February 7, 2012

FILMS THAT SHOULD BE MADE: Legend Prequel/Sequel

We've been seeing a renaissance of fairy tale/fantasy films being made within the last couple of years. Recent ones include Snow White And The Huntsman, The Hobbit, Arthur And Lancelot, Oz The Great And Powerful and Maleficent. It would be nice to see a non-story based fantasy film make their way into theaters. Projects that come to mind are the original 80's films like Willow and Legend. It's unlikely that we'll see George Lucas ever try to recapture the success of Willow considering he's now retiring from large scale film making. The latter film on the other hand could be ripe for a sequel or prequel with Ridley Scott making Prometheus and a new Blade Runner film.

Legend while unsuccessful when it first was released quickly became a cult favorite on home video. Easily one of the best examples of the fantasy genre and would be a major influence on Peter Jackson's Lord of The Rings trilogy and Hobbit films. While we'll be getting two Hobbit films they will likely be the end of the Tolkien films. I think returning to the world of Legend could be a great way to continue the Tolkien lore. It would be interesting to see Ridley return to the fantasy genre the same way he's revisiting science fiction.

Ridley originally wrote Legend with author William Hjortsberg the two wrote so much that the script went into 15 revisions. Instead of developing a film based on a fairy tale or novel the two created a somewhat original story based around a beast like villain (influenced by Beauty And The Beast) and a quest with magical elements. A large majority of the script was scaled back because it was too lengthy, hugely expensive and impractical in size/scope. A non-issue these days with films pushing budgets to $200-300 million and digital aids like CGI. The original quest was trimmed and characters were limited due to time and budget. Apparently the original script had envisioned thousands of characters that would need makeup effects not unlike Jackson's massive hordes of Goblins/Orcs. The number was scaled back when make up artist Rob Bottin (The Howling, The Thing) signed onto the project. Bottin and his team helped bring to life iconic characters like Darkness, Meg Mucklebones and Blix the goblin.

Universal Pictures financed and distributed the first film when it was originally released. The studio recently made Snow And The Huntsman a dark fairy tale epic with a similar tone of Legend. There seems to be enough unused material that they could pursue another film, be it a prequel or even a sequel. Many characters and subplots were unexplored that could help create the bones of a new film. Casting might not be too much of an issue as Tom Cruise seems willing to keep making large genre films with All You Need Is Kill and Horizons/Oblivion about to go into production. Even if Ridley decides to only produce directors like Guillermo del Toro, Duncan Jones and Rupert Sanders could do the source material justice.

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