Krull (1983)
November 18, 2022 7:56 PM - Subscribe

A prince and a fellowship of companions set out to rescue his bride from a fortress of alien invaders who have arrived on their home planet.

On the planet of Krull, an evil creature called the Beast decimates the world's army and kidnaps the lovely Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony), who is destined to become queen. Her brave beau, Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall), leads a motley band of warriors, including Ergo (David Battley) and Kegan (Liam Neeson), to rescue his beloved. However, before he can face the Beast, Colwyn must locate a mystical weapon known as the Glaive, which he can use to slay the hideous villain.

Fernando F. Croce: Peter Yates had the noble but doomed notion of challenging George Lucas at his own game, so this was released in the summer of Return of the Jedi and promptly banished to cable purgatory. The spaceship of interplanetary conquerors wedges itself into the ground and becomes a jagged medieval fortress, the Beast is a scaly behemoth seen through fish-eye lenses, the invading troops are wailing slugs in lumbering armor. The titular planet has two suns and two warring kingdoms, joined in matrimony to defeat the invaders—the Princess (Lysette Anthony) is captured, the Prince (Ken Marshall) is joined by a sage (Freddie Jones) and bandits (Alun Armstrong, Liam Neeson, Robbie Coltrane) in heroic pursuit.

Rob Vaux: Krull is the kind of movie you see when you’re ten and become convinced is the apex of the medium. There’s giant spiders and cyclopses and a wacky guy who turns into a goose and a hero who wields a star-shaped death Frisbee called The Glaive. It’s. Just. Too. Cool.

Then fifteen years later, you give it another look and see it for the second-tier by-the-numbers fantasy filler that it is. You snicker at the overacting, groan at the corny lines and shudder at the naked Star Wars envy gleaming in the producers’ eyes.

Then ten years after that, you look at it again and still see the flaws… only now they seem quaint and charming. “Well it really was goofy,” you say to yourself, “but damn it was fun to be ten!”


Janet Maslin: Before the Princess vanishes, she and Colwyn indulge in some unexpectedly grown-up flirting, which is part of what distinguishes ''Krull'' from some of its kiddie-oriented competition. There are also characters who speak resignedly about death, and a bizarre but moving sequence about long-lost love. And the mostly British cast performs with more delicacy than the usual gee-whiz adventure film requires. However, ''Krull'' is muted and unemphatic, too. And for all its unusual touches, it doesn't fully feel like anything new.

Trailer
posted by Carillon (38 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Krull is the kind of movie you see when you’re ten and become convinced is the apex of the medium.

I was 10 when Krull came out, and I think it might have been the first pop culture thing that ever disappointed me. I'm sure there was stuff I didn't like before that, but I don't think I'd really anticipated anything before that. I knew that Krull was coming, and one day, I finally got to see it, and it was just... not that great. In any way. And dark and muddy to boot.

I wanted to like it. It failed me.
posted by Etrigan at 8:36 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


THE GLAIVE
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 9:33 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


I saw it when I was 10-11 on VHS and I loved it. Honestly I was enough of a nerd to be disappointed at what they called a glaive, but other than that, to me it was perfect.
posted by Carillon at 9:46 PM on November 18


I saw it for the first time in college, because it was a favorite of a theater friend… upon whom I had a devastating crush. Watching through his imagined ten-year-old eyes made for a fantastic time.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 10:18 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


I was a bit older than 10 when Krull came out, but I didn't get to see it. My friends and I very much wanted to, but movie-going was a rare event for us back in those days and so mostly what we had to go on were posters, advertising, and patchy oral retellings from somebody's friend of a friend who had actually seen it.

I am convinced I did eventually see it on VHS but if that's the case, I found it so unmemorable that I am not actually 100% sure that I did.

