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Film: Krull

"The ancient prophecy: that a girl of ancient name shall become queen, that she shall choose a king, and that together they shall rule our world, and that their son shall rule the galaxy."

A princess has been kidnapped by an Evil Overlord, her father has been killed by evil minions, and it's up to The Hero to gather a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to save her and avenge his father's death.

Sounds sickeningly derivative, doesn't it?

Well just because the plot is a Cliché Storm, doesn't mean it's bad.

Supposedly it was originally supposed to be the official Dungeons & Dragons movie (under the title The Dragons Of Krull), but the license was somehow lost before the film was released. But this may simply be a persistent rumor, given that it has been officially denied by Gary Gygax himself. Krull has a similar reputation to Hawk the Slayer, another D&D kind of film; both were made in Britain.

Has nothing to do with the protagonist of Thomas Mann's 1954 novel Confessions of Felix Krull. Or the island state of Krull from Discworld. Or Kull The Conqueror.


This film provides examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Vella the seductress, who depending on interpretation, either could not kill or seduce Colwyn because she fell in love with him herself or because she could not ruin his love with Lyssa, let alone take the life of a man of such goodness and virtue. Either way, hearing her speak of the happiness and hope she knows can never be hers, and knowing what fate lies in store for her, you can't help but feel pity for her.
  • All That Glitters: Implied as a lesson of the Emerald Seer's when the thieves try and take emeralds from his cave, only to find that outside they're simply ordinary stones. In this case, presumably the real treasure of the seer's cave is knowledge. Unsurprisingly, he seems to have a nice chuckle over this lesson.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me
  • Backstory: Ynyr and the Widow's past.
  • Big Bad: The Beast is both big and bad.
  • Binary Suns
  • Black Eyes of Evil: A form of Glamour Failure sported by both the Changeling that replaces the Seer and the seductress Vella.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Cyclopes traded with the Beast: one of their eyes (which is why they only have one now) for the ability to see into the future. The Beast did give them the ability to see into the future - but they can only see the moment of their own deaths. Using the knowledge to avoid their death? That just brings a much more painful death.
  • Blind Seer: The Emerald Seer.
  • Breath Weapon: The Beast fires balls of energy from his mouth.
  • Butt Monkey: Ergo most of the time, and is it ever enjoyable watching it happen.
  • Carpet of Virility: Ken Marshall had one.
  • The Casanova: Kegan (Liam Neeson), who has a wife or lover in numerous towns (or so it is rumored). Two wives are known of for sure, and while he never falls prey to Oops I Forgot I Was Married, he does have to do some quick thinking and fancy maneuvering to keep them from finding out about each other.
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity
  • Collapsing Lair
  • Convection Schmonvection: Played with. In the scene when Colwyn retrieves the Glaive from the lava pit, he clearly acts as if there is a great deal of heat rising from the pool, yet is still able to reach in and retrieve the weapon without burning himself or catching fire. However, this is justified by the fact he is the prophesied hero who would carry the Glaive, so its magic is implied to protect him from all effects of the lava. So, A Wizard Did It.
  • Cool Horses: Fire mares.
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists
  • Cyclops: Rell.
  • Deal with the Devil: The cyclopes, in their backstory. They were once normal humans living on a distant world. They made a deal with the Beast, exchanging one of their eyes for the ability to know the future. The Beast cheated them, however, only allowing them to know the times of their own deaths, and ensuring they will die horribly if they try to resist their deaths.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Ynyr leaves the Widow to go off on his mad adventures, not knowing he had left Someone to Remember Him By. Furious and hurt, she kills their child after it is born. It is to the credit of Francesca Annis and Freddie Jones that the scene revealing this Moral Event Horizon, for which she was consigned to the web, is played with immense sympathy and tragedy thanks to the genuinely pity-inducing punishment she received and her clear regret for her crime.
  • Dwindling Party: As the party nears the end of its quest, several characters start dying.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Beast.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Lyssa's dress, which she ends up wearing for most of the movie.
  • Fanfare: By James Horner
  • Fuuma Shuriken: The glaive is a Western example.
  • Galactic Conqueror: The Beast.
  • Genius Loci: While not strictly alive or even sentient, the Black Fortress does seem to obey the Beast with great alacrity as if it is just an extension of his will—witness how the dome forms around Lyssa, or how the floor just so happens to crack open under the heroes, then close as Colwyn is trying to climb through. This would also explain why it collapses after he is killed. If it is an outer manifestation of the Beast's mind, its Malevolent Architecture would then be not only a typical Evil Tower of Ominousness, but a reflection of its master being an Eldritch Abomination (or at least, not thinking or viewing the world at all the way humans do).
