by the goblins,
fairies, unicorns, birds, etc., would be an allergy-sufferer's
unrelenting nightmare. There's all sorts of crap floating around in the
air at all times it seems like, including birds which some stage hand
is tossing into the frame with an almost comical frequency.
My guess is that Darkness didn't hate the sun so much as he detested
pollen and bird poop. Just kidding, you LEGEND zealots! (and you know
who you are...) The real news is that the transfer is stunningly good,
with rich, vivid colors and exceptional clarity. I only managed to
watch the director's cut (and did so twice), but I would expect the
U.S. theatrical version to look every bit as good. At least, there's no
reason it shouldn't.
This film enjoys the dubious distinction of being the only movie I've
screened recently that both my 17-year-old son and my 13-year-old
daughter could find common ground with. And for the parent of teens
continually struggling to coax good relationships between bickering
siblings, that's a very good thing.
There's something in LEGEND for both sexes, but as for my better half,
she found the story excruciatingly slow, even though it only clocks in
at an hour and fifty four minutes. Maybe I should have screened the
nintey-minute U.S. version for my wife, instead... Sorry, Ridley.
Whether or not you sit in rapt amazement and find yourself becoming
immersed in a different world while watching this, you will no doubt
appreciate the wide assortement of extra content and features contained
this is two disc set. While the packaging may leave some as cold as a
unicorn without its horn, others won't give a flip, thanks to what's
inside it. Check the features listing below to give you an idea what to
expect. If you've never seen LEGEND before, you're in for a treat. If
you have seen LEGEND before, you're in for an even bigger one.
A beautiful princess (Mia Sara) is in love with a mystical forest
dweller (Tom Cruise) and inadvertently upsets the delicate balance of
power reaching out to commune with a wild unicorn. The unicorns are so
pure and happy and positive, it seems that nobody is ever supposed to
try to actually touch one. ...Fussy, these unicorns.
Unbeknownst to the poor princess, she has made it easy for a Goblin to
shoot a poisoned arrow into the beast and subsequently hack off its
horn, which contains an immeasureable amount of power. Power desired by
a gigantic, horned devil of a man-creature who dwells beneath the
surface of the earth. Darkness (Tim Curry) bellows in the beginning of
the film that "The sun is my destroyer!!" and he wants the pair of
unicorns destroyed, since doing so will plunge the world into a
permanent ice-age. Without the unicorns romping footloose and
fancy-free in the woods, the sun will not rise again. At least, that's
the working theory.
By killing the unicorn, the world is instantly plunged into darkness
and cold, but there's more work left to be done. One unicorn remains,
and it is up to the princess and her mysterious forest boy to save the
remaining unicorn. When the mare is captured despite all the forest
denizen's best efforts, the princess tries to undue the terrible wrong
that she has wrought with her foolish tampering.
But the princess is captured by Darkness, who'd very much like to get
jiggy with the frightened, unwilling lass. If you saw the size of
Darkness' massive horns, you'd be plenty frightened too, lady. "Horny"
doesn't even begin to describe the dynamic at play here.
It's up to the man she loves to rescue the princess from being gored
(in the biblical sense, anyway) and the last remaining unicorn from
being turned into Centaur-kibble. After all, without the sun, it's way
too cold outside! But defeating the devil man won't be easy and our
protagonist is going to need a lot more than a vial of holy water and a
set of rosary beads. Some lightness needs to shine on the darkness
before the sun can come shining through and a little order can be
restored to the forest.
Universal has taken their time and done things right with an absolutely
gorgeous DVD transfer that captures the smallest detail and sparkles
with clarity and vibrant colors. The contrast balance is terrific, the
black level excellent and there were no blemishes in the print that I
could detect. But who can really tell with all those damned feathers
floating around in the forest?
Seriously, a great effort by Universal to reward their loyal fans of this richly textured fantasy film.
Whether you like the edgy techno-pop of Tangerine Dream or prefer the
original, dulcet orchestral tones of Jerry Goldsmith's score, you'll
find what you want on one disc or the other.
We went with the original score, which is available on DTS as well, but
we opted for the standard that most will be judging by, the Dolby
Digital 5.1 mix. This is an excellent, all-encompassing mix that adds
greatly to the mystical undertones that permeat this strange fantasy
Channel separation is very good, as is the dynamic range. We could find
little to fault as even the dialogue is easy to understand at all
times, which is really saying something with all the heavy processing
going on and Billy Barty in the cast! One of these days, we'll get
around to taking in the U.S. version, but it probably won't be anytime
soon. Our respectful apologies in advance to the Tangerine Dream fans
among our readers.
Scene acess to 18 chapter breaks
Commentary by Ridley Scott
Subitles in English, Spanish and French
Director's cut on disc one, the restored version with Jerry Goldsmith's score
Original U.S. theatrical version with Tangerine Dream score
Creating a Myth: The Making of Legend
The Fairy Dance, music and storyboards depicting the lost scene
Isolated music score by Tangerine Dream
Music video - "Is Your Love Strong Enough" by Bryan Ferry
2 threatrical trailers
4 TV spots
Cast and filmmaker bios
- Thanks to Matthew Wright for bringing this review from http://www.chud.com/chudvd/reviews/legend.php3 to my attention :
LEGEND (ULTIMATE EDITION) - 7.1
By Nick Nunziata
MSRP:$24.99 RATED: PG
RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes
• Commentary by Ridley Scott
• Director's cut, restored version with Jerry Goldsmith's score
• Original U.S. theatrical version with Tangerine Dream score
• Creating a Myth: The Making of Legend
• The Fairy Dance, music and storyboards depicting the lost scene
• Original screenplay
• Isolated music score by Tangerine Dream
• Music video - "Is Your Love Strong Enough" by Bryan Ferry
A proper version... Hell, ANY VERSION of Ridley Scott's Legend has been
one of this merry format's biggest M.I.A. titles. Announced, then
cancelled, re-announced and then bumped back... the Tom Cruise
fantasy/fairy tale has finally arrived in one of Universal's snazzy
"Ultimate Edition" packages.
I remember being colossally jazzed about this film when it first hit
theaters and then being almost as colossally disappointed with the end
result. However, the more fan clamoring for this DVD I hear the more
excited I got about the release I got.
Was I right the first time, or is Legend a forgotten classic? You see,
Scott has included TWO versions of the film. Let's see...
The name Ridley Scott on a film instantly makes it something to look
for. Even his misfires are interesting and gorgeous to look at. In
fact, his White Squall is a film I hope someday emerges to people as a
really solid little sleeper. Regardless, a resume including Blade
Runner, Alien, Gladiator, and Thelma and Louise to only name a few, is
In the 80's Ridley took what was at the time a hefty budget, who at the
time was a virtual unknown, and what was at the time a dead end genre
and weaved his wizardry on it. He told a tale of imps and unicorns,
demons and fairies, and did it all around the concept of love.
Today, a film like that would probably find its market without a hitch.
Back them, it was tantamount to cinematic suicide.
The foul being known as Darkness (Tim Curry, under more makeup than the
wives of any four televangelists) craves a horn. Not just any horn, but
the horn of a pure unicorn. With such a tool he could banish the light
forever and bring about a new dawn of darkness (not unlike if Coca-Cola
absorbed a few more big companies).
When pithy humans (Mia Sara and then unknown Tom Cruise) accidentally
allow such a horn theft to occur, the magic of the forest is disrupted
and Hell literally breaks loose.
What follows is fairy tale complete with point eared elfin kids, pig
faced halflings, and an armor laden Cruise trying to make things right
with his sword.
I think the concept works better than the execution.
Scott chose to create an amazing forest environment mostly within the
confines of a studio and the result is astonishing in way of set design
and craftsmanship... but the film feels very synthetic.
It's as pretty as a fairy tale, but it really lacks warmth. Instead of
the warmth and wide eyed wonder prevalent in most fairy tales, it's
cold and barren. Stiff, even.
None of Tom Cruise's patented charm is evident in his role as the feral
jungle protector Jack. Mia Sara's vacant stare isn't enough to tide us
over until the later scenes where she's a sexy leather-clad seductress.