In my case, at least, 'twas better to want Krull than to have Krull.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:50 PM on November 18


Saw it when it came out, and almost immediately dismissed it as a McFantasy movie: dashing hero and heroine, motley crew of an RPG party, fugly villain, modestly unique weapon, cheesy moral about the Power of Love or something. The thing that was really fascinating, though--and something that I hadn't known at the time--is that it was marketed with a Krull-themed-wedding giveaway, and moreover, the wedding came with a week-long all-expenses-paid honeymoon in San Francisco. I'm pretty sure that I could have convinced a friend to get married just to hang out in SF for a week, after which we'd get divorced as soon as we could finagle the paperwork.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:04 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


Saw it at 13 or 14, really liked the transporting mountain castle sort of thing going on. You should check this out: Adam Savage Wields The Glaive from Krull! - YouTube, the actual 'snick' blades come out prop from the movie.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:05 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


> "Krull is the kind of movie you see when you’re ten and become convinced is the apex of the medium ... Then fifteen years later, you give it another look and see it for the second-tier by-the-numbers fantasy filler that it is."

Yeah, that was pretty much my experience.
posted by kyrademon at 2:18 AM on November 19


I rewatched it for the first time in forever when the Rifftrax boys got a hold of it in theaters several years ago. The hero was very much a blander version of your standard Errol Flynn mold, but he looked mighty familiar. I later IMDb'd him and found my man soon lost that lovely head of hair and joined Starfleet only to drop out again and infuriate Sisko on DS9.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 3:57 AM on November 19 [3 favorites]


There were 2 video games licensed from the movie Krull. The arcade game was much better than the Atari 2600 game.
posted by mikelieman at 5:44 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Well.

I was closer to ten than to being fifteen years older when it came out. I saw it opening night (and not since) and was somewhere between the two sketched-out reactions: not bad, but I could see the seams and zippers and would probably have liked it more at ten. There was a spate of mediocre fantasy movies in that era — The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire, Hawk the Slayer, etc. I suppose Excalibur was top-shelf product, and that arose from John Boorman’s founders plans to do a Lord of the Rings adaptation to overshadow Bakshi’s weird-ass animated one. (If young me had been shown the Peter Jackson LOTR movies via time-travel hijinks, I would have had an erection that lasted through grad school.)

I was enough of a D&D geek that I knew what a glaive actually was, so having the name applied to the spiky death Frisbee was a bit annoying; in the other hand, I do not recall Neeson or Armstrong or Coltrane at all, and I had no clue that Ken Marshall would reappear on my screen as Michael Eddington fifteen years later.

I may have to go look again.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:02 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that I could have convinced a friend to get married just to hang out in SF for a week, after which we'd get divorced as soon as we could finagle the paperwork.

"You were married before?"

"Yeah. In 1983."

"Wow. You were pretty young. Can I ask what prompted you?"

"Promotional thing from Columbia Pictures."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:07 AM on November 19 [7 favorites]


"Yeah, I'm still friends with the 'ex.' Matter of fact, she DJs under the name 'Krullex.'"
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:43 AM on November 19 [6 favorites]


I was eighteen when this came out, and I was not impressed by it. Sure, you can count me among the D&D nerds who did not approve of the glaive's name, but that wasn't the main thing. I just didn't find it compelling or all that interesting.

I'd probably enjoy it more now, just for the nostalgia value.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 7:57 AM on November 19


FUCK YES KRULL
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:16 AM on November 19 [3 favorites]



"Yeah, I'm still friends with the 'ex.' Matter of fact, she DJs under the name 'Krullex.'"


*chef's kiss*

Reading about Krull on Wikipedia, I see the swamp scenes were filmed on the 007 Stage at Pinewood, notable as one of the largest soundstages in the world.