  • Giant Spider: The crystalline spider guarding the Widow of the Web.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power/Lethal Harmless Powers: Ergo is able to turn only himself into animals, which is only used for comic relief until he turns himself into a tiger.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Lyssa, The Hero's destined true love, is a redhead.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The cyclops, the widow of the web, and the Old One.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Ergo changed to a puppy to grant the boy's wish. After changing back, he said it was a stupid wish, although no one is fooled.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Very much how the Beast treats Lyssa during her captivity, whether attempting to woo her, offering her gorgeous gowns and a floating crown, or coming right out and telling her We Can Rule Together. His objective is to convince Lyssa to willingly betray her love for Colwyn, thus defeating the power they share, which is his only weakness.
  • I Know Your True Name: Ynyr is able to reach the Widow of the Web by calling her true name, Lyssa. It is a coincidence that she has the same name as the princess.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The Glaive, a giant, telekinetic ninja star, with retractable blades. And manually adjustable rotation rate; Colwyn uses it as a rotary saw at one point.
  • Inept Mage: Ergo. Until he realizes he doesn't have to polymorph others.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: The Beast says that the planet Krull is this.
  • Ironic Echo: Lyssa's twisting of the Beast's words back to him might be Narm to some, a delicious Crowning Moment of Awesome to others who truly believe in The Power of Love.
    Lyssa: Power is fleeting. Love is eternal.
  • Kill and Replace: a shape-shifter kills the Emerald Seer and takes his form to get close to Colwyn and kill him.
  • Kill It with Fire: How the Beast is finally taken down.
  • Large Ham Title: Ergo the Magnificent, Short in Stature, Large in Power, Narrow of Purpose and Wide of Vision.
  • Licensed Game: A pinball game, an Atari 2600 game, a really confusing arcade game, a board game containing an plastic-army-man-sized Colwyn and The Beast, and a card game.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The Beast.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Rell. Damn it.
  • Made of Evil: The Slayers and Changelings gruesomely melt into the ground when dealt a mortal blow.
  • Magic Misfire: Ergo's Baleful Polymorph spells always hit himself.
  • Magnetic Hero: Colwyn made bandits about to rob him do a Heel-Face Turn and join him.
    • He also seems to have so much appeal that a woman sent to seduce and trap him falls in love with him at first sight instead.
  • The Magnificent: Ergo, of course. (His "proper", full name is: Ergo, the Magnificent, Short In Stature, Large In Power, Narrow Of Purpose And Wide Of Vision. Though he will answer to just "Ergo" in a pinch.) He proves he isn't just comic relief in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The Black Fortress.
  • Mars Needs Women: The alien Big Bad, the Beast, kidnaps the hero's fiance. Although it is less that he needs a woman and more that he wants to deprive Colwyn of his to protect himself from their power.
    • There's also a prophecy that implies if she chooses to marry the Beast, their son would rule the universe.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Only the king and his lord marshal carry those keys." The second time he says that, he realizes that Colwyn has made him his lord marshal.
  • Men Act, Women Are: Lyssa gets kidnapped and provides Colwyn with the drive (and power) to succeed; the Widow provides the information they need to find the Fortress but otherwise does nothing. All other roles are filled by active men (save the Seer).
  • Mood Whiplash: From bad to good — from another of Torquil's men dying by walls with Spikes Of Doom closing in and the others in general peril to Lyssa and Colwyn happily meeting again. Also, a milder example in (paraphrased) dialogue:
    Ergo: If I had my wish, I'd be out of this gloomy place...if I'd really have my wish, I'd be sitting on a gooseberry pie as big as a mountain. No, that's a bit greedy...I'll settle for one as big as a house. What'd you wish for, Titch?
    Titch: (ponders) A puppy.
    Ergo: Only one? Why not a hundred?
    Titch: Only want one.
    Ergo: Well, that's a foolish wish...what about you, Rell, what'd you wish for?
    Rell: (gloomily) Ignorance.
  • Mooks: The Slayers.
    • They are very powerful though, easily slaughtering the Red Shirt Army near the beginning of the movie, and even the heroes have a difficult time fighting them. Thus they could be considered Super Soldiers.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Thanks to the Special Effect Failure in how the Beast was portrayed, rather like the shark in Jaws and the creature in Alien it is more frightening when unseen, only sensed or heard breathing. The unsettling, surreal interior of the Black Fortress doesn't help.
  • The Obi-Wan: "The Old One"
    • "Well, not as old as all that!"
  • Obviously Evil: The Beast and the Slayers.
  • Offing the Offspring: The Widow of the Web killed her child.
  • Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: Ergo does this while trying to find a spell he has written down.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. The Widow of the Web shares her name with Lyssa.
  • One-Winged Angel: Near the end, Ergo decides "if my Baleful Polymorph spells always backfire, why not turn myself into a tiger?"
  • Panthera Awesome: Ergo turns himself into a tiger to dispatch the Slayers.
  • Pet the Dog: Literally, but inverted: the moment where it's first shown that Ergo has a heart and a more selfless side is when he turns himself into a dog for Titch to pet and hold.