The assortment of "little people" under heavy make-up (by Rob Bottin!)
don't help, because while the work isn't bad, it wiggles too much and
took me right out of the picture. Nothing like gones with wobbly noses!
If this was a collection of still images, it would have worked better...
Except for Darkness.
There has never been a cooler, more devilish looking villain ever. Even
with CGI being as flexible as it is, I'll still take this fella over
Tim Curry (complete with a voice effect not unlike Hellraiser's
Pinhead), laden with more rubber and plastic than the Dallas Cowboys
cheerleaders delivers a really solid performance even though there's
not an inch of the actor visible. While the creation suffers during the
action sequences (wobbly horns, and the fact Curry isn't the most
impressive athlete even when NOT covered in tons of prosthetics), it
remains the most identifiable aspect of the film.
There's nothing like a muscular, cloven hoofed, 12 foot tall red being
with horns that seem long enough to make John Holmes (rest his soul)
Before Michael Bay and his ilk infiltrated Hollywood, there was Ridley
Scott. While he unloaded his share of classics, sometimes he was a
victim of the "style over substance" school of directing and nowhere is
that more evident than in Legend.
A pretty, but hollow fairy tale of a movie with a few phenomenal bits
of invention that still remain cool almost two decades later.
6.0 out of 10
As I said above, there are TWO versions of the film in this DVD
package. I'll go into differences in a few, but since the director's
114 minute cut is on the main disc while the 90 minute cut is lumped
with the special features you'll get a clue.
The longer version is superior in every way as far as presentation
goes. That's a change of pace, because usually the director's cuts
feature rough footage.
Not the case this time, as the longer version is crystal clear and
sharp as a busload of TAG students and while it's a film that doesn't
feature much light in it (the whole second half is pretty much plunged
in darkness), the transfer isn't murky or hard to discern.
Very nice. The 90 minute cut is decent, but not what you'd show to a roomful of guests in the home theater.
8.5 out of 10
Once again, the long cut gets a sexy bit of DTS and 5.1 while the lesser cut is given a humdrum 2.0 track.
To be honest, whether you dig the Goldsmith score or the Tangerine
Dream one... it's not as bombastic or rich as you'd expect.
A film as striking visually as this... really a music video as far as
how its look goes, you'd expect a similar sonic assault.
Nope. Decent, but unremarkable.
6.5 out of 10
This thing's not called an ULTIMATE EDITION for its health.
First, factor in the short (but still slow moving) 90 minute cut and
the presence of the better (the new scenes don't add much but help give
the film a little muscle, and the restored Jerry Goldsmith score
OBLITERATES the dated one from Tangerine Dream) cut in addition is
But there's so much more.
Ridley Scott has provided a scene specific commentary track (with
chapter stops, a trend that's really coming into its own) and while
he's always a great host... you kind of get the vibe that the film was
more like a thing he had to get out of his system rather than a labor
Of course, he's on top of the world now and looking back probably seems
like looking at missed opportunities and whatnot. Regardless, it's a
good track and all directors who think they're above commentary tracks
ought to see Ridley's dedication.
Good stuff, and he also covers the divergence in cuts really well.
There's a nice long documentary on the film which covers the whole
shebang (including the fire that destroyed their sets), and features
everyone but Tom Cruise (but Billy Barty was there!). Solid stuff, and
there's literally HOURS more.
Alternate opening (decent), lost scenes, storyboards, pictures, and on and on and on.
LOADED. If you even KIND OF like this film, this disc is must buy
stuff. The special features bring this review up a full point on their
10.0 out of 10
Good stuff, even though the "Ultimate" packaging doesn't snap close or
have a fastener to keep the front flap from staying open unless it's
filed in a collection. And as much as I like the clear packaging, it
detracts a little for this film.
Still the cover of the film's villain holding the crystall ball with the lovers image encased is truly top notch.
It could have been perfect, but as it stands it's a...
8.5 out of 10
THE FLICK: 6.0
THE LOOK: 8.5
THE NOISE: 6.5
THE GOODIES: 10.0
THE ARTWORK: 8.50
May 16th, 2002
- For a list of LEGEND reviews and links, check out http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/Legend-1012164/.
- The following review can be found at http://filmfreakcentral.net/dvdreviews/legend.htm
2002 CUT: ***1/2 (out of four)
1986 CUT: ** (out of four)
starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent
screenplay by William Hjortsberg
directed by Ridley Scott
"Tom Cruise stars in this visually stunning fantasy adventure in which
pure good and evil battle to the death amidst spectacular surroundings.
Set in a timeless mythical forest inhabited by fairies, goblins,
unicorns and mortals, this fantastic story has Tom Cruise, a mystical
forest dweller, chosen by fate to undertake a heroic quest. He must
save a beautiful princess, Mia Sara, and defeat the demonic Lord of
Darkness, Tim Curry, or the world will be plunged into a never-ending
ice age. Co-starring Billy Barty and Alice Playten and directed by
Ridley Scott, famed for his remarkable settings and unparalleled
imagery, the incredibly realized fable is the stuff movie legends are
-Legend DVD jacket synopsis
The American theatrical release of Legend is more impressionistic than
the Director's Cut of the film that accompanies it on DVD--because it's
the hollowed-out carcass of a complete cinematic experience. It's this
gorgeous, dainty thing that hints at something beyond the horizon,
lacking not colour but texture, which is in abundance in Scott's latest
rendition of the picture. As a child, I watched Legend over and over
again, never liking it yet always dazzled by it, hoping, perhaps, that
repeat viewings would help me to see what isn't there; there is fire
and ice but no warmth and no chill in the U.S. Legend. (I imagine the
European cut is little different at five minutes more.) Ridley Scott's
exclusive-to-DVD re-edit of Legend contains approximately
twenty-minutes of heretofore-unseen footage and Jerry Goldsmith's regal
original score, and with no pun intended, it's a fantastic film.
As with the "Director's Cut" of Blade Runner (recently acknowledged as
sloughed-off by Scott, who is preparing a definitive edit of Blade
Runner), (henceforth) 'Legend 2002' is not just longer--deletions have
been made, shots reshuffled, and exposition removed in an effort to
sophisticate the piece on top of fleshing it out. Tim Curry's Darkness,
for example, delivers his opening soliloquy off-screen, that great
English basso sounding profoundly lonely as it bounces off the empty
walls of his misty castle, which has but one window, mushroom in shape,
that looks out into the stars. Darkness makes his first corporeal
appearance at the 75-minute mark in Legend 2002, while his face is
among the North American Legend's early sights; a Freddy Krueger
figure, in other words, has transmogrified into a Jaws one, adding a
rich layer of suspense to a film that lacked the thrill of, to borrow
from another famous Curry grotesque, "anticipation."
Having read Paul M. Sammon's skimpy, if worthwhile Ridley Scott: Close
Up, I was familiar with Scott and screenwriter William Hjortsberg's
intent for Lili, the Princess character (a "Lady" in the American
version), to be manipulative. "Basically, she was a brat," Scott told
Sammon. But she was toned down in the editing room until she became, in
Scott's words, "innocence personified;" the restoration of Lili's
personality places Legend 2002 in an emotional context removed from
that of its forebear: we see her as more susceptible the forces of
Darkness, while Jack's (Tom Cruise) desire to be with Lili now has a
pathetic--as opposed to fatalistic--quality. (Moreover, the
reinstatement of Lili scolding Jack in return for lecturing her against
interacting with the unicorns strengthens Legend's theme of redemption.)
The film is not suddenly a masterpiece except in comparison. The
build-up to the ice age caused by a unicorn's castration, so to speak,
suffers from a rather awkward transition in which Lili frolics with the
edgy unicorns to Lili and Jack talking marriage in a tree--one wishes
that these three turning points were better consolidated. Legend's
middle still lacks punctuation in Legend 2002, although the supporting
cast and even Cruise--less a cipher than single-minded here--are
indelible in a way they weren't before. And the core idea remains
simplistic; Legend seems to exist to show up previous attempts in the
sword-and-sorcery genre, Hjortsberg's thin (but evocative) screenplay
barely supporting the production's juggernaut credentials, i.e. Cruise,
cinematographer Alex Thomson, the ingenious make-up designer Rob
My final note is a positive one. Legend 2002's closer cleverly
addresses the fate of Darkness and his "balance" prophecy instead of
going for shorthand: the American film murders its happily-ever-after
denouement with a cheesy, very '80s dissolve to Darkness chortling.
