Though Willow was one of director Ron Howard's few box-office disappointments, it definitely deserves a second look. At once an epic celebration and a gentle spoof of the sword-and-sorcery genre, the film concerns the efforts by little person Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) to protect a sacred infant from the machinations of a wicked queen (Jean Marsh). One source book has assessed the picture as a combination of The Ten Commandments and Snow White. This is true enough, except that neither one of those properties offered such offbeat casting choices as Billy Barty and Jean Marsh. Executive producer George Lucas has (through the conduit of screenwriter Bob Dolman) added elements of his own Star Wars saga to the stew. The results are generally satisfactory, though the film is sometimes weighed down by too much plot, and the action sequences may not be suitable for very young children. Incidentally, this is the film where co-star Val Kilmer met his future wife Joanne Whalley.~Hal Erickson
This is one of those movies that seems to either be known, forgotten, or vaguely remembered. The story can be compared to Star Wars as far as the classic 'hero origins' tale, or because of its fantasy setting, Lord of the Rings. There are plenty of parallels to be drawn with the tropes that often remind you of something that most movies these days try to 'mimic' in terms of authenticity. Yet, for something from 1988, it's definitely one of the better films out there. I was skeptical seeing Val Kilmer in a movie like this, but he has easily become one of my favorite characters as the swordsman Madmartigan. Warwick Davis, having known him through other shows like Life Is Too Short, movies like Star Wars Return of the Jedi, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Harry Potter, easily shows his earlier talents here as the main character Willow.
For people who like Lord of the Rings, Labyrinth, or any other '80s fantasy-themed show, I recommend this one if you're interested in seeing a setting that doesn't rely too much on special effects, and instead opts for the old-fashioned puppetry and practical effects.
As for the packaging, it's the standard blu-ray case with a paper containing the code for use with Vudu. The movie itself comes with some pretty neat features, such as deleted scenes that didn't make the original cut of the movie, to a commentary track by Warwick Davis.
This was my favorite movie as a kid and still is to this day! The music, action, story-- everything about it fueled my young imagination and, in many ways, shaped my tastes going forward. But as an adult I wondered how I would view it now, would it hold the same appeal now as it did to a much younger me? The answer is a resounding YES! Not only did it bring a surge of nostalgia, but I noticed aspects of the film as an artform that I had never paid attention to as a child, and I have a renewed appreciation for the film, the actors, and especially for Ron Howard. Fantastic movie!