Willow (1988) rewatch – Part 26

Rewatching the 1988 movie Willow scene-by-scene. Why? Because it’s freakin’ Willow! We’re officially halfway through the movie! 1:02:44 to 1:05:17 on the Blu-ray.

There’s a George Lucas wipe from the previous scene, and we’re back to an establishing shot of the fishing village. Then we see Willow holding baby Elora Danan with Fin Raziel, in possum form, on Willow’s shoulder. Raziel says, “It is Elora Danan. Isn’t she beautiful?” In the Willow novelization and graphic novel, Raziel adds “At last, earth and sky rejoin.” This baffling line was wisely cut from the movie, because it doesn’t coincide with what we know of the prophecy about Elora Danan. Maybe it’s just a common expression in this world. Instead, the movie just has Raziel say “Isn’t she beautiful?” a second time.

Then it’s time for comic relief with the Brownies. Rool says, “That’s Raziel?” Franjean says, “I don’t know. I expected something more grand. Less…” And Rool concludes, “Fuzzy?” The question here is, why didn’t Cherlindrea inform the Brownies that Raziel had been transformed into a possum? Did Cherlindrea not know, because she cannot leave her forest? Or did Cherlindrea assume that was not pertinent information?

Raziel says to Willow, “You must use the wand. Turn me back into my human form.” Willow asks, “What do I do?” There’s a pause, and Raziel says, “You mean you’re not a sorcerer?” There’s another pause, and Willow says “Yes. Sort of. I’m a farmer.” The Brownies roll their eyes and throw their spears to the ground in an I-give-up gesture. Have those two really been thinking Willow is a powerful sorcerer this whole time?

Willow continues, “But I do know a few tricks.” Raziel’s next line is nearly impossible to understand. According to the Blu-ray’s subtitles, she’s saying, “Tricks? Cherlindrea sent you? You must learn real magic.” The tie-in books skip over how Raziel and Cherlindrea know each other. In the books, Raziel’s teacher was a sorcerer named Vulsant. Although Vulsant was somehow bewitched by Bavmorda when she overthrew Tir Asleen, he died of natural causes. As for Raziel, we can probably assume that young Raziel traveled the world while learning magic when she was younger, meeting Cherlindrea along the way.

A horse is heard in the distance, and the Brownies both cry out, “Horses!” Does their size mean they can sense the horses’ hoofbeats approaching before the others can? Willow picks up the baby and is about to make a run for it, with Raziel saying “Quick! Take her! Hurry! Hurry!” They’re not quick enough, though, because a bunch of NockMaar soldiers ride up. They have a still-shirtless Madmartigan riding alongside them. Franjean points at Madmartigan and says, “I knew he was a traitor.” He yells the word “traitor” for emphasis.

Madmartigan coldly and flatly says, “Sorry about this, Peck.” The NockMaar soldier next to him says, “Keep your mouth shut,” and then punches Madmartigan so hard that Madmartigan falls off his horse. This NockMaar is a red beard, which has occasionally confused some first-time viewers into thinking this is Airk from earlier, but no, Airk won’t pop up again until later. The NockMaar says “I told you we’d find them without your help,” revealing that Madmartigan didn’t betray Willow.

Willow tries to run, but the NockMaar, now very quickly off his horse, runs up to him and says “Give me baby.” Willow cries “No!” and tries to get away. There’s a shot of Madmartigan looking concerned, and then the NockMaar succeeds in forcing the baby out of Willow’s arms. A second NockMaar chases after Raziel, grabbing her by the tail. She cries, “Leave me alone! Don’t touch me!” You’d think that if she hadn’t spoken, maybe the soldiers would have let her go, mistaking her for an ordinary possum. Or perhaps Bavmorda filled them in, telling them to capture both the baby and the possum.

Then Sorsha rides up. While the baby cries, she and another soldier check the baby’s arm. “This is the one we’re looking for,” she says. “We must take it back to NockMaar.” Then we see the solider who caught Raziel stuff her into a sack. This is followed by another shot of Madmartigan, still on the ground, looking really angry. Sorsha has a nicely menacing moment when she leans over and says to Madmartigan, “Lose your skirt?” Madmartigan slowly stands and walks over to her, eventually coming back with “I still got what counts.” Sorsha has an even better comeback, “Not for long.” Then we get the famous bit where she kicks him right in the face. Notice that she has to take a few seconds to shift her weight somewhat in order to pull off the kick while on horseback, but it’s still a sweet kick.

Madmartigan is knocked back, but stays on his feet. He and Sorsha glare at each other for a moment, and then she says to the other soldiers, “Bring him.” A soldier grabs hold of Madmartigan and pushes him along. Another soldier grabs hold of Willow and forces him along as well, saying “Over here!” Why are the soldiers taking Madmartigan and Willow captive instead of just killing them? The text doesn’t say. Perhaps Bavmorda wishes to question them about what they learned about Elora Danan.

There’s a shot of the soldiers riding off, only for the camera to pan downward to reveal the Brownies running up, having been left behind. Out of breath, Rool says, “We’ll never keep up with those horses.” Franjean, still acting like the leader, says, “Then we will have to track them.” Rool says “That would take forever. Besides, even if we find them, they’ll catch us, stick us in cages, torture us, and finally devour us.” Franjean says, “Are you suggesting we go home?” Rool is quick to answer, “Nah. This is more fun.” With a big smile, Franjean says, “All right, fine then. Come on.” They walk off in the direction of the horses. Not only is this a nutty joke to end the scene, but it’s consistent with what we know about the Brownies from the tie-in books. Because they live for hundreds of years, they get into mischief, often dangerously, simply to prevent boredom. What’s more of an unknown, however, is Rool’s belief that they will be devoured. We know the Daikini consider the Brownies to be like vermin, but are they really eating the Brownies? Or is Rool merely exaggerating? Let’s not find out.

Next: “It wasn’t always like this. I had a life once. A job.”


Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.


About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH. amazon.com/dp/B00859NDJ8
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