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
Great bonus features and very good picture & audio
Owned for 1 year when reviewed.
This movie was missing from blu-ray for a long time -- in print and then vanished for years. I was so happy that it was finally being made available again.
The picture quality is very filmic and natural looking -- not scrubbed of grain and waxy. The sound is perfectly fine and great, with the note that you should boost your volume a little higher than normal as seems to be common with most Disney releases.
I think the movie is honestly not quite a stone-cold classic but still a mostly great and fun 80's era fantasy. Some fun stop-motion creature effects and a really memorable and entrancing music score. As a movie and a narrative I think it's a little bit wobbly, but I think this still holds plenty of value outside of any nostalgia itch if you're not someone who grew up with it.
This edition features a commentary track that was not on the previous release. Warwick Davis remains talking and insightful throughout with great behind the scenes details.
This release gives the movie much better treatment than one may have feared or expected. The movie is very worth checking out if you're into this era of fantasy stuff, and this blu-ray release is a great value and a treat if you're a fan!
by the way, if you're someone who looks out for slipcovers, let me clarify that I bought this blu-ray on its release and while it is unusual for Disney, this release never had copies with a slipcover.
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.
High adventure awaits as we follow Willow and crew as they quest to save the life of a child and free the land from the tyranny of an evil queen. I have fond memories of this movie and I believe it holds up. Of course, I'm biased :).
Great classic in HD! Had to grab this when it re-released on blu-ray. Was bad enough I missed it the first time around and people wanted a fortune so I was quick to grab it this time it came around. Looks fantastic and is such a great movie!