This it was given me to know, that many worlds have been enslaved by the Beast and his army, the Slayers. And this too was given me to know, that the beast would come to our world, the world of Krull, and his Black Fortress would be seen in the land, that the smoke of burning villages would darken the sky, and the cries of the dying would echo through deserted valleys. But one thing I cannot know, whether the prophecy be true, that a girl of ancient name shall become queen, that she shall choose a king, and that together they shall rule our world, and that their son shall rule the galaxy.
Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony
) and Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall
), over the objection of their fathers (like Disney
, mothers are absent here), plan to marry to cement an alliance between their two kingdoms to overcome an ancient enmity and untie to fight the forces of the Beast. Otherwise, the planet Krull is doomed. That and they really can’t wait for the wedding night. So after the wedding ceremony, featuring the clashing of shields and swords, hokey vows, and stage magician tricks like flaming hands, the Slayers attack and kill everyone but Colwyn, who is knocked unconscious, and kidnap Lyssa. The Slayers’ weapons are pretty cool looking, they act as energy weapons, but seem to be limited to one or two shots, at which point they are used as swords. When the Slayers die, they emit a burst of electricity
and a high pitched squeal, after which a slug looking thing emerges from the cranium and burrows into the ground. Ew.
An old guy named Ynyr (Freddie Jones
) wanders by and tends to the wounded Colwyn. He plays the part of the resident Obi-Wan
, and tells Colwyn what he has to do for the rest of the movie. Step one is to get the glaive
for "double-edged sword
"), a powerful weapon which is the ancient symbol of his kingdom, and the cool looking starfish
shaped thing that’s on all the movie pictures and merchandise. To retrieve the glaive one must pass a difficult test to prove your worthiness, which involves a lot of mountain climbing and… well, that’s about it.
Next, they recruit some allies. First is a near-useless magic trickster named Ergo (David Battley
) who can turn himself into frightening creatures such as geese and beagles and provides comic relief
. Naturally, as such things go, he proves himself in the end. Then they meet up with a band of thieves, nine escaped criminals who join the quest to become cannon fodder
. They are led by Torquin (Alun Armstrong
) and their number includes Kegan (Liam Nesson
in only his third screen role). Their most powerful ally is a Cyclops
). The race of Cyclopes once made a deal with the Beast and gave up one of their eyes in exchange for the ability to see the future. But the Beast betrayed them and they were only granted the ability to see the time of their own death. If they choose not to accept their fated death, they will die anyway, but in a seriously painful way, a sacrifice which of course this Cyclops will end up making. Naturally, the Cyclopes are a melancholy sort who harbor a great hatred of the Beast and his minions.
Now this motley band must infiltrate the Black Fortress, rescue Lyssa, and slay the Beast, which takes them about ten minutes. But first they must find the Black Fortress, which disappears and reappears in a different location every day. First, they recruit a seer
and his servant boy. The seer can divine the location, but he has to do it in some swamp, the only location he can counteract the Beast’s power. But they fuck that up and get the seer killed, so Ynyr must make a great sacrifice by contacting his old flame, the Widow of the Web (Francesca Annis
). In a very Ray Harryhausen
-esque scene, Ynyr makes it past the big white spider, but both the Widow and Ynyr give up their lives to give Colwyn the location of the Black Fortress for that day, the Iron Desert.
Problem is that the Iron Desert is a thousand league
s away, but they lasso up a group of swift fire mares for the journey. They are surprisingly tame for such strong and swift animals, and they leave a cool looking trail of fire in their wake. Naturally, they reach the Black Fortress just in time. The Cyclops, who had stayed behind to embrace his fated death, arrives also in the nick of time. While the rest of the band is pinned down by Slayer fire, he forces his way into the fortress, but painfully sacrifices his life in the process.
While all this crap has been going on, the Beast has been unsuccessfully trying to convince Lyssa to marry him. You might wonder why such a powerful leader might need a woman from a backwoods planet to marry him, or any woman at all really. You might wonder why he wouldn’t marry a less stubborn woman who would be more easily seduced by power. It all has something to do with that prophecy
Anyway, finally, finally
Colwyn whips out the glaive, which he’d been holding in reserve as his band was killed left and right, because Ynyr told him to save it for his time of greatest need. In a rather anticlimactic scene, he cuts the Beast down to size. But the Beast will not be subdued, until Colwyn starts shooting that wedding flame out of his hand. The power of love. Groan.
The Black Fortress is destroyed, Ergo finally turns himself into something useful, Torquin becomes Colwyn’s Lord Marshall, and Colwyn and Lyssa walk of into the sunset to sire a kid who will rule the galaxy
. Left unexplained is how the ruler of a planet where they still ride horses can rule the galaxy, even with the starfish weapon.
Make no mistake, nostalgia is the reason I and my friends enjoy this film, not because of the few inherent merits of the flick. The hokeyness factor is extremely high, but it isn’t howlingly bad like something along the lines of Plan 9 From Outer Space
. Instead, it is merely blandly derivative. You will watch this film with an extreme sense of deja vu
, because literally everything you see here you’ve seen somewhere else – it rips off more movies than The Phantom Menace
does. You know exactly what will happen and who will live and who will die. Even the music is familiar, because it is pretty much exactly like the music James Horner
composed for other films released around the same time, like the early Star Trek
It’s out on DVD
now, if you believe that. Enjoy.