Space-Gothic Hybrid; Decadant Brilliance

Submitted by dalcassian on 13 February, 2017 - 7:13

AT LEAST my son liked "Krull", especially the tall, one-eyed cyclops. (Until the cyclops. got kiUed. Then he announced that the regular hero, Prince Colwyn, was his favourite).

But Thomas is Five and a half.For me, Krull was crud. I loathed it, but maybe, since Thomas didn't, I shouldn't have.

It's a mixture of fairy tale and science fiction in which fairy tale magic merges imperceptibly into sci-fi marvels and silly words to create an overaU effect of the mystical and the supernatural. The hard-souled, calculating mysticism of 'Star Wars'.

But the Force isn't really with this one, it seems, because Krull has not done too wll at the box office. The great rich seam opened by Star Wars in 1977 may be petering out.

What's unpleasant about Krull is that it's a tongue-in-cheek pastiche put together with commercial-minded cynicism. Such concoctions come cynical nasty (like TV's vile Blake's 7), cynical-funny (Star Trek) and cynical-nice.

This is cynical-nice, but with a nasty pervasive under-taste, generated by its component parts.

The language of the deep-voiced narrator: "This it was given to me to know. The princess shall choose a prince and together they will rule the kingdom and their descendants rule the galaxy". The trading in archetypes - the enemy is "the beast" and his army are "the Slayers".

The wholesale pillaging and inorganic amalgamation of stories and images from fairy tale and myths. King Arthur's sword in the stone becomes the five-bladed boomerang-like magic 'glave' (I think!) plucked out of volcanic river by Prince Colwyn, guided by the Merlin-like "Old one" who has "come down from the grand mountain". The high-winged Wagnerian helmets of the Slayers - who may be robots

. . . "The Widow of the Web , the cyclops. Bits of Jason and the Argonauts, such as the Phineas-like blind seer, etc.

Now of course the stories pillaged here themselves pillaged and amalgamated other stories and characters. But not like this, in an undigested mess made bearable only by the marvelous special effects.

The Space Gothic hybrid of fairy tale and sci-fi combines knights in armour with 'slayers'
who ride horses but have ray guns on the hilts of their swords. .

The Beast lives in the Black Fortress, but the Fortress flies to a new site every day. The 'slayers' carry flaring torches to give them light, but their swords give off electric sparks. We have space ships and the superstitions of the 'dark forests'.

I think what provokes my strong animosity to Krull, as to Star Wars, which on one level are harmless and enjoyable entertainments, is their 'scientific' mysticism.

Technical brilliance creates a decadent collage of images which package a synthetic superstition cynically manufactured and sold like spiritual glue-sniffing kits to children and others.

Predatory on better films, too: the scene in which the "old one" perilously seeks the widow inside n giant spider's web is a rip-off from Alec Korda's wonderful 1940 version of "The Thief of Baghdad". (But then so is Darth Vadar modeled on the tall veiled black-cloaked Conrad Veidt villain of that movie)…
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