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Blu-ray Review: Ron Howard’s Beloved ‘Willow’ Hits 25 Years

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CHICAGO – I’m dating myself but I was a young, fantasy-obsessed teen when I first saw Ron Howard’s “Willow.” Revisiting it 25 years later in the newly-released Blu-ray, I was instantly stunned by how old the film looked. A lot of the physical effects, the general tone, the dialogue — it feels more like a ’70s movie than some ’80s fantasies that predate it (“Legend” and “Ladyhawke” come to mind). And a sinking feeling entered my bones. “Willow” isn’t great. Yes, it has some nostalgic charm and hardcore fans will dig the HD release but I hope you don’t have the same realization that I do that my 13-year-old self may have overrated it.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

A movie for little people that even big people want to see!” I’m not making that up. It’s part of the introduction of “The Making of an Adventure,” a 25-year-old behind-the-scenes piece that Ron Howard recorded a new introduction for on this release. Even the talking-head footage about making the movie looks dated. Howard also pops up to introduce some deleted scenes but, surprisingly, no audio track. It feels like little effort was made to bring “Willow” into the new millennium. An audio track, a retrospective look back at the film — special features like this would have off-set how old the movie feels. As it is now, the main impact that the Blu-ray of “Willow” has on this critic is to make him feel old.

Willow was released on Blu-ray on March 12, 2013
Willow was released on Blu-ray on March 12, 2013
Photo credit: MGM

Synopsis:
Journey to the far corners of your imagination with Willow, for the first time ever on Blu-ray! Now fully digitally restored, this release features a dazzling array of extras, including new, never-before-seen exclusive content.

From legendary filmmakers George Lucas and Ron Howard comes a timeless fantasy tale in which heroes come in all sizes…and adventure is the greatest magic of all. When young Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) finds an abandoned baby girl, he learns she is destined to end the reign of the wicked Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh). In order to protect the child, Willow must team up with a rogue swordsman (Val Kilmer) and overcome the forces of darkness in the ultimate battle of good versus evil!

Special Features:
o Willow: Deleted Scenes With Ron Howard
o The Making Of An Adventure With Ron Howard
o From Morf To Morphine With Dennis Muren
o Willow: An Unlikely Hero - Personal Video Diary of Warwick Davis
o Matte Paintings

“Willow” stars Warwick Davis, Val Kalmer, and Joanne Whalley. It was directed by Ron Howard. It was released on Blu-ray on March 12, 2013.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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