Rewatching the 1988 movie Willow scene-by-scene. Why? Because it’s freaking Willow! Gentlemen, meet Llug: 43:53-48:58 on the Blu-ray.
We begin with Willow and the baby in the rain, walking out from behind some trees and coming across a three-story building. The wiki merely defines this as a roadside tavern, not giving it a proper name. There’s a lot of activity out front, with people and animals walking about, and a large crate being lifted up to the second floor balcony via some sort of pulley system. Willow looks down at the baby, and then Franjean pops up from inside Willow’s backpack, saying “We are not going in there.” Willow argues that the baby needs fresh milk, and that they’re drenched. Franjean insists that he’s in charge, calling Willow “shorty,” and Willow’s having none of it. He walks toward the tavern.
Cut to inside, where Willow walks up some stairs with festive violin music playing. There are a lot of people inside, and a lot of activity. It’s hard to tell, but it appears two of the people are fighting. Behind Willow, someone has brought a white pony inside the building. Willow makes his way through the room, as two gruff, mustachioed men frown down at him. There’s a funny reaction of shot of the baby staring back at them, wide-eyed. Willow moves forward, and next sees a bald man with a red snake tattoo on his arm. This man is leaning forward with his head resting against a table, probably to suggest he’d been drinking.
Willow tries to get the attention of two women, one of whom has long bone-like attachments in her hair. He asks the women for milk for the baby, and one says “Get out of here, peck!” and throws some lettuce from a nearby bowl in his face. More follow suit, with everybody throwing lettuce at Willow and shouting at him. Willow walks past a staircase which, oddly, appears to be in the center of the room. He kneels down next to it, out of harm’s way.
The two Brownies pop their heads of Willow’s backpack, and notice a pretty Daikini woman nearby. “Look at her,” Rool says. “I could use a love potion on her. Franjean, give me the Dust of Broken Hearts. Come on.” Rool reaches for a pouch around Franjean’s neck, and there’s some slaptick of the two of them fighting over it. Franjean says the dust is “very dangerous” and that it belongs to the fairies.
A small amount of the dust falls on Rool’s face, and he falls out of Willow’s backpack. The dust glows bright yellow. Willow asks the Brownies to be quiet, saying “Do you want to get us killed?” Rool, still with the glowing dust floating around his head, hits the floor and rubs his eyes. Franjean says, “Rool, always playing with those fairy love potions.” I believe this is the first time Rool’s name is said in the movie. This also establishes that Rool has messed around the dust before, suggesting that it hasn’t gone well in the past. I’ll discuss the Dust of Broken Hearts in more detail when it comes up again later in the movie.
We then see a cat walk into frame, next to a huge animal skull. This of course leads to a comedy bit where Rool falls in love with the cat, saying it is beautiful. He praises the cat’s eyes and whiskers and moves forward to kiss it. The cat hisses at him, which somehow makes fly straight up into the air, so he lands on a counter of some sort. There’s even more slapstick as he stumbles around and falls into a mug full of liquid. He pokes his head back out, spits out some of the liquid, and cheers, “Beer!” He laughs and starts swimming around in the beer, which is pretty disgusting.
There’s more rowdy behavior from the tavern patrons, where two men on two other men’s shoulders hit each other with flails. One of the men falls near Willow, conveniently knocking him, the baby, and Franjean through a loose board into the next room. There’s more activity in this room, as a panicking woman is running around saying, “If my husband catches you, he’ll kill us both!” The camera pans over to reveal Madmartigan… in a pink dress.
Willow says “Not you!” and Madmartigan asks “Where the hell did you come from?” Like Star Wars before it, here is another fantasy universe that throws the word “hell” around casually. Willow says “I trusted you!” Franjean recognizes Madmartigan and informs everyone that he stole the baby from Madmartigan while Madmartigan was, um, relieving himself. (The movie uses cruder language.) This sort of explains how the Brownies brought the baby to Cherlindrea, but it makes Madmartigan look like a real jerk for hanging out with this woman in a tavern instead of searching for the baby.
The woman instructs Madmartigan to cover his face, and Madmartigan points out that Willow is “crawling with Brownies.” The woman shrieks and says she hates Brownies. So this establishes that the Brownies have visited this place before, which in turn explains how the Brownies know what beer is.
A huge man enters the room, knocking Willow to the side with the door, demanding “Where is he?” This is Llug. The woman is his wife. Her name is not revealed, and the script unfortunately just calls her “the wench.” The wench says there’s no one but her and her “cousin Hilda,” referring to Madmartigan in drag. We get reaction shots of Willow and the baby being incredulous about this. Llug and his wife even get some backstory in the tie-in books. She didn’t want to marry him, but he sat on her (!) until she agreed to. As seen in the movie, Llug’s whole philosophy is that the husband can sleep around all he wants, but the wife must remain faithful. Classy guy, our Llug.
The wench says “this is my husband, Llug.” Madmartigan, in a comedic female voice says, “Big husband.” Llug’s demeanor switches immediately from rage to lust, and he gets all predatory towards “Hilda.” When Llug starts getting grabby, Madmartigan snatches the baby out of Willow’s hands, making a crack about Willow being a nursemaid. Willow reaches for the baby, but Madmartigan kicks him to the floor. Madmartigan again comes across as a real jerk in this scene. There’s a quick bit where Rool enters, asking if this is a party, only for Willow to pick him up. Llug gets right up into “Hilda’s” face and simply asks, “Wanna breed?” Not subtle, our Llug. “Hilda” answers with, “Tempting, but no.”
Madmartigan backs up to the door and is about to make an escape when it opens, and several black-clad soldiers enter. We see the soldiers rounding up everyone in the tavern, including Madmartigan, Willow, Llug, and the wench. The camera pushes in close on Madmartigan’s face, as he realizes what’s going on and how the serious the situation is. Sorsha is there, checking another baby for the mark on its arm. “That’s not the one,” she says. Willow then reacts, realizing that this one of the head bad guys.
Sorsha approaches “Hilda” and asks if she’s the mother. “Hilda” says yes. Sorsha demands to see the baby. Willow steps in between them and says “No, don’t let her.” This is a bold move on Willow’s part, seeing as how Sorsha and the other guards are all armed to the teeth. Sorsha kicks Willow to the floor (that’s twice in one scene he’s been kicked). Sorsha says, “I gave you an order, woman.” She reaches for the baby again, but Madmartigan pushes her back. This causes the other soldiers to draw their swords on him.
Sorsha removes her helmet, and Madmartigan gazes at her, wide-eyed. He breaks character and says, “You’re beautiful.” She, however, has him all figured out, saying “And you’re very strong.” There are a couple of seconds of tense silence, after which Sorsha removes the scarf from Madmartigan’s face and announces “You’re no woman!” Madmartigan smirks, as if he already knows what’s about to happen.
Cut to Llug and his wife. Llug immediately freaks out, shouting “Not a woman? Not a woman?” As if he planned this from the start, Madmartigan quips, “Gentlemen, meet Llug.” Llug takes a swing a Madmartigan, who ducks out of the way, causing Llug to punch one of the guards instead. This causes everyone else to start fighting the guards, with everyone running around and fighting like crazy, setting up for one of the movie’s most elaborate action scenes.
Next: Runaway cart.
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.