Legend 2002 disposes of this gimmick and then some, leaving any kind of
consummation for Jack and Lili to another day. With an impetuous Lili
fleeing Jack, promising to visit tomorrow, the beautiful symmetry of
the revised conclusion renders implicit the survival of Darkness--and
cements Legend's boldly subtle new spirit.
Universal's "Ultimate Edition" DVD of Legend is a 2-disc set that
includes the 114-minute Legend 2002 on the first platter and the
89-minute American Legend along with supplementary material on the
second. Legend 2002 distinguishes itself on a technical level with the
cleaner, crisper, deeper 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer of the
two. The otherworldly quality to the mind-boggling visuals aside, it
looks like a recent film--sounds it, too, in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1
options that immerse you in bucolic exteriors and hellish interiors of
constant ambience. Bass, however, is on the weak side, at times
punchier on Disc 2's Dolby Surround track, but the bleariness of the
domestic Legend's image speaks to a concentration of efforts on Legend
Ridley Scott contributes an eager full-length commentary to his
Director's Cut. Indexed by chapter headings separate from those found
in the scene selection sub-menus, Scott incautiously remembers that
David Bennent's vocals were re-dubbed by the New York-born Playten
because a studio stooge said he "sounds like a goddamn Nazi;" that a
10-year-old doubled for a peak-diving Cruise; that the film's
convincing fairy F/X were accomplished with a fishing line and a light
bulb; and so on. The pooped Ridley of the Hannibal DVD has returned to
the form of his first and best yak-track, Alien. Moving on, we have
J.M. Kenny's sensational "Creating a Myth... The Memories of Legend"
(51 mins.), wherein the major players, save conspicuous absentees
Cruise (who's not so much as mentioned) and Goldsmith, recount the
inferno-plagued shoot. The celestial Mia Sara, fifteen during filming,
admits that she was love-struck by Scott's directorial confidence and
felt devastated when she discovered that he had butchered Legend.
(Contrary to popular opinion, Scott says that a ruinous
test-screening--and not Sid Sheinberg, the man responsible for the
"Love Conquers All" retooling of Brazil--persuaded him to get the
"Lost Scenes" is comprised of an alternate opening that was missing
until March of last year (it drags) and a reconstruction of the
gone-forever "Faerie Dance" through production art. Storyboards for
three sequences and three galleries of stills (one of which is devoted
to continuity Polaroids!) are prefaced by thorough explanations of what
you're about to browse. Legend's international and U.S. trailers, four
Legend TV spots (with play-all function), cast and filmmaker
biographies (Hjortsberg, entertaining in said doc, is denied his),
production notes, a useless page of "Recommendations" and a page for
the "DVD Newsletter," Bryan Ferry's video for the nostalgia-inspiring
"Is Your Love Strong Enough" (a song nowhere to be found in Legend
2002), Tangerine Dream's score on an isolated audio stream backing the
U.S. Legend (alas, Goldsmith's superior compositions didn't receive the
same treatment on Disc 1), a DVD-ROM script-to-screen interface (with a
link to Hjortsberg's poetic initial draft), and a handsome foldout
booklet round out this choice package.-Bill Chambers
Image A (NEW CUT)
B- (OLD CUT)
2.35:1 ONLY, 16x9-enhanced
English DD 5.1,
English DTS 5.1,
English Dolby Surround
English, French, Spanish
Published: May 15, 2002"
- The following review can be found at http://www.joblo.com/dvd/legend.htm :
"LEGEND (Ultimate Edition)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Princesses and goblins, demons and unicorns, elves, faeries and trolls.
A drop-dead gorgeous storybook setting is cast into a wintry darkness
when the minions of evil attack two magical unicorns. Jack (Cruise)
must set out on a perilous adventure (with an eccentric crew of
sidekicks in tow) to rescue his beloved Lily (Sara) from Darkness while
also saving the world from eternal night.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Whether or not you consider LEGEND a “good movie”, there’s simply no
denying that it’s one of the most beautiful-looking films ever
produced. For those who have a soft spot for mythical adventure tales
will enjoy Legend enough to overlook a handful of flaws, and despite a
few stumbles in dramatic narrative, this movie is more than
entertaining enough to earn a look. Long before he was known as the
workaholic director behind movies like BLACK HAWK DOWN, HANNIBAL and
GLADIATOR, Ridley Scott was just another young director who had cut his
teeth on TV commercials…oh, and the two sci-fi classics ALIEN and BLADE
RUNNER. Watching Legend makes it obvious that Scott was shooting for
something a bit more fanciful for his next project. Unless I haven’t
made it clear yet, this movie is like a painting come to life. The
early scenes in a lush, overgrowing forest are absolutely stunning, and
when the action goes underground to visit the subterranean lair of
Darkness incarnate, the film comes close to resembling a dank, sweaty
nightmare. How this film didn’t win Oscars for production design and
makeup is simply staggering.
Tom Cruise plays the feral Jack, and although it’s hardly the actor’s
finest performance, he acquits himself fairly well in a rather
underwritten role. Mia Sara fares a bit better as the lovely Princess
Lily, particularly later on when she flirts with the “dark side”, and
Alice Playten is deliciously evil as the vile goblin Blix. But when
movie fans talk about the actors in LEGEND, most of their enthusiasm is
directed towards character actor extraordinaire Tim Curry. The
transvestite from ROCKY HORROR, the butler from CLUE, and the one of
the coolest villains ever conceived in this film. Covered from head to
toe in stunning makeup and prosthetics, Curry’s performance could
easily have been nothing more than a glitzy parlor trick, but the
actor’s voice ALONE makes Darkness the epitome of all things
horrifying…let alone his amazingly demonic appearance.
The American version was released in 1985 with a running time of 89
minutes and a somewhat incongruous musical score by synth band
Tangerine Dream. I’ve always been a big fan of this version, despite
the film’s spotty pacing and relatively muddled sense of storytelling,
but this new Director’s Cut goes a long way towards making LEGEND a
damn fine movie after all. Characters are a bit more fleshed out, the
original Jerry Goldsmith score has been reinstated (as well as some
beguiling songs by the lovely Lily), and few extended scenes help fill
the movie out to a more satisfying experience.
VIDEO / AUDIO
Both versions of the film are presented in a lush 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Widescreen aspect ratio. For a movie this visually stunning, only
Widescreen will do! Sound options include Dolby Digital (5.1 Surround
and 2.0 Surround) and DTS 5.1 Surround. There are optional
English captions and French subtitles included.
When I say “It’s about time!!" to Universal Home Video, I do so with a
grateful heart. This DVD has been delayed more times than your average
Thanksgiving Day airline flight, but it was surely worth the wait. Fans
of this movie simply MUST own this set, and the impressive array of
features will surely entice some new ones as well. Let’s break it down
by disc! (Oh, I didn’t mention this is a 2-disc set?)
Disc 1 contains the Director’s Cut of Legend, which runs over 20
minutes longer than the original US version. On this disc you’ll also
find a full-length audio commentary from director Ridley Scott. Legend
is a film that’s had a lot of controversies surrounding it throughout
its life, and Scott touches on just about all of them. As is the case
in other Scott commentaries, the filmmaker can get a bit specific on
minute details, but overall this track is a treasure trove of
Disc 2 houses the original U.S. version of Legend (Yep, two versions of
the same movie! Good stuff, eh?), and an extensive array of great
features. Front and center is J.M. Kenny’s superlative documentary
Creating a Myth: The Making of Legend (51:00), which brings together
various actors and crew members to share their memories of the
production. Everyone from Mia Sara to Ridley Scott to screenwriter
William Hjortsberg to make-up designer Rob Bottin and Cinematographer
Alex Thomon (and many others) discuss their contributions to this
visionary (yet ultimately underappreciated) film. On this doc, you’ll
see rare production footage, FX and production design tidbits, and
several cool anecdotes. Hats off to J.M. Kenny for his work on this
great little feature.