  • Playing with Fire: Colwyn does this in the climax with Lyssa's help.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Ergo.
  • Poke in the Third Eye: The Beast pulls this on the Emerald Seer, shattering his scrying gem in the process. This necessitates the Seer having to travel to the Emerald Temple where he will have enough power to break through the Beast's barriers...a trip during which the Seer just so happens to be very vulnerable.
  • The Power of Love: Which is considerably less metaphoric than in other examples. Part of the marriage ceremony in this story involves the female taking a literal fire from a ceremonial pool and holding it in her immune-to-this-flame bare hand. Lyssa literally carries this flame for Colwyn through the entire film until the Final Battle, where it proves to be more than the Big Bad can handle.
  • Precious Puppy: When the boy mentions he always wanted one, Ergo transforms into a puppy for a few scenes.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Glaive. Justified by its supernatural nature.
  • Princess Classic: Lyssa. Though in her opening scenes she shows courage, strength of heart, and more than a little independence (for one thing, it's made quite plain that the alliance by marriage was her idea and she bullied her father into it), and when she is captured it's clearly due to lack of fighting skills and training, not lack of desire to fight back.
  • Quicksand Sucks: In a surprisingly tense and desperate scene with one of the thieves. Considering this whole moment existed as one big distraction for the Beast to replace the Emerald Seer, the quicksand may well have been magically generated, thus explaining why it didn't act like the Real Life version.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Torquil and his thieves, plus Ergo, Rell, and Titch.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Beast.
  • Red Right Hand: Combined with Glamour Failure, the Beast and his servants could take any shape, but their eyes always looked demonic and evil. At least, when they opened their eyes, or used their powers in any other way. the one impersonating the Emerald Seer got away with it through the simple expedient of never opening his eyes when the heroes were looking at him, the one trying to seduce Colwyn only blew her cover when she manifested her claws.
  • Red Shirt: All but two of the brigands who join Colwyn, as well as the kingdom soldiers in the first part of the movie.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Colwyn and his father are knights fighting the invaders.
  • Rule of Cool: The Glaive, the slayers' weapons, the Black Fortress, the Fire Mares, the twin suns, the cyclops, the translucent giant spider, and a marriage ceremony that gives the groom temporary but powerful pyrokenesis.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Colwyn and Lyssa's love makes a literal flame that can destroy the Beast. The Black Fortress (evil) can appear anywhere. The Widow of the Web's hourglass sands not only can briefly stop time, allowing someone past the spider, but they also represent the span of her life—and thanks to Mindlink Mates, Yynr's too, so that spilling them ends their lives. Torquil not wanting to have his manacles removed until the end of the quest (when he'd earned it), only to keep them even after he does remove them as a reminder of the past he'd atoned for.
  • Save the Princess
  • Science Fantasy: It's basically a fantasy world invaded by high-tech aliens.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: Or at least would-be lover, at two points. The Beast assumes Colwyn's form, and at least one of his minions can do so as well by impersonating the Emerald Seer. Whether the Changling sent to "make [Colwyn] betray her; if not, kill him" had a similar ability or was somehow assigned the form is not revealed.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ergo definitely has shades of this, considering his Overly Long Name is clearly Compensating for Something. It turns out by the end, though, that much of this is a pose.
  • Street Smart: Torquil, in spades.
    Torquil: Fame? It's an empty purse. Count it? Go broke. Eat it? Go hungry. Seek it and go mad!
  • Super Speed: Fire Mares can travel "a thousand leagues in a day." The definition of "league" differed according to era and location, but it refers to the distance a healthy horse can most efficiently travel in an hour - about five and a half kilometers. Fire Mares thus have a cruising speed of 231 kph or 143 mph!
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Colwyn's first task on his quest is to retrieve the Glaive.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: The Black Fortress vanishes from one location during a sunrise and appears in another (never the same place twice), to thwart enterprising young heroes. Figuring out where it will appear next so it can be intercepted is one of the major plot points.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The glaive. The hero is specifically told not to use it until he faces the Beast. Otherwise the movie would just be a long string of monsters getting hacked apart by a flying rotary saw.
  • Troperiffic
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Includes the spiked walls version, and a gruesome death for one character who could have escaped but went back for his cherished knife.
  • Wangst: In-Universe it's both justified and defied.
    Colwyn: "You haven't lost a father, and a bride on the same day!"
    Ynyr: "Nor have I become king on that day."
  • Woman Scorned: The Widow by Ynyr, in Backstory.
  • X Meets Y: Star Wars meets Dungeons & Dragons.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Not if you're a Cyclops. Well, you can (as in, refuse to go off into self-imposed exile to await your foreseen death), but you'll regret it. Rell doesn't—he may regret the pain, but not the reason for it.