I have a curious fascination with locations of filming (long evident on the site) and am enchanted that the swamp here was previously the Fortress of Solitude in 1978, the streets of Metropolis in 1980, a dragon's lair in 1981, and will subsequently be the Batcave in 1989, a blast furnace on Fury 161 where Ripley cashes in in 1992, a vampire theater in 1994, a Chunnel train in 1996, a Louvre gallery in 2006, a Greek fishing village in 2008, an Antarctic ziggurat in 2012, a space casino in 2017, and as the name suggests, a location for set pieces for every (post-Lazenby) James Bond (1977-2021).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:30 AM on November 19 [6 favorites]


As happened more than once in the 1980s, this came and went so fast that little kid me was barely aware of its existence at all...but the comics adaptation found its way to me via a secondhand shop or a thrift store or something. I thought it looked amazing, although word trickled back to me that it kind of sucked as a film. I didn't actually see the movie until a few years ago! It's...interesting.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:40 AM on November 19


(If young me had been shown the Peter Jackson LOTR movies via time-travel hijinks, I would have had an erection that lasted through grad school.)

A ha! A solution to the declining birth rate among silicon valley tech bros! We must get Elon Musk working on a way to send movies back in time right away!

(that story would be better than Krull, if admittedly not as much fun)</small)
posted by Naberius at 2:09 PM on November 19


Yeah, around 10 when this came out. The consensus among my peer group was that the glaive was underused after so much buildup, but we all thought it was cool as shit. My mom took me to see it and she got mad at me for covering my eyes when I was scared of The Beast (she was like "If I have to watch this dumb movie then you're going to watch it too.")

I've seen it since, and it was ok. Better than say, Megaforce, another big favourite among my friends at the time. If it was streaming for free I might put it on right now but I don't think I'd pay for it.
posted by rodlymight at 2:11 PM on November 19


I was 11 when it came out, but I think I saw it on video or cable later. The arcade game was sweet, though, and it’s pretty fun to see Liam Neeson early in his career. It’s probably better than Hawk the Slayer.
posted by rikschell at 2:45 PM on November 19


THE GLAIVE

It was recently up for auction! (link goes to Adam Savage geeking out over it)
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:03 PM on November 19


Better than say, Megaforce, another big favourite among my friends at the time. If it was streaming for free I might put it on right now but I don't think I'd pay for it.

Ugh. Likewise. Megaforce was released on June 25, 1982, and I was there opening night. Other movies released on June 25, 1982 include The Thing and Blade Runner, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about teenage me's tastes.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:31 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


I did a deep dive on Krull a while back for a RPG thing, and I ended up going through all of the Krull ephemera I could find. There isn't much - Krull doesn't have a particularly big cultural presence.

Alan Dean Foster did the novelization. A little dull, pretty much just a recap of the plot. I picked up the paperback for a song.

Marvel rushed out a short comic version. Here's an overview.

Parker Brothers released a Krull board game (here’s a review). The contents of the game are available on the Internet Archive. It doesn’t look particularly fun, but apparently, it came with collectible figures for Prince Colwyn and the Beast. The Glaive dice look particularly interesting.

There was a Krull video game released in the same year as the movie. You can actually play the MAME version at the Internet Archive.

I could only find one example of Krull fan fiction - https://archiveofourown.org/works/800831. There's a bit of a twist ending.
posted by Norton Glover at 3:59 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


It’s probably better than Hawk the Slayer.

The hell it is.
posted by biffa at 4:12 PM on November 19


Pick up the pieces of your weapon: The Glaive.

Avoid all boulders.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:39 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


I was 10sh when Krull came out and you know I thought it was great. But I also thought a lot of those fantasy and sci-fi from that time were great (looking at you Metalstorm & Archer: Fugitive from the Empire & Beastmaster). For whatever reason, Krull was ubiquitous on Canadian pay television free weekends so I saw it MANY MANY times. I remember one free pay TV weekend and all the boys in my grade were making Glaives out of the popsicle sticks from the art closet on the Monday. So I have a soft spot for Krull and the fantasy films of the 80s. In my defence, I was the kind of kid (and adult for that matter) who would keep meticulous lists and scour TV listings searching for films that might offer the dopamine hit I was looking for.