Legend freaks will love the pair of Lost Scenes: one is an alternate
opening which features an ill-fated goblin who never made the final
cut, and the other is the “Faerie Dance”, which consists of
soundtrack/storyboards only, but it’s still a nice little nugget.
So far this set contains 2 separate movies, a great documentary, an
even cooler commentary track, and a couple of welcome deleted
scenes. Think that’s enough for the rabid cult of fans that
Legend has earned? Guess again.
Littered throughout Disc 2 are a Bryan Ferry Music Video which covers
the end title song “Is Your Love Strong Enough?”, three storyboard
sequences (entitled “Jack’s Challenge”, “Downfall of Darkness” and
“Lily and the Unicorns”), and a lengthy series of still galleries.
Since this is of course a full-blown Special Edition, you’ll also find
the requisite theatrical trailers, TV spots, production notes, and
I’ve been waiting to see a “longer version” of this childhood favorite
of mine for over ten years, and this excellent DVD release has made my
month. Although it’s a bit disturbing to see how many times this set
was delayed, Universal earns a standing “O” for treating this cult
classic like the fine film it really is. Fans MUST own this DVD
immediately; everyone else should rent it (and then buy it)!
-- By Dr. Scott, T.A.J."
May 8th, 2002
- Check out the latest LEGEND DVD review at http://www.davisdvd.com/Reviews/legend.htm.
"LEGEND: ULTIMATE EDITION
Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
English DD 5.1
English DD 2.0 Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Audio Commentary with director Ridley Scott
Creating a Myth: The Making of Legend
Tangerine Dream Isolated Score
Trailers & TV Spots
DVD-ROM Script to Screen
Universal Home Video / 1985 / PG / 114 min / 89 min / DVD 9 (X2) / Region 1
Film: 5 Video: 4.5
Audio: 3.5 (DD) 4 (DTS) Extras: 5+
Reviewer: Patrick Mirza Reviewed: May 2, 2002
To say that I'd been waiting on this disc set would be an
understatement. I first discovered Legend back in the mid-eighties on
VHS. I was, and still am, a sci-fi and fantasy nut and Legend was
everything I could have ever wanted from a movie: fantastic scenery,
amazing creatures, dashing heroics and a beautiful princess I wanted as
my own (sounds like Star Wars, eh?). But as a few years passed, I found
out that that I hadn't been seeing the entire picture. Having
originally been assembled at nearly 140 minutes, Legend's first cut
clocked in at 125 minutes. Director Ridley Scott then trimmed this down
to 114 minutes. With this cut in hand, Legend was then previewed before
a test audience. But as was the case with Scott's previous film,
Bladerunner, the test audience handed the film less than satisfactory
numbers. With a nervous studio at his back and his own confidence
shaken, Scott began to drastically re-edit the film to try and "save
it". Working through a year-long delay, Scott and his editor Terry
Rawlings finally settled on an 89 minute cut for the 1986 U.S. release.
In addition to the massive loss of film material, Jerry Goldsmith's
score was jettisoned and a synth-friendly Tangerine Dream score (as
well as two pop songs) added. Meanwhile, a 94 minute version with the
original jerry Goldsmith score had been released to European theaters
in Winter 1985. To further frustrate fans, a TV version appeared in the
late-80's that contained a few additional moments (with Goldsmith's
music) not present in the U.S. theatrical cut. And for laserdisc
fanatics like me, a Japanese release in early 1990 materialized with
yet another version: this one clocking in at 91 minutes and scored
entirely with Goldsmith's music. Add to all this a prematurely
announced and then-cancelled laserdisc box set during the mid-90's and
you can kinda see why my panties have been in a bunch for longer than I
care to remember. But here it finally is: the 114 director's cut that
previewed so badly and caused so much mental anguish for fans through
the years. And you, dear DVD maniacs, will finally be able to own your
own copy of it. Was it worth the wait? Hell yes!
Universal has supplied us with the director's cut on disc one and the
U.S. theatrical cut on disc two. Both are presented anamorphically
enhanced in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The print that was
found to make the DC transfer is devoid of any nicks, scratches or
dirt. Quite an amazing feat if you consider the fact that this print
has been sitting around gathering dust for nearly two decades! Film
grain, the bane of most DVD viewers, is hardly apparent. And even if it
does show up once in a while, so what? Grain is what makes film look
like film. The transfer has vibrant colors that never become
oversaturated or slip into dreaded chroma noise (no need to fear:
Darkness is rock-solid red when he finally appears). Black levels are
extremely deep and contrast is pretty high. Actually, contrast is so
high in some scenes (Lily in Nell's house, for example) that images
tend to get a bit too dark for my taste. You'll notice in some scenes
that the light areas just slip into blackness without any shadowing.
But that's only a minor quibble.
The 89 minute U.S. version isn't quite up to the same quality as the
longer cut unfortunately. Color, most noticeably, isn't as luminous as
it is in the director's cut. Contrast is also a bit lower making blacks
look dull and slightly dreary. The print used for transfer also
exhibits some dirt and speckling. Not much, mind you, but enough to set
it apart from the pristine director's cut. Overall, the 89 minute cut
looks okay, but it's nowhere near the quality of the 114 minute
The director's cut comes with three audio options: the original Dolby
Surround mix, a new Dolby 5.1 discrete remix and a DTS Surround track.
The Dolby Surround track is an adequate mix as far as Dolby 2.0 audio
goes, but the real treat is the new discrete mix. Though it isn't as
surround-heavy as I would have wanted with a film of this sort, the 5.1
mix is a marvel for a film that was made in 1984. Dynamic range is
first-rate, with some thundering lows and naturally clean highs. The
dialogue track is firmly planted in the center channel with the rest of
the mix incorporated through the front speakers. Music, effects and
dialogue all compliment each other, neither one competing with the
other for dominance. And like I said, the surround tracks are used with
more restraint than they should be with a fantasy film. There is
occasional spaciousness with certain scenes, especially those set in
Darkness's lair, but overall the mix is mostly centered around the
front three speakers. The DTS audio is slightly more rounded and
detailed than Dolby's compression. After seeing the movie with both
discrete audio tracks, my personal preference leans more towards the
The U.S. cut on disc two only comes with a Dolby Surround track. After
hearing the discrete mixes, the pro-logic track comes across harsher
and with less dynamic range. The U.S. version also comes with an option
for the Tangerine Dream score isolated on its own Dolby Surround track.
This track is really cool and includes the band's entire score,
including some alternate cues not used in the final film. The fidelity
on the score is amazingly good. I only wish I had a Pro-Logic II
processor to make this track shine in surround.
Now to the good stuff! With disc after disc nowadays labeled "special
edition", here's one that actually deserves its moniker. To start off,
the director's cut on disc one comes with a scene-specific audio
commentary with director Ridley Scott. As fans know, Scott is one of a
handful of big-time filmmakers to fully embrace the audio commentary.
He has never been shy about sharing personal feelings, shortcomings or
filmmaking "secrets". His commentary for Legend finds him again a
charming and honest man who has a true passion for his profession.
Scott's recollections about a nearly two decade old shoot are amazingly
clear and focused - I only wish I had a memory as good as his! He
touches upon all aspects of the film (all nicely chapter marked in its
own menu as well) and recounts anecdotes I had never heard of. Trust me
when I say this: when Ridley Scott talks, you should listen. This is no
fluffy commentary track.
The centerpiece of disc two is J.M. Kenny's 50 minute-long Creating A
Myth: The Memories Of Legend. The documentary follows the film's
genesis from idea to production to release crisis. There is a lot of
overlap between this documentary and director Scott's commentary, but
it's fabulous to see the actual participants share their thoughts
on-camera. And great googily-moogily, Mia Sara is still as beautiful as
ever (Ferris, you lucky bastard)! Not that I expected it, but actor Tom
Cruise chose not to participate in the documentary. I hope he doesn't
think of Legend as a blemish on his filmography (that I would reserve
for Losin' It, Cocktail or Days of Thunder). About the only other
obvious absence in this making-of is composer Jerry Goldsmith. When you
realize how his contribution to the film was treated over the last
seventeen years, you can sympathize with his still-raw feelings. It's
also bittersweet that late actor Billy Barty was interviewed shortly
before he passed away.
A treasure found during the disc set's last year-and-a-half delay, an
alternate 10-minute Goblin opening is presented in non-anamorphic
widescreen. Found on a PAL videotape of Legend's 1984 workprint, the
footage isn't in the best condition, but it was cleaned up and tweaked
as good as possible for the DVD. Nonetheless, the sequence is an
important part of Legend's history that I thank God was found. Another
deleted scene, "The Fairy Dance", doesn't fare as well. Unless it's
found somewhere accidentally, the footage is thought to be permanently
gone. Accompanying the surviving original audio, the scene has been
recreated as best as possible with stills and storyboards. It's stuff
like this that makes this more than just a special edition disc - this
is an archival disc! In addition, there are some other deleted scenes
of sorts to look out for. Three sequences appear in the 89 minute
version that are absent in the 114 minute director's cut. Look for
"wild things" jumping out of the ground and attacking Gump (54:24 -
55:15), Lily at Darkness's table (1:11:35 - 1:11:59), the rebirth of
the unicorn (1:22:08 - 1:23:34) and an alternate take with both Jack
and Lily running towards the sun (1:24:06).
The full storyboards for three key sequences ("Lily and the Unicorns,"
"Jack's Challenge," and "Downfall of Darkness") are presented in their
own section and offer a glimpse into Scott's visual eye. Be sure to
catch a glimpse of what Lily may have looked like if the budget had
allowed her to turn into a "cat-person."
Three still galleries encapsulate nearly all of the existing
photographs relating to Legend. The sections are broken down into
"Publicity Photographs," "Images of Legend" and "Continuity Polaroids".
This last section was also found during the set's delay from November
2000 and offers a valuable inside glimpse at the movie-making process
(remember what I said about this being archival?).
Disc two is rounded out by a collection of vintage TV spots (oh, how I
love old TV spots!), a couple of badly made original theatrical
trailers, production notes, cast and crew biographies, and an
ultra-cheesy music video for Brian Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong
Enough," a song only found on the end credits of the U.S. version. You
know what's really sad? I probably would have wanted Ferry's outfit
back then to wear to a school dance.
Finally, if you have a computer with DVD-ROM, be sure to check out the
script viewer. You can read and print out William Hjortsberg's "Legend
of Darkness" original first draft and the final shooting script or
watch the film and read the matching script scene. Great stuff!
I am a bona-fide Legend junkie. I have dreamed many, many years for a
package that would do this movie justice. And it's finally in my hands.
The DC is a revelation to the story of Legend; scenes and characters
are finally allowed to grow and acquire depth. And Jerry
Goldsmith's music feels like it had always belonged there, tied to the
visuals. This is finally one of a handful of fantasy films that
succeeds in bringing the stories of print to glorious life. My
heartfelt thanks go out to Scott Free Productions and DVD producer
Charles de Lauzirika for finally making this set happen. It's been a
long time coming".
- Check out another LEGEND DVD review at http://www.slantmagazine.com/dvd/archive/legend.html. Thanks to Matthew Wright for the link.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten,
Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle
Lanyon and Robert Picardo
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Screenplay by: William Hjortsberg
Studio: Universal Home Video
Street Date: May 21, 2002
Running Time: 120 min
MPAA Rating: PG
If you love 80s relics, none come more gorgeously artificial than
Ridley Scott's faerie-tale Legend. Darkness (Tim Curry) requires the
solace of shadows and seeks to destroy sunshine by ridding the land of
unicorns. Princess Lily (Mia Sara) frolics amongst the kingdom's poor
folk, courts a pin-up forest dweller named Jack (Tom Cruise) and turns
the kingdom to ice when her mortal hands touch a unicorn. Darkness
captures Princess Lily, courts her and loses her when Jack and his army
of fairies and elves turn a unicorn's severed horn against evil. Though
it was poorly received at the time of its original theatrical release,
Legend went on to become the most requested title in the Universal film
library. Today, the film feels especially simplistic; Darkness may be
wary of female fertility when the goblin Blix (Alex Playten) lets a
unicorn mare live yet there's never been any real allegorical subtext
to the film's Grimm tableaux. Still, the look of Legend is so
luxuriously overwrought it merits surface comparisons to Cocteau's
Beauty and the Beast. In the film's most visually arresting sequence,
Jack dives into a lake in pursuit of Princess Lily's ring, just as the
forces of Darkness destroy the male unicorn. By the time Jack rises
toward the now-frozen lake's surface, his kingdom has turned into a
winter wonderland. What with the film's cotton-candy mise en the scene,
rhyming goblins ("Mortal world turned to ice/Here be goblin paradise"),
sexless pixies and elementary light/dark metaphors that reference the
order of its universe, Legend is a Gothic fairy tale brought to life.
Universal's two-disc Legend DVD gives you the chance to compare the
film's 90-minute U.S. theatrical release with Ridley Scott's 114-minute
cut. Though shadow delineation is unfortunately steep during the film's
dark interior sequences, Legend has never looked as good as it does on
the superior Director's Cut. This is cotton candy for the eyes: the
colors are luxuriant, the bleeding is slight and the edge enhancement
is virtually non-existent. The Director's Cut comes equipped with a
powerful Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track and an optional DTS 5.1
track. Though the sound on the theatrical cut is noticeably flat, the
ambience and dynamic range on the Director's Cut is unbelievable.
Legend's packaging and layout alone is a work of art. The first disc
contains the Director's Cut and an informative, engaging commentary by
Ridley Scott. Like the film itself, the commentary track comes with its
own chapter stop descriptions. Scott discusses the film's ties to
Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, the building of the film's CGI-less
sets, Alan Parker calling him a "softy" (because the film was such a
departure from his three previous films: The Duellists, Alien and Blade
Runner) and his need for Darkness melodrama. "Creating the Myth" is an
in-depth look at the making of the film, replete with stock footage of
the making of the film's lifelike forest set, early camera tests and
rare photographs of the Andalusian horses-turned-unicorns and Tim Curry
in the make-up chair. This featurette serves both as a condensed
version of Scott's commentary track and a trivia treasure trove (yes,
Blix was modeled after Keith Richards). Cinematographer Alex Thomson
was hooked when he first read how the hooves of the film's unicorns
would leave rings of posies behind whenever they lifted from the
ground. Though this conceit was never actually filmed, it's the kind of
magic that immediately lured Thomson to the project. The second disc
allows you to listen to the isolated score by Tangerine Dream. (Jerry
Goldsmith's ominous score accompanies the Director's Cut.) A video dupe
of the film found in March 2001 is responsible for a ten-minute
alternate opening sequence included in a Lost Scenes section. Using
rare photos, storyboards and original music, the producers of this DVD
edition of Legend have also recreated the destroyed "Faerie Dance"
sequence. Also included here is a section for storyboards, the film's
U.S. and European theatrical trailers, Brian Ferry's "Is Your Love
Strong Enough?" music video, production notes, three photo galleries
(one devoted to continuity Polaroids), four TV spots, and cast and
filmmaker bios. The disc's DVD-ROM feature gives you the chance to
compare the original Hjortsberg draft of the film to the final shooting
Seventeen years after its original theatrical release, the folks at
Universal have given Ridley Scott's cult classic a legendary DVD
· Two-Disc Set
· Region 1
· 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital Formats:
· English 5.1 Surround
· English 2.0 Surround
· English Captions
· French Subtitles
· Interactive Menus
· Scene Access
· Commentary by director Ridley Scott
· "Creating A Myth" featurette
· Isolated Score by Tangerine Dream
· Lost Scenes
· "Is Your Love Strong Enough?" music video
· Three Photo Galleries
· Two Theatrical Trailers
· Four TV Spots
· Production Notes
· Cast and Filmmaker Bios
· DVD-ROM: Script-To-Scene Comparison
- Check out another LEGEND DVD review at http://www.currentfilm.com/dvdreviews4/legenduedvd.html. Thanks to Jorge da Cunha for the link.
