Watching the 1988 movie Willow scene-by-scene. Why? Because it’s freakin’ Willow! It’s time to meet the title character and get the plot rolling, 5:46-7:14 on the Blu-ray.
Before going any farther, here’s what comprises the entirety of the Willow canon:
– The movie (duh.)
– The novelization by Wayland Drew, which contains scenes not filmed and backstories about characters and their world.
– The Marvel Comics Willow adaptation by Jo Duffy, Bob Hall, and Romeo Tanghal. The comic also has scenes not filmed, and alternate dialogue.
– The Willow Sourcebook by Allen Varney. This massive role-playing game manual goes into ridiculous detail about the creatures, magic spells, and locations from Willow. The maps of the various locations are quite interesting.
– Chronicles of the Shadow War three-novel trilogy, allegedly co-written by George Lucas and Chris Claremont. Opinions are mixed on these, with many suspecting they were either ghost-written, or originally written as standalone non-Willow fantasy books. They’re much more grim and serious than the swashbuckling fun of Willow, and not many characters from the books appear. They are nonetheless considered part of the lore, so we can’t ignore them.
– The Willow Ufgood Wikia, found at willowufgood.wikia.com, is a fan-made site, but it’s still a quick n’ easy way to dive deep into Willow lore.
Back to the movie. The baby, in her makeshift carriage, has washed up onto a riverbank. The baby looks around, spots a yellow bird, and then the camera pans down to two smiling children. I suppose the idea is that the camera is mimicking the natural movements of the baby’s eyes.
The kids, as we’re about to learn, are Ranon and Mims. Ranon runs off, crying “Dada! Dada!” Mims just stands there quietly. She’s holding a doll, and she makes the hands click together as if it’s applauding. We cut to our hero, Willow Ufgood, working a field at his farm. There is a pig pulling the equipment, in place of horses or oxen. The comic adaptation has several references to him seeding the field, but in this scene he’s quite obviously plowing it. In the background we can see some more animals and a penned off area, and what looks like a small windmill, for some of that clever pre-industrial tech. Ranon says they’ve found something in the river (he doesn’t say what) and Willow insists that he’s working and can’t play right now. Ranon insists. While smiles, and gives in. This shows right away that he’s a good-natured family-man type.
Willow and Ranon catch up with Mims, who is still staring at the baby. There’s a jokey line where Willow says of the baby, “Don’t go near it. You don’t know where it’s been.” The joke doesn’t quite land, but, after the dark opening scene, it’s the audience’s first indication that this will be a humorous fantasy adventure.
Mims remarks that it’s just a baby, but Willow offers that it’s a Daikini baby, explaining that Daikini are “giants who live far away.” Okay, so in this movie all the little people are called Nelwyns and everyone five to seven feet tall are called Daikini. Does this mean that, because this is a fantasy world, the Nelwyn and Daikini are two different species, or is “Daikini” merely the Nelwyns’ word for taller folk? While the wikia site has separate entries for Daikini and Nelwyn under “species.” The Willow Sourcebook, however, states that “Daikini” is merely a Nelwyn word for tall.
The kids are enamored by the baby with a typical “Can we keep it?” but Willow somehow knows this is trouble. He suggests pushing the baby farther downstream and forgetting they ever saw it, which seems awfully harsh for the guy we just saw being a playful dad. A voice in the background shouts “Ufgood! Willow Ufgood!” This is a nice detail letting us know our hero’s name. (I hate fantasy/sci-fi movies that never say the main characters’ names.) Willow says “It’s the prefect,” and we get that this means trouble. He tells the kids to keep the baby quiet and not to touch it. (Not sure how they can do that.) He hurries back to the field, while the kids turn their attention back to the baby.
Next: Burglin’ with Burglekutt.
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