Monday, March 23, 2009

From the Attic: films and shows.

Some films and shows that influenced my early D&D.

Robin of Sherwood

I consider this the best Robin Hood of all times. Has the right blend of grittiness and mysticism. Even the second half with Jason Connery as Robin Hood was very good. It was also noted for the introduction of the Moor into the legend. Look for how the relationship between the Sheriff and Sir Guy changes between the first half of the series with Pread and the second half with Connery.

I will say that the new Robin Hood with Jonas Armstrong has grown on me. But still doesn't top Robin of Sherwood.


The golden standard of Arthurian films. This film is about the LEGEND and the capitals slam down in place throughout the film. While noted for the shiny plate mail it also has it gritty moments at the beginning and the end of the film. Look for wildman Lancelot at the end battle.
Nicol Williamson as Merlin is one of my all time favorite film wizards. Who doesn't love a guy hauling around a staff with a gas feed line attached to it. And how many of you memorized the Charm of Making.

The Land and King are indeed one.

Hawk the Slayer

Jack Palance makes a memorable turn this absolute cheesy yet fun fantasy movie. Legolas has nothing on the rapid fire action of Crow's bow. I am sure one reason Unearthed Arcana became popular because finally there was way to play Crow. (bow specialization). The movie wasn't a one man show as it brought together a diverse group to support Hawk's rescuing of the abbess from his evil brother Voltan. Very much in tune with the spirit of D&D which redeems it cheesiness.

The dragon was awesome, realistic, and kicks butt. Unlike the paltry dragons of AD&D this creature was a force of nature. The plot wasn't bad either and had a neat way of getting Ralph Richardson to the final confrontation.

If you going to go mystical and fantasy sometimes it best to go all out and Legend does that. The fact that it had a simple story was beside the point as it is a fairy tale in every sense of the word. The visuals and music score a home run for me. In my mind Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness is the prototypical Evil Overlord.

One of the best films to illustrate the type of game I like to run is Ladyhawke. It is set in a mundane medieval world yet the story is powered by a epic premise. A curse uttered by a corrupt bishop has condemned a couple to live out their lives together yet apart. It helps that Matthew Broderick plays one of his better roles as the thief Mouse.


There were many other films that I watched, and somewhat enjoyed. But most seemed well ... lacking. After Robin of Sherwood and Excalibur it wasn't until the theatrical release of the Fellowship of the Ring that I watched a fantasy movie that was pitch perfect in every way.


LMPjr007 said...

You know they are making a sequel to Hawk the Slayer. Read about it here:

Anonymous said...

You know my feelings of Robin of Sherwood and completely agree with you that it should be at the top. Richard Carpenter did an excellent job of combining historical and fantasy elements to the plots. And was there ever a better cast of actors made for Robin Hood? Don't get me started on that Costner monstrosity.

Excalibur another fantastic movie. Who knew a night by the fire in full field plate armor could be so romantic.

Hawk the Slayer I think was the first fantasy movie I saw after starting D&D. I think Showtime showed it 20 times a week and I doubt I missed many viewings. I still love the tin foil walls, the tinman hand like mind sword and the all powerful mega mullet! There were a lot of quotables out of that movie.

Dragonslayer had the first real scary dragon. It had a grittiness to it that few others at the time did. Who can forget about the baby dragon snacking on the woman's foot.

Legend I am still trying to erase from my memory. And Ladyhawke was good. At that time I don't think Rudger made a bad movie. He was in another called Flesh & Blood that was very good. The one had some good rpg elements in it.

Others I liked during my formative years of D&D were Beastmaster (two ferrets, a huge ass tiger and Tawnya Roberts, I'm all over that one), the other movie I remember watching a ton of on Showtime was Wizards, a cartoon fantasy, technology vs. fantasy theme if I remember, and I would have to add Road Warrior. Even though it is not a fantasy based movie it gave me a lot of ideas and it was a kik ass movie.

Mark Thomas said...

Sounds like Boris the Bagger and I have similar tastes. Flesh and Blood and Beastmater were great! I'd also throw in the first Conan movie.

Anonymous said...

That's the one I was forgeting. Conan. The 1st one. The 2nd one we used to refer to as Gonad the Barbarian.

And anyone who hasn't seen Flesh & Blood it is an instant on Netflix check it out.