Scott's 1985 "Legend" has been one of the most requested DVD titles
since the format's birth. While more of a cult picture than some of the
bigger "wants" for the format, it was at least hoped that Scott, along
with the director's usual ace DVD producer, Charles de Lauzirika, could
provide something special. The result, while long delayed (likely due
to rights issues or more time to finalize supplements), is the first of
Universal's "Ultimate Editions" not to follow a previous "Special
This DVD edition provides both the theatrical
release and Ridley Scott's director's cut, which extends the film by
about 24 minutes. The film was a costly effort and, according to
director Scott's text notes in the insert, wasn't finding an audience
originally. It was re-cut and re-scored, but never really matched the
vision that the director had in mind.
As for my thoughts on the film itself, I find it to be a flawed, but
ambitious and fascinating film, full of striking visuals. The story
itself is a rather simple bit of swords and sorcery lore: an evil force
named Darkness lives beneath the land, desiring to cover the sun and
launch the world into, well, darkness, where he can reign supreme. We
then are introduced to two young lovers, Jack and Lili (Tom Cruise and
Mia Sara). Jack takes Lili to see the unicorns that live in the forest,
but she's kidnapped by the dark forces and it's up to Jack to rescue
The film does not seem to be about the story as much as it is about the
visuals, which are nothing short of stunning, as Scott and team have
somehow managed to keep every single widescreen frame busy in one way
or another. While this film is now nearly 20-years-old, the production
design is still impressive, with an exceptional amount of detail and
imagination going into every one of the sets. Still, while these
aspects are impressive, I still would have liked a bit better of a
balance between story and visuals. While the director's cut does
provide a fuller experience, it's still a film that's smoewhat
lackluster in character development.
The performances are good, if not outstanding. Cruise is a good actor
who has gotten better, but he's not incredibly commanding in this role
and only remains moderately interesting. Elsewhere, Sara is elegant and
engaging, while Tim Curry is respectable as the villian of the piece.
While "Legend" isn't a film without problems, I still remain
entertained by the film and especially the dark world that director
Scott has created. It's also wonderful that the director's cut of
Scott's film is finally available for audiences.
The director's cut and theatrical cuts of the film are both presented
in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Both editions of the film have their
own disc of the two-DVD set, but it's the director's cut that mostly
gets a disc to itself, while the theatrical cut is accompanied by a lot
of supplementals on the second disc. The director's cut looks pretty
stellar for an extended cut of a film of this age. Sharpness and detail
do occasionally are inconsistent throughout the movie, but never became
lackluster. While most of the film appeared pleasantly crisp and
well-defined, some scenes appeared noticably softer, although this
occasionally seemed due to intent or effects.
director's cut was surprisingly clean and free of all by some minor
faults. The primitive early special effects look pretty good, when
these kinds of effects can tend to either look muddy or as they did in
"The Neverending Story", rather grainy. Edge enhancement is very
minimal and barely noticable. The print even looked unexpectedly good
condition, with only some very minor grain and a speck or two.
Colors looked splendid throughout, appearing well-saturated and vivid,
with no noticable flaws. I was very pleased with the effort displayed
for the director's cut. The theatrical cut of the picture looked less
pleasing, if certainly not terrible. The theatrical cut appears
somewhat softer at times and displays some additional print flaws in
the form of occasional specks and other, minor forms of wear. Colors
seem slightly more vivid and fresh in the "director's cut", where the
picture as a whole generally seems more crisp and clean. The theatrical
cut certainly doesn't look terrible, but the director's cut is
definitely a more pleasing viewing experience.
The director's cut of the film is offered in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1
as well as Dolby 2.0. The theatrical cut of the film is presented only
with the film's original 2.0 soundtrack. Given the fact that this film
and its soundtrack are now about seventeen years of age, I wasn't
really expecting a great deal from the new 5.1 presentation in either
choice of soundtracks. As it sometimes goes, my expectations were
exceeded, if not overwhelmingly so.
The 5.1 soundtracks on
the director's cut are pretty impressive at times, boasting a pretty
healthy amount of bass and a rich, crisp presentation of Jerry
Goldsmith's wonderful score. Surrounds are used fairly actively - if
not for the Goldsmith score, they provide some slight ambience and a
few instances here and there of more noticable sound effects. While I
would have liked a bit more participation from the rear speakers, I'd
think there can only be so much done with a film of this age. As much,
this is a more than satisfactory soundtrack offering. Both the Dolby
and DTS soundtracks provide an almost equally enjoyable experience, but
the DTS soundtrack has the slight edge with a slightly more crisper and
The theatrical cut's 2.0 soundtrack is fairly decent, but certainly
lacks the envelopment of the 5.1 soundtracks. The 2.0 soundtrack still
remains clear and crisp, but certainly the director's cut soundtracks
are the way to go for the listening experience. The theatrical cut also
offers the less effective Tangerine Dream score instead of the richer
and more enjoyable Jerry Goldsmith effort on the director's cut.
MENUS: The animated main menus are slightly animated, but all menus contain striking background images and are quite well-done overall.
Commentary: This is a commentary from director Ridley Scott. As with
the director's other commentary tracks, he provides everything that is
"right" with commentaries. Scott does not simply narrate what is
currently going on in the film and when he praises the cast or those he
worked with, he provides additional backstory on their role in the
film. For a film that was released a considerable while ago, it's
impressive that Scott is able to remember so much detail about the
production, from stories on the set to technical details. There's also
some fine insight into character, filmmaking and working with the
actors. This commentary is only available on the director's cut edition.
Making of a "Myth": This is a 51-minute documentary produced by JM
Kenny. Many of the folks involved with the production, including the
production, stunt coordinator, actor Curry, actress Sara, director
Scott, the writer and others, provide their thoughts about the
production and offer some technical comments about how scenes were
accomplished. The first half of the documentary provides a lot of
detail about the pre-production of the film and how everyone got
involved. The second half provides more details about where things
began to go wrong for the production: Scott and others discuss the very
saddening event where one of the biggest sets burned down as well as
the changes and alterations that the film had to go through when
audiences weren't responding well to the original cut. This is an
excellent, informative documentary that takes an in-depth look at all
aspects of the production of this film.
Deleted Scenes: 2 deleted scenes, long thought lost, are included here.
One is an alternate opening and one is called the "Faerie Dance". The
alternate opening is a rough video copy, while the "Faerie Dance" is
recreated from storyboards and audio.
Storyboards: Storyboards for 3 sequences: "Lily and the Unicorns", "Jack's Challenge" and "Downfall of Darkness".
TV Spots/Trailers: 4 TV spots, the US trailer and the International trailer.
Also: Brian Ferry music video, production notes, bios, recommendations, DVD-ROM weblink.
Final Thoughts: "Legend" certainly created the magic and universe for
this kind of film; the technical side of this production is pretty
remarkable - even more so considering this is a 1985 picture. Yet, I
never really had that strong of an interest in characters. Overall
though, I still find the film entertaining. Universal's long-awaited
DVD edition of the picture provides a strong amount of very informative
supplements, as well as the terrific addition of the full director's
cut of the picture. Recommended."
The Film ** 1/2 (theatrical)/***(DC)
May 7th, 2002
- Check out the latest LEGEND DVD review at http://www.darkhorizons.com/dvds/d-legen.htm.
"A DVD Review of LEGEND
Cast: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennet, Alice Playten
Synopsis: This movie is a magical adventure whitch features elves,
demons and other mythical creatures like this. Darkness, the
personification of evil, plans to disprese eternal night in the land
where this story takes place, by killing every unicorn in the world.
Although he looks unbeatable, Jack (Tom Cruise in his first important
role) and his friends, are disposed to do everything to save the world
and princess Lili (who Darkness intends to make his wife) from the
hands of this evil monster.
Film Review: The term "failed masterpiece" is rather loosely thrown
about because the so-called one bad element that ruins or more often
simply detracts from an otherwise work of pure genius by a director
many consider a god can vary greatly depending on the project. James
Cameron's "The Abyss" remains one of, if not the most emotionally
resonant movie o his career - a film with a perfect mix of character,
story, action, FX, themes, etc. and yet in the last two minutes a
cheesy and somewhat perplexing ending takes away slightly from what is
otherwise quite frankly one of the best science fiction films ever
made. Francis Ford Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is the most
visually lush and certainly the most accurate adaptation of the classic
horror tale and yet there's problems ranging from Keanu Reeves' awful
acting and a not so great romance subplot to an overall lack of
direction and narrative jumbles. Pretty much every great director has a
project which for the most part clicks but never really translates all
that well on screen or with an audience and leaves many scratching
their heads why. For Ridley Scott, a man who had just come off the
brilliance that was "Alien" and the overrated but still excellent
"Blade Runner", "Legend" was that failed masterpiece.
"Legend" remains to this day one of the most richly visual movies
you'll ever see - every scene is filled with so much colour, movement
and astonshing natural and magical imagery its overwhelming and is
rightly considered "music video" in appearance - production design and
cinematography in this film are Oscar calibre. Indeed Scott's aiming
was high - here is a pure fairytale movie but with a mean streak. Sure
there's cutely distorted voice goblins, a somewhat dimwitted but
beautiful singing heroinne, a dashing young hero and lots of little
kids as magical fairy like creatures - all in all quite cliched
Disney-esque things. However also in this are some quite sinister
elements which certainly rule out the kids ranging from the goblin's
maiming a quite beautiful unicorn to Darkness, the devil but one who is
more human in personality than any other character in the film which
makes his persona more frighteningly effective and gives the film a
real bite which separates it from the family friendly fantasies of the
time like "The Neverending Story" or "Dark Crystal". The visuals, the
sound, the lighting all are used to brilliant effect to establish
Yet the problems are very quick to spot - not only is the story
unoriginal to the point of boredom, the fact is there almost is no
story - Scott's concentration on visuals has given us (aside from
Darkness) very one-dimensional and unengaging protagonists (Sara easily
outshines Cruise but even she comes off as a bimbo), truly woeful
dialogue, an awful and overly pervading score and one of the worst
editing jobs in history which has left an already narratively
challenged film in a woeful mess that even the most dedicated filmgoer
will have a hard time finding some coherence too. Heavily visual
reliant films like "2001" lacked story sure, but its no-dialogue scenes
were filled with a building sense of awe, tension or power - Kubrick
mindf*cked us yes but it always feels like he was in control and showed
us exactly what he wanted to. Here there's long gaps of no dialogue but
other than setting mood it feels more like filling in time than
anything else. This is a world where at one can dive in a lake and half
a minute later come up to find the world has changed from mid-Summer
climate to an Ice Age, a world so full of drifting pollen that all
hayfever sufferers would've died off long ago, and its all part of a
film which seems to be struggling to make a pointed and grown up
philosophical statement about fantasy and the themes but never does
more than scratch the surface. Its style works, its substance falls
flat on its face.
Thank god for things like DVD and Director's Cuts. The 'Special
Edition' of the aforementioned "The Abyss" cleared up a LOT of the
problems and showed the film for the true modern classic it is. DVD in
the last year has brought out re-edited Director's Cuts of films like
the first "Star Trek" movie and showed how just some snipping here and
odd new FX scene there cleared up a similarly troubled project into a
very good and epic tale. This new Director's Cut of "Legend" restores
Scott's original 20-minute longer cut of the film along with Jerry
Goldsmith's original score. Does it save the film? Sort of, "Legend"
remains an astonishing looking but a still somewhat empty mess. Does it
improve the film? Absolutely - the film makes a LOT more coherent sense
and both looks and sounds more alive than ever before. Distinct
differences appear right from the start - the introduction of Darkness
is now much more effective, instead of a cheesy UV-lit scene in a well
lit torture chamber the new version never shows us more than his claw
and the back of his throne whilst the cavern looks a lot darker and
creepier - this helps make the mirror revelation that much more
effective as you don't know what to expect. Some other scenes are
completely changed such as his attempt to tempt Lili which is now
trying to make her sit on a throne rather than eat the food (the throne
itself pulses with sinister life).
The score is also a big improvement - after seeing a scene like the
dance of the black wedding gown with Goldsmith's tune, there's no way
you can go back to hearing the Tangerine Dream version without wincing.
Its not one of Goldsmith's better scores, but not one of his worst
either despite elements from it being used in other films. The original
cut will remain a disappointing mess, the Director's Cut is a quite
likable fantasy which can in no way compare to the quality of "Lord of
the Rings" but now at least can hold its own a lot better. - Garth
"Legend: Ultimate Edition"
DVD Details In Brief (Region 1)
Runtime: 114mins (DC), 90mins (Theatrical)
Versions: 16:9 Enhanced Widescreen, 4:3 Letterboxed
Aspect Ratio: 2.35: 1
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0, DTS 5.1
Language & Sub-Titles: English, Spanish, French
Audio: Commentary with Director Ridley Scott (DC Version Only), Isolated Tangerine Dream Score (Theatrical Only).
Documentaries: "Creating A Myth: The Making of Legend"
Clips: Deleted Scenes, Music Video, Trailers, TV Spots
Other: Storyboards, Still Gallery, Production Notes, Biographies
DVD-Rom: Script-to-Screen Feature
Region 1 vs. Region 4: No Region 4 Available.
DVD Review: The two disc set comes in similar plastic packaging to the
first "Sex and the City" box set, but with a cute little booklet
containing a message from Ridley. Disc 1 contains the new Director's
Cut of the film and its a beauty - despite the age of the material the
transfer is excellent, this is a film filled with all sorts of oddly
lit environments and yet the print remains very clear and grain free
throughout, colours and blacks are surprisingly rich, and edges are
clean aside from the occasional bit of softness in some of the very
dark scenes. Towards the end these dark scenes are too highly
contrasted due to the poor lighting conditions of certain scenes within
the film and you'll have to watch closey during these scenes to
understand what's going on as its sometimes difficult to make things
out. The FX themselves haven't aged too well but some of the more
obvious cheap ones seem to have never been in this cut. The audio is
suprisingly strong with an excellent use of surround - not only does
Goldsmith's score ring through and the FX noise come out well, but what
little dialogue there is proves nice and clear.
The only extra on Disc 1 is the commentary by Director Ridley Scott who
yet again delivers with an excellent and insightful track, the guy has
done so many by now he's a master at it. Even more than usual though
Scott seems excited by seeing his original vision for the film on
screen and talks about everything from casting, on-set incidents,
theme, script and most importantly the changes to things like the score
and the editing. There's cute stories from the use of kids (incl.
Scott's daughter) dressed up as the leads to make things look bigger to
the time when the production nearly burned down Pinewood Studios. A
surprising but very welcome feature about this commentary is that it
lists what Scott talks about in each 'disc chapter' so if you want to
seek out a specific topic its quite easy to find.
Disc 2's version of the film (the theatrical cut) on the other hand is
not so fortunate. The video is better than VHS no doubt, and it makes a
good use of colour and edging but grain is more visible - colours are
lacking somewhat, contrast is even more out of wack and the problems of
editing within the film seem to stand out even more than when on
television. The Dolby 2.0 track is fine, better than you may expect for
a stereo track, but still lacking something whilst the isolated score
is pretty much the same. Extras on the disc kick off with "Creating a
Myth", a 51-minute making of special with all new interviews of
practically all the major crew and cast (bar Cruise but Sara looks even
better now than she did back then). The interviews are well edited
together as each talks about the complex and difficult production,
combined with fascinating takes on the deeper meanings of the story -
Curry is a real delight, Bottin is very impressive, and on the set
footage is really fascinating - its double the length of most making of
docos but way more interesting and never drops off at any point.
"Lost Scenes" shows the quite lengthy 10-minute alternate opening
(shown in very rough video) in which four Goblins make their way
through the woods to find a strain of unicorn hair to take back to
Darkness who appears here as a wind swept dark silhouette. Also in this
section is "The Faerie Dance" with production audio combined with
storyboards and photos to recreate a sequence which hs since
disappeared - not particularly ineresting and thankfully cut. Also on
the disc are storyboards for three sequences which ended up being quite
different to watch on screen (originally it seems the Unicorn used its
horn to slay a certain baddie). The photo gallery is quite extensive
with publicity shots, 'continuity polaroids' (makeup FX shots) and
promo art/photos. For a flashback check out Bryan Ferry's music video -
him standing in front of a screen in full denim and looking like he's
just tripped on acid, shame the song isn't anywhere near as fun.
There's two trailers, both are the same though the international one
seems a little shorter, four rather bland TV spots, production notes
and filmographies. Capping it all off on DVD Rom is the script -
actually the final script and Hjortsberg first draft which are quite
different in style and tone. A definite collector's item for Scott
fans, and even those who didn't think much of "Legend" first time
around should check out this new Director's Cut as this is quite
frankly a different and all over better movie with a very collectible
disc set. - Garth Franklin"
May 3rd, 2002
- Check out the latest LEGEND DVD review at http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htforum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=67827.
Review by Ronald Epstein
Film Length: 116 minutes (DIR); 90 minutes (U.S.)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
"Mortal World turned to ice here be goblin paradise"
First of all, I must confess that I am not a huge fan of Legend. I
originally saw the movie back in the mid-eighties when it was released
to Home Video. I saw it once, thought it was a decent fantasy film, but
have not thought about it until it was announced for DVD almost a year
Watching this film after all these years has given me new appreciation
for Ridley Scott's fantasy masterpiece, which came on the heels of his
Blade Runner and Alien releases. Legend was a film Ridley always wanted
to make -- a film in the genre of mythology or faerie story, inspired
by his childhood fantasies.
I always wondered why there were so many different versions of this
film. Upon further research I found that Legend went went through 15
rewrites before a final script was selected. Ridley's first cut of the
film ran a total of 125 minutes. He took this work print and cut it
down to 113 minutes. After a unsatisfactory preview showing, the film
was cut down to 98 minutes and then 94 minutes. Ridley Scott brought
Jerry Goldsmith aboard to write the score. Universal Studio executive
Sidney Sheinberg thought the film was too long, and did not like
Goldsmith's score. Wanting to make the soundtrack more popular to the
MTV inspired teens, Sheinberg hired a German electronic group called
Tangerine Dream to compose the replacement soundtrack.
The story takes place in a mythical forest inhabited by fairies,
goblins, unicorns and mortals. It's the story of a Lily (Mia Sara), a
beautiful innocent princess who loves a forest dweller named Jack (Tom
Cruise). When Jack shows her the sacred Unicorns of the forest, Lily
disobeys his orders not to touch them. Her disobedience causes a
Unicorn to be trapped and killed. It's the story of the Lord of
Darkness (Tim Curry) who depends on the death of both unicorns to give
him ever-lasting power as he plunges the world in eternal darkness. Can
Lily, Jack and their company of elves and faeries overcome all odds to
save the last unicorn and the future of their world?
Succumbing to the demands of fans, Universal has reassembled and
released the long thought lost "Director's Cut" of the film, restoring
nearly 25 minutes of footage along with Jerry Goldsmith's score.
In a new 2-disc Ultimate Edition, Universal has also included the U.S. Theatrical Version with the Tangerine Dream score.
How is the transfer?
In a word, remarkable.
Watching the Director's Cut of this film, I was marveled by the clarity
of this transfer, which while filmed rather dark and soft, I never
noticed any background video noise, which is usually very evident in
these sort of transfers. Picture remains clean and glitch free, with
colors remaining mostly vibrant without flesh tones suffering from over
saturation. For a film of this period, this transfer is about as good
as it gets.
The 5.1 DTS track is surprisingly active throughout all its channels.
The film's main thrust action stays firmly in the front speakers, with
dialogue remaining squarely in the center. The rears play a remarkable
part of the film's ambience, particularly in the forest scenes where we
hear Lilly's calls to Jack echoing in the background, or the sound of
howling wind that supports the film's snow covered landscape. Though
the film has its share of LFE channel bass during the Dark Lord's
emergence, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more bass mixed
into the soundtrack -- especially as the Unicorns trotted in fear
across the snow. Overall, however, this is certainly more active a
sound mix than I would have expected from a film this age.
To show you how special this release is, Universal has released this
title in a a very unique clear plastic packaging with Ridley Scott's
signature across the front that opens to a 3-pane gatefold. Although I
really admire the packaging and artwork, it is a magnet for
Inside the packaging is a 2-sided 8 page foldout that contains an
introduction by Director Scott, as well as a text breakdown of the
film's scenes and bonus materials. All this is supplemented with
original film photographs and poster artwork.
Disc One holds the Director Cut of the film, and unfortunately, the
menu is rather simple with only a slight touch of animated skyline
behind the Lord of Darkness. This is the only version of the film that
has been remixed for 5.1 Dolby Surround and DTS.
A full-length audio commentary with Director Ridley Scott is also featured on this disc.
Disc Two contains the U.S. Theatrical Cut in Dolby Surround. It too has
a very simple animated menu of a unicorn set against the dawning sky.
Fans of this film will be delighted by the abundant amount of material that is presented here. Let's take a look at it....
Creating a Myth: The Memories of Legend is a wonderful newly produced
documentary that starts with a wonderful montage of scenes from the
film set against Lily's song. Producer Aknon Milchan was an admirer of
Director Ridley Scott's work from his earliest days of making
commercials. Ridley came to him with two film ideas, one of them being
a crazy Alien spaceship musical, and the other...Legend. Director Scott
explains that after completing two very grueling movies with gruesome
carnage (Alien & Blade Runner), he wanted to make a faerie tale. He
approached writer William Hjortsberg and gave him a brief description
of what he wanted the story to be about. Hjortsberg went on to create a
tale that would be considered "classic" -- a tale that ultimately
inspired Scott to shoot his dream project. Tim Curry recalls how the
script reminded him of a Grimms fairy tale, full of horror and grit.
Mia Sara recalls her falling in love with the script at such a young
age. She talks about her reaction of seeing a movie set filled with
forestry and live birds, done on such a huge scale on a 007 soundstage.
The documentary goes on to interview the production designers, make-up
artist, set director and even then Universal chief Sid Sheinberg. This
an extremely thorough look at all production aspects of the film, and
includes makeup photos and even brief shots of test footage taken on
the set. (length: approx. 50 minutes)
Isolated music Score by Tangerine Dream allows you to play the U.S.
version of the film with uncut music cues from the group Tangerine
Dream. Because of the nature of this presentation, some of the cues may
fall out of place, but you do get an idea of how drastically different
this score is from Jerry Goldsmith's original concept.
Two Lost Scenes are included. The first is an Alternate Opening.
Thought long lost, this opening features goblins Blix, Pox, Blunder and
an unintroduced goblin named Tic who are lured through the forrest,
eventually coming upon the shrouded Dark Lord. The scene doesn't play
very well, and the video quality is not especially clean. (length:
approx. 11 minutes)
A deleted musical number, The Faerie Dance, has been lost forever.
However, the scene's audio tracks were recently discovered and are
presented here against original photos and storyboards. (length: approx
Three sets of storyboards give you the original layouts for the scenes
they proposed. It demonstrates how closely a film can match the work of
the storyboard artist. Using your remote, you can individually pan
through each storyboard picture. While this is certainly interesting to
look through, I miss having these storyboards shown in 2 separate
windows as they compare the conceptual drawings to the final filmed
Trailers are included for the U.S. Theatrical version as well as the
International Trailer. Both trailers are nearly identical (scenes shown
against logo lettering), though the U.S. version is longer and shows
more footage. Five TV Spots are also included here.
Over 100 images make up the Photo Galleries section ranging from
publicity portrait captures of the entire cast to some rare pictures
that show shots behind the camera as well as alternative scenes. Script
Supervisor Polaroids taken for continuity purposes are also shown here.
It's an eerie look at the cast in full makeup. Please be aware that all
these pictures run automatically, so in order to view them for extended
periods of time, you will have to use your remote's pause control.
I'm not as huge a fan of Legend as many members of this forum are, who
have followed this DVD release since it was announced well over a year
ago. Still, I appreciate the fact that this is a visual masterpiece
that only Director Ridley Scott could have pulled off so masterfully.
It's a wonderful fantasy film that still holds up to today's standards.
With this incredible 2-disc Ultimate Edition selling for under $20
on-line, there is no question that it should become a part of your
Release Date: May 21, 2002"
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