Thursday, January 19, 2023

Willow (2022)

I haven't heard a single word of mouth about this show, but I gotta say it isn't bad.

Huzzah, a continuation of Willow set many years after the first film with the descendants of Madmartigan and Sorsha going on a quest of their own with the aid of a hopeful future knight, a pure scoundrel adventurer, an awkward and reluctant prince, and a Nelwyn great sorcerer as new evils are gaining a foothold in the world and captured the prince of Tir Asleen. This is a bit of a tightrope series, it has both good points and bad points in it's favor, but I do actually believe this is a show that people can watch first and then go back and watch the movie, even though it has many ties to the film it does it's own story where the backstory isn't fully required. Yet I feel this was made more to engage with younger audiences moreso than fans of the film, not to it's detriment entirely but when you watch the show you do get that sense. The story is decent, it goes at a good pace over the course of 8 episodes and rarely rushes things or sidetracks severely. The characters I feel work, Willow is much older and gruffer taking on a mentor role and Warwick does mighty good with the material. Ellie Bamber as grown up Elora Danan was hedging close to my favorite character, her personality leaps from the screen and her journey to learn to be a sorceress has enough hurdles to create drama. Ruby Cruz though acting well, the character of Kit kinda drove me up the wall but strangely I never hated her, she just fell into that smartass teen angst persona and always seemed to be butting heads at every moment. Erin Kellyman was given a much better role than in Solo, playing Jade as a knight in training who has a romantic interest in Kit and has her own history and past to confront. Amar Chadha-Patel is the best damn thing in this show period, he has just such a pure scoundrel energy and in fantasy films that's a character who is hard to hate, he's very world weary but aloof and is the main comedic relief which he excels at, I almost just wanna say go watch it for him. Tony Rivelori as Graydon, I truly thought he was gonna be a huge damper being this ineffectual stumbling fool as a member of the party but he comes into his own and I was surprised to see such an arc for him so no hate there. Really the biggest facepalm moments for me stems from Kit and Jade, due to the writing in two respects. First episode they kiss, great, beautiful, they didn't pull any cocktease or should I say labia teasing stuff, they made it clear they have feelings for each other and want to be an item.....and then they act like it might as well didn't happen because they go back to this silent pleading that they want to say I love you but can't get it out and kinda clash with each other. May I fucking ask why?? This is trekking into Strange World territory of backtracking again and fuck that noise hardcore! Second, the show builds up a bit that these two are swordfighters, they spar and train together, oh boy they sure are gonna kick some ass on this here adventure by God. And then you would be wrooooooong!! I swear every fight they get into they get knocked on their asses or have to have backup to win. Have you ever heard the term tokenism? Cause you got a shitting bad case of it. But really beyond that I have no serious issues. I like the progression, I think the visuals go from real damn good to okay you guys are just showing off right now, the costuming and sets are uber rad because of the budget, it has that fun aesthetic but mixes it with a much more heavy crisis that creates this quest which I feel clashes at times but overall works good enough. The score is real nice, but the soundtrack is really goddamn weird and uncalled for in my opinion. Again, leaning towards that teen/ kids demographic. Not my cup of tea but hey man, if this gets younger generations into the fantasy genre I can't be mad at that. Maybe you could argue it's a teen drama show with magic and monsters, but I personally don't see that. It just updates the aesthetic and world of Willow for the modern age we live in, and I didn't expect anything different for good or for ill. I do wish it leaned more into the 80s feel just with modern upgrades, but a small complaint really. It still made me laugh very consistently, it was awesome seeing more of this world, the magic visuals had so much flair and style, the callbacks weren't all that much in terms of fanservice but more in continuing the story beyond the film, and it honestly got me pretty interested in what could come next season. It's a solid show with a few flaws, but nothing that can't be improved and worked upon in the future. I personally enjoyed the film more, but I give this series a solid 3 stars, 7.5/10! And the countdown has already begun for me, less than 4 months to go.

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