The cult fantasy classic from producer George Lucas and director Ron Howard is given a stunning hi-definition upgrade on its 25th anniversary. "Willow" was a moderate hit when it was released in 1988. While it didn't capture the epic feel of "Star Wars" and wasn't intense enough to be a "Lord of the Rings," it's still a charming and effective fantasy that nicely blended action, fantasy, and humor into a smart little bag of tricks. The film stars Warwick Davis as Willow Ufgood, a farmer who finds a baby named Elora Dannon that was born with special powers. The sorceress Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) wants to kill the child as she is prophesied to overthrow her, so Willow sets out to protect her along with horse-thief Madmartigan played by a ridiculously sexy Val Kilmer. While it is a bit slow by today's standards, for those of us that saw it when it was released, it's a nice walk down memory lane and nostalgic for its use of (at the time) cutting-edge special effects.
The Special Features are fun, mostly because they are pretty retro.
"Willow: Deleted Scenes with Ron Howard" - the director discusses why certain subplots and sequences were cut including an action sequence in a lake involving a "Fish Boy" that attacks Willow's boat.
"The Making of an Adventure with Ron Howard" - the director introduces a retro 30 minute documentary about the making of the film. It's fun to see, but clearly swiped from the promotional materials from 25 years ago.
"From Morf to Morphing with Dennis Muren" - Visual Effects supervisor Dennis Muren discusses the classic morphing sequence in a short documentary from 2001.
"Willow: An Unlikely Hero - Personal Video Diary of Warwick Davis" - a 10 minute video featuring video footage Warwick Davis shot while on location. There's lots of hammy antics from the actors, especially Kilmer who had a close relationship with Davis.
"Matte Paintings" - a short, but neat feature that shows some of the film's matte paintings and how they morphed into the actual scenes from the films.
Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack