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Film / Krull

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"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."

An Evil Overlord from space, called the Beast, invades the world of Krull due to a prophecy that a marriage that unites that world will have a son who will rule the galaxy. When two great kingdoms are going to be joined by a marriage (necessitated by this invasion), the Beast's army, the Slayers, kidnap Princess Lyssa just before her wedding is completed, and Prince Colwyn goes on a quest to save her, aided by a wise old man, a gang of escaped prisoners and thieves, and an ancient sentient weapon.

Written by Stanford Sherman and directed by Peter Yates, supposedly it was originally meant 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 an Urban Legend, given that it has been officially denied by Gary Gygax himself.

See also Hawk the Slayer, another fantasy film 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.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The Widow of the Web could have been a Large Ham even for a World of Ham. Instead, she's portrayed as a tragic character who did something monstrous and now regrets it deeply. Her sequence, animated spider aside, could have been fodder for a classical Greek story.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When he realizes Colwyn wants him to be the new lord marshal, Torquil can only laugh.
  • 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, and Colwyn seems to agree.
  • Alien Sky: Krull orbits two suns. There are no double-shadows, we never see the sky enough to find both suns, and there is no plot-significant reason for there being two suns. It's just cool. Krull also has two moons.
  • All That Glitters: Implied as a lesson of the Emerald Seer's when Torquil tries to 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.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: Subverted with the ancient glaive weapon Colwyn uses. It is said to be an extremely powerful weapon which Colwyn will need to defeat the Beast of the Black Fortress and rescue his princess. Once Colwyn has the glaive, he is told not to use it until he absolutely must. It remains unused until he breaks into the Black Fortress at the end of the movie, where he uses the glaive only twice; first to cut open the prison trapping his bride, and second to attack the Beast, where it stabs the Beast in the chest which is not even enough to kill the monster. Colwyn ends up defeating the Beast with The Power of Love, manifested as a magic flamethrower from his hand.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The Beast tries to make Lyssa marry him instead of Colwyn so he can have the galaxy-ruling son instead.
  • Animal Gender-Bender: Given some brief shots of their undercarriage, a few of the magic "Fire Mares" are actually geldings.
  • Anti-Climax: Presumably due to technical limitations, the final battle consists of A: Colwyn standing still and gesturing at the far-off Beast while the Glaive attacks it, and B: Colwyn standing still and gesturing at the far-off Beast shooting flames at it.
  • Backstory:
    • Ynyr and the Widow's past is of tragic love.
    • The Cyclops race made a deal with the Beast, who cheated them and made them one of his mortal enemies.
  • Beast and Beauty: This Beast comes across more as an Abhorrent Admirer to the lovely Princess Lyssa.
  • A Beast in Name and Nature: The Big Bad is known only as the Beast, an Evil Overlord leading the Slayers in an attempted plan to fulfil a prophecy that he believes will allow him to take over the universe.
  • Big Bad: The Beast has conquered many worlds, and is now after this one.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rell's dramatic return when the heroes are pinned down at the Black Fortress, allowing them to get inside.
  • Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: While he's not the first to die in the invasion of the Black Fortress, Rell the Cyclops is the first to die when they actually get inside the Fortress. He holds open a closing wall just long enough for his companions to get past, before it crushes him to death.
  • Binary Suns: Krull not only has them, but daybreak is stated to be when both suns rise.
  • Black Eyes of Evil:
    • When the Seer is killed and replaced with a doppelganger, his duplicate has pure black eyes (not as much of a giveaway as you might think, since he usually keeps his eyes closed).
    • The female shapeshifter is a subversion of sorts, as she finds herself unwilling to go through with her mission of killing the main character and gets quite a sympathetic speech before The Beast eliminates her for her betrayal.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Cyclops 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.
    Ynyr: They're sad, solitary creatures, born to know the day they will die.
  • Blind Seer: The Emerald Seer is blind, but the changeling who kills him is not.
  • Boisterous Bruiser:
  • Boxed Crook: A variant as Torquil and his gang aren't in prison, but are persuaded by Colwyn to join his cause when they ambush him. Rather than imprison them, he offers them a chance to earn a full pardon. They accept and help the king.
  • Breath Weapon: The Beast fires balls of energy from his mouth.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ergo acts silly and has silly things happen to him, until his Character Development, when he helps fight the Slayers.
  • Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff": In the film, the Glaive is a unique legendary magic weapon, a five-bladed cross between a shuriken, a discus and a chakram. In real life, a glaive is a long pole with a blade on one end. (It's also an antiquated word used to refer to any bladed weapon.)
  • 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.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Downplayed with Rell, who initially declines to come to the Black Fortress with the other heroes, since it's his time to die, and any cyclops who tries to avoid prophecy will die an unusually excruciating death. The other heroes are actually very understanding and don't hold it against Rell at all. But when the attack on the fortress is going badly, of course, Rell shows up to save the day one last time. He does die a Cruel And Unsual Death, but they never could have succeeded without his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: Colwyn has to climb one to get to the cave where the Glaive is resting.
  • Collapsing Lair: The fortress falls into pieces at the end. Said pieces also fall upwards, for some reason.
  • Conqueror from the Future: The trailer says the Beast came from the future to conquer the universe.
  • 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, he is the prophesied hero who would carry the Glaive, so its magic is implied to protect him from all effects of the lava.
  • Cool Horse: Fire mares can travel super-fast, leave tracks of flames as they gallop (hence their name), and fly through the air without breaking stride.
  • Cult Soundtrack: James Horner's score for this film has gotten four different album releases, each one expanding on the previous one. Though, one of the chief complaints is that the score is 50% of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and a third Battle Beyond the Stars. (In fairness, it should be noted that he had a packed 1980s — in 1983 Krull was one of his eight projectsnote )
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The kings' soldiers are no match for the Slayers' superior technology and special powers.
  • Cursed with Awesome: While it's played as very melancholy in the film, the ability to know when you're going to die has major advantages.
  • Cyclops: Rell. The backstory is that his people sacrificed one eye (apiece, duh) to the Beast in exchange for being able to see the future, but were only given the ability to foresee their own deaths.
  • Damsel in Distress: Lyssa spends much of the movie trapped in the Black Fortress.
  • 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. Considering this is the chief inspiration for Rell to join Colwyn's party, and his importance to their quest, this also counts as a Hoist by His Own Petard for the Beast.
  • Death of a Child: The Widow of the Web killed her infant son in her rage at her lover leaving her. Being the Widow is her punishment for that crime.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: The Beast appears from outer space, invades the world and randomly crashes wedding parties all in the name of being bad. While the backstory of the Cyclops indicates that the Beast has done this sort of thing on other worlds before, there's otherwise no backstory for the Beast itself explaining where it came from and why it decided to go about invading worlds.
  • 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: The party is slowly whittled down as it progresses towards the end of its quest, including A: Ynyr, who dies in the process of finding out where to find the Black Fortress, B: Liam Neeson's "Travelling Man" character, one of whose wives we meet in a previous scene, and C: Rell the Cyclops, who makes a Heroic Sacrifice. Whereas Colwyn began with nearly an army, only four of his allies are still alive at the end to walk off into the distance with the hero after he rescues Lyssa and saves the world.
  • '80s Hair: Lyssa's fluffy mane sells it as an '80s movie.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Beast's true form is a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Enemy Mine: The film begins with this, as two rival kingdoms arrange a political marriage to unify them against the alien invasion. Sadly, it does them little good as the highly advanced Slayers storm the castle and kill everybody except for the heroic prince and his future bride, who is taken by the invaders.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: By the end of the movie, only Colwyn, Torquil, Oswyn, Ergo, and Titch are still alive out of a party of around a dozen or so.
  • Evil Doppelgänger: The shapeshifter uses his power to kill the seer and replace him to mislead the other heroes.
  • Evil Overlord: The Beast. An alien overlord who invades the titular planet seeking to marry Lyssa so they could have a child that would rule over the galaxy.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Beast, with Trevor Martin's voice being flanged to give it a metallic tinge.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Black Fortress, which looks to be made out of basaltic pillars. It's mobile and is even capable of traveling through space. In the film, it teleports around the planet. In the book, it's described as flying from place to place instead.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: The Glaive is initially trapped in a lava pit and covered in stone. When Colwyn retrieves it, the stone crumbles away to reveal the Glaive for the Impossibly Cool Weapon that it truly is.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Lyssa's dress with lots of lace. Because she's kidnapped mid-wedding, she ends up wearing it for the rest of the movie.
  • Fanfare: The film starts with one by James Horner.
  • Fantasy Aliens: This movie is a rare case of a Standard Fantasy Setting undergoing an Alien Invasion.
  • Finger-Snap Lighter: Colwyn gains the power to throw fire from his hand after reuniting with Princess Lyssa. It begins as a small flame when he holds his hand upright.
  • Forced Transformation: Played for Laughs. Ergo the Magnificent tries to turn Colwyn into a goose for making fun of him, but it backfires, goose-ifying Ergo instead. He eventually decides to work with it, turning himself into a tiger when the group storms the Black Fortress.
  • Foreseeing My Death: Rell, like all cyclopes, knows when he will die.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Ergo assumes the form of a puppy to make Titch happy. Subverted with the Beast:
    Beast: (morphs into Colwyn) I can assume any form I wish. Any form you wish.
    Lyssa: There is no love in that form.
  • Fuuma Shuriken: The glaive is a Western example. It's also not as large as other examples, but still larger than a typical throwing star. When the blades are retracted, it's the size of an adult's hand.
  • Galactic Conqueror: The prophecy states that a couple will marry, rule Krull, and their son would rule the galaxy. Though it's apparent he'll be a more benevolent ruler now that the Beast has been destroyed. The Beast itself is a lower-scaled Galactic Conqueror, having already subjugated many worlds by the time the movie starts.
  • 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).
    • The Glaive itself can move in any direction that Colwyn wills it to.
  • Ghibli Hills: Everything we see of Krull - mostly rocky hill country note  - is strangely empty and untouched by civilization. The only human-built structure in the film is Lyssa's family's castle, which stands on its own in the middle of an empty valley. It's also undeniably beautiful.
  • Giant Spider: One of the side plots involves a giant albino spider guarding/imprisoning an oracle in a rather comfortable-looking cocoon in a gigantic web. It moves to eat anyone coming to consult with her, and is only prevented when she pours the sands of her life away (freezing it in place while the sands are in motion).
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Ergo is able to turn only himself into animals, which is only used for comic relief until he turns himself into a tiger.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Slayers are heavily armored and are usually dispatched by stabs between their armor plates or through their visors.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rell, the Widow of the Web, and the Old One each die to help the heroes.
  • Hitchhiker Heroes: Ynyr heads down to bind Colwyn's wounds, Ergo the Magnificent near them (lampshading it by noting he came quite a distance from where he intended), a gang of robbers decide to join them, an actual mage and his apprentice comes along to lead them, Rell has seen the future to know he'll join them...
  • Hope Spot: As the Slayers assault the castle at the beginning of the movie, Lyssa and a small escort are sent through an underground passage to take the princess to safety through a less-obvious exit, but are ambushed by Slayers. When we next see them, the fight is apparently down to one Slayer against one guard, who is disarmed. However, Lyssa grabs a sword and tosses it to the guