Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Yates|
|Produced by||Ron Silverman|
|Written by||Stanford Sherman|
|Music by||James Horner|
|Editing by||Ray Lovejoy|
|Studio||Barclays Mercantile Industrial Finance|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||121 min.|
Krull is a 1983 British-American heroic fantasy-science fiction film directed by Peter Yates and starring Ken Marshall and Lysette Anthony. It was produced by Ron Silverman and released by Columbia Pictures.
The film's most distinguished features include an unlikely union between the science fiction and fantasy genres, a robust score by James Horner, early screen roles for actors Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane, and its surrealistic set design within the "Black Fortress".
The movie begins with the narrator mentioning a prophecy regarding "a girl of ancient name that shall become queen, that she shall choose a king, and that together they shall rule their world, and that their son shall rule the galaxy".
The planet Krull is invaded by an entity known as "The Beast" and his army of "Slayers," who travel the galaxy in a mountain-like spaceship called the Black Fortress. Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa attempt to marry and form an alliance between their rival kingdoms in the hope that their combined forces can defeat the Beast's army. A prophecy foretells that Lyssa will bear a child destined to rule the galaxy. The Beast has his Slayers attack the wedding before it is concluded. The castle of Lyssa's father, King Eirig, is destroyed and the Kings are murdered. The Kingdoms' armies are devastated and the princess is kidnapped.
Colwyn, the only survivor, is found and nursed by Ynyr the Old One. Colwyn sets out to rescue Lyssa, but he must first find "the Glaive", an ancient, magical star-shaped weapon, which he retrieves from a high mountain cave. Next, he must track down the Black Fortress, which teleports to a new location every day at sunrise. He is joined by an accident-prone magician, Ergo "the Magnificent", the cyclops Rell (who possesses the ability to know when his time of death arrives), and Torquil, the leader of a band of ten fugitives that includes Kegan, Rhun, and Oswyn. Colwyn enlists the convicts' aid and in return offers them their freedom as their reward.
Colwyn and Ynyr get help from the blind prophet the Emerald Seer, and his young apprentice Titch, to find the Black Fortress. However, the Beast has the seer killed before he can reveal its location. With time running short, Ynyr journeys to the Widow of the Web for aid. The Widow is actually an enchantress, also named Lyssa, who loved Ynyr long ago and was exiled to the lair of the Crystal Spider for murdering their only child. The Widow reveals where the Beast's fortress will be at the next sunrise. She also gives Ynyr the sand from the enchanted hourglass that kept the Crystal Spider from attacking her. Ynyr quickly flees the web as the Crystal Spider attacks the Widow's prison and begins to destroy it. Ynyr returns to the group to reveal the news before he loses the last of the sand, which kills him.
Colwyn and his followers use captured Fire Mares (the only transport fast enough to reach the teleporting fortress in the same day) to reach the Black Fortress, but are attacked by Slayers, who kill Rhun. When they get to the Black Fortress, Rell uses his massive strength to hold open the huge doors long enough for the others to enter. He dies when the entrance closes, crushing him. Kegan is killed by a Slayer shortly afterwards and Colwyn gets lost in the labyrinthine interior. When the Slayers try to kill Titch, Ergo magically transforms into a tiger and kills the Slayers, injuring himself while saving Titch's life. Torquil and Oswyn are caught in a trap with slowly closing walls studded with massive spikes.
Colwyn injures the Beast with the Glaive and finds Lyssa. He is unable to recover the Glaive from the Beast's body. Lyssa realizes that together, their ability to project flame can finish the beast. The two use the flame to slay the Beast and they make their way out of the crumbling fortress, finding Torquil and Oswyn and retrieving Ergo and Titch. The survivors watch as the Black Fortress crumbles and is sucked up into the sky. Colwyn names Torquil as Lord Marshal, which Torquil accepts.
As the surviving heroes depart across a field, the narrator (Ynyr) repeats the same prophecy from the beginning, implying that the queen and her chosen king mentioned there (whose son shall rule the galaxy) are Lyssa and Colwyn respectively.
- Ken Marshall as Colwyn, the Hero
- Lysette Anthony (Lindsay Crouse, dub) as Lyssa, The Princess
- Freddie Jones as Ynyr the Old One
- Francesca Annis as The Widow of the Web
- Alun Armstrong as Torquil, leader of the bandits
- David Battley as Ergo "the Magnificent",
- Bernard Bresslaw as Rell the Cyclops (credited as Cyclops)
- Liam Neeson as Kegan, a bandit
- Robbie Coltrane as Rhun, a bandit
- John Welsh as Seer
- Graham McGrath as Titch
- Tony Church as Turold
- Bernard Archard as King Eirig
- Belinda Mayne as Vella
- Dicken Ashworth as Bardolph
- Todd Carty as Oswyn, a bandit
- Clare McIntyre as Merith
- Bronco McLoughlin as Nennog
- Andy Bradford as Darro
- Gerard Naprous as Quain
- Bill Weston as Menno
The film was one of the most expensive of its time. Twenty-three sets were built for the film, covering 10 sound stages at Pinewood Studios, London. Other filming locations were Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and Cortina D'Ampezzo, Campo Imperatore, Italy.
The voice of Princess Lyssa was re-dubbed by American actress Lindsay Crouse. The dub for the death screams of the Slayers and the demise of the Emerald Seer imposter was taken from the Mahar shrieks in At The Earth's Core. The Fire Mares, steeds that travel so fast they leave a trail of flame and can effectively fly, are played by Clydesdale horses.
Despite persistent rumors that the film was meant to tie-in with the game Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax stated: "To the best of my knowledge and belief the producers of Krull never approached TSR for a license to enable their film to use the D&D game IP".
The film score, which was composed by James Horner and performed by The London Symphony Orchestra and the Ambrosian Singers, has received a cult following since the original soundtrack album was released on Southern Cross Records. It has been re-released on CD in various releases by different labels through the years. It has been commended as part of the composer's best early efforts before his more famous post-1990 era works.
The score features traditional swashbuckling fanfares, an overtly rapturous love theme and other musical elements that were characteristic of fantasy/adventure films of the 80's, along with incorporating avant-garde techniques with string instruments to represent some of the monstrous creatures in the story. Additionally, to accompany the main antagonists, the Beast and its army of Slayers, Horner utilized Holst-like rhythms and groaning and moaning vocals from the choir. Also of note is a recurring "siren call" performed by female voices that starts and bookends the score, and appears numerous times in the story to represent the legacy of the ancient world of Krull.
Horner's score is reminiscent of earlier works, particularly Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Some pieces of the music were reused for the area atmosphere nearby: Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon (1995–2005) — now Space Mountain: Mission 2 — at Disneyland Paris.
The score has been released numerous times on album. The first was a 45 minute condensed edition, which was released by Southern Cross Records in 1987, featuring most of the major action cues, three renditions of the love theme and the music from the End Credits. However, music from the Main Title sequence was omitted. Southern Cross Records later released Special Editions in 1992 and 1994 (the latter a Gold disc) with a running time of over 78 minutes, expanding on all of the previously released tracks, featuring the Main Title music and other action cues.
In 1998, SuperTracks released the complete recorded score in a 2CD set with extensive liner notes by David Hirsch in a notoriously designed booklet, however, this release, along with the '92 and '94 ones, have become rare and very expensive collectible items. In 2010, La-La Land Records re-issued the SuperTracks album, with two bonus cues and new liner notes by Jeff Bond in a limited edition of 3,000 copies, which sold out within less than a year.
Krull was met with mostly mixed to negative reviews from critics, currently holding a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 18 reviews. The film made over $16.5 million domestically, failing to bring back its reported budget of over $45–50 million. However, it has gained a cult following over the years since its release.
A novelization was written by Alan Dean Foster. A comic book adaptation by writer David Michelinie and artists Bret Blevins and Vince Colletta was published by Marvel Comics, both as Marvel Super Special #28 with behind-the-scenes material from the film, and as a two-issue limited series.
In 1983, several games were developed with the Krull license:
The film was released on multiple formats: VHS, CED, Laserdisc, and DVD. The film is available on DVD as a "Special Edition" in 2008. Also, the film was available for streaming through Starz and Netflix until June 2012. There are currently no plans for a Blu-ray release.
- Krull DVD Cast and Crew Commentary
- Krull Journey to Krull Featurette
- Faraci, Devin (2001-04-03). "The Original DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Movie Wasn’t DUNGEONS & DRAGONS". Badass Digest. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- "Dragonsfoot • View topic - Q&A With Gary Gygax, Part XI". Dragonsfoot.org. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- "Krull (James Horner)". Filmtracks. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Liner notes by Jeff Bond: "Slaying the Beast: The Music of Krull", from the 2010 La-La Land Release
- Krull at Rotten Tomatoes
- Krull at Box Office Mojo
- Heath, Paul (January 10, 2011). "Bullitt and Krull director Peter Yates has died". The Hollywood News. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- "1983 6th Hastings Bad Cinema Society Stinkers Awards". Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Marvel Super Special #28 at the Grand Comics Database
- Krull at the Grand Comics Database
- Krull at the Internet Movie Database
- Krull at AllRovi
- Krull at Box Office Mojo
- Krull at Rotten Tomatoes
- Nick Maley talks about making the film KRULL
- Marvel Super Special #28 - A review of the Marvel Comics adaptation