So I hadn't watched Krull in a long time and then in the mid 90s for reasons that are complicated I had access to a Laser Disc player. Weirdly there was one store in town that still rented them and one of the films they had on LD was Krull. As I watched it - yeah camp, kind of bad, etc. but one thing I hadn't realised in my previous viewings of the film was how WIDE it is - it has a 2.39 : 1 aspect ratio! Crazy. Maybe you don't care but there's loads of information lost on Pan & Scan TV and VHS prints. I was really surprised.

Biggest complaint about the film that I had when I was a kid and adult me had - NOT ENOUGH GLAIVE! If it was me I'd be using the Glaive constantly. Cyclops looks at you funny? Trim his top. Hey Torquil need a shave? Glaive time. Loose thread? Glaive. Hey this rodent we're roasting is pretty tough, time for the ultimate carving tool - the Glaive.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:45 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]




Krull is the kind of movie you see when you’re ten a stoned college student and become convinced is the apex of the medium ...

At least until you wake up the next morning.
posted by octothorpe at 5:38 AM on November 20


PRODUCER: Okay, we need a sci-fi fantasy, real crazy star wars stuff. What you got, kid?
WRITER: Uh, it's called, uh, "Skull". There's a prince, and, uh, a space monster steals the princess, and--
PRODUCER: Let's speed this up a bit. Here, kid, catch. [tosses writer a kilogram of cocaine]

--- THREE HOURS LATER ---

WRITER: so then there's like a giant HOURGLASS filled with COCAINE and if the COCAINE EVER RUNS OUT like even for a second then a GIANT CRYSTAL SPIDER comes to EAT YOUR HEAD and
PRODUCER: TELL ME AGAIN ABOUT WHEN I TURN INTO A TIGER
posted by phooky at 6:49 AM on November 20 [8 favorites]


Ugh. Likewise. Megaforce was released on June 25, 1982, and I was there opening night. Other movies released on June 25, 1982 include The Thing and Blade Runner, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about teenage me's tastes.

You had plenty of company. The Thing and Blade Runner tanked, not just commercially, but critics hated them too. They say ancient people would be strange to us, with totally different, incomprehensible modes of thought, and I never really bought it, you read The Iliad or something and it all seems very relatable. But the people of 1982? Aliens.
posted by rodlymight at 7:59 AM on November 20 [4 favorites]


The Thing and Blade Runner tanked, not just commercially, but critics hated them too. They say ancient people would be strange to us, with totally different, incomprehensible modes of thought, and I never really bought it, you read The Iliad or something and it all seems very relatable. But the people of 1982? Aliens.

That seems to have been true as long as there's been movies. It's a game of sorts to sift through the list of Oscar winners for each year and see the number of forgotten movies that won over classics. Look how long it took Scorsese to win a real Oscar and not one of those lifetime achievement consolation prizes.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:18 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


I'm watching Silent Night, Deadly Night when what to my wondering eyes should appear but Krull: The Board Game? I wonder how many of these went unsold in the Christmas season of 1983?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:06 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


I got that board game for Christmas in ‘83! We played it quite a few times. I don’t think it was terrible for a mass-market movie tie-in of that era, but I certainly wouldn’t play it now.

Okay, maybe once or twice for pure nostalgia.
posted by fimbulvetr at 4:24 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]


Also, we watched Krull a bunch of times on VHS or something back in the early ‘80s and I haven’t seen it since. Probably would be a bad idea to watch it now because there is no way it could not be disappointing.
posted by fimbulvetr at 4:29 PM on November 20


Meh. It's no Beastmaster.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:42 PM on November 20


Better than say, Megaforce

How dare you.
posted by hanov3r at 11:03 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


I feel like this was marketed in Germany as being the next Star Wars but Fantasy! I remember I was really excited for it and then very dismayed, like, what is going on? It's fantasy, I love ALL fantasy, this is MY thing, how can I be bored?

That was certainly a learning experience.
posted by Ashenmote at 5:44 AM on November 22


I can't believe no one's mentioned the Fire Mares sequence. I'm fond of this movie and like most 091521of it but you get a herd of CLYDESDALES galloping around, you have won my heart.
posted by The otter lady at 6:29 PM on November 22


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