Ever notice how similar films are becoming these days? Is this a recent thing, or are we to continue suffering through the same plots over and over again simply because producers are unwilling to toss the dice at risqué new films?
Several years ago, the box office was hit with a huge trilogy chronicling the travels of a young hobbit named Frodo. Yes, I speak of the ever famous three part series, "Lord of the Rings."
As the last part of the third hour of the third film finally cut to black, I thought to myself: "I've seen this film before. But where?" For weeks, I wracked my brain trying to remember what film I had seen in my youth that played so heavily on the same theme.
And then it came to me! It was the 1988 classic, WILLOW.
And so I bring to you not only the proof that these two movies are one in the same, but that Willow was far more efficient, and entertaining than the 11 hours of the Lord of the Rings.
1) Real "little people": Unlike LotR, Willow producers utilized real 'little people' for their production, giving the town of dwarves.
2) Val Kilmer: Any way you look at it, Val Kilmer is more skilled than Viggo Mortensen. Whether it be in roles as spies, rugged men with swords, or alphabetically, Val will always come first.
3) Not 11 hours long: This demonstrates how efficient Willow was in comparison. What Willow did in 126 minutes, was mirrored by LotR in 682 minutes (extended versions).
4) Same storyline, better payoff: In the end, both of these stories are about "something that's desired by an evil monarch", both heroes find air in semi-washed up actors that are in need of a shave, both involve minor roles for women, both involve wizards, and both conclude back in a shire-esque countryside. The thing with Willow: we didn't waste nearly 30 dollars in theatres to see it, and can make use of the 9 and a half extra hours we have left over.
5) Cute babies are better than crappy rings: In Willow, the main character must protect a child princess from the clutches of an evil queen. In LotR, the main character must protect a piece of gold from a formless eyeball. Bah!
6) Magical Catfight: In LotR, we are privileged to see a senior citizen wizard fight, but only once, and in the first of the three films. Never again do we get to see such a fight. In Willow, two senior citizens fight as well, but they're women, and snarl and cackle. That's way better than being fake-punched by magic.
7) More realistic love scenes: LotR relied very heavily on the books, audiences were confused about several of the love stories. They seemed tacked on, campy and unnecessary. In Willow, the love story was simple and comical: Val Kilmer spouting love poetry. Plus… if we were all forced to witness a love scene, and we were given the option between Val Kilmer and Viggo Mortensen, I believe we'd all pick the former.
8) Willow's partner was a warrior; Frodo's partner was an emotional farmer. I don't think this one needs much explaining. The lead in speaks for itself.
9) No Orlando Bloom. Yes, Willow had tacked on stars. But even at their worst, none of these actors could compare to the regrettably poor acting skills of Orlando Bloom.
10) Disappearing pig trick save the universe. Frodo saves the world by successfully bringing the ring back to Mordor, and dropping it (unwillingly) into the lava below. Whoop-dee-do. We just spent 10 hours watching his travels, and 7 seconds of it melting. Willow leaves us with a much better taste in our mouths. Willow saves the universe by protecting the baby princess by utilizing his famous "disappearing pig trick." What could be more satisfying than tricking a stubborn old witch hag with a simple pig trick? All we got in LotR was the eyeball falling to the ground, and special effects trying to make up for the audience feeling scammed.
Well there you have it: why Willow was only the same movie as LotR, but better and more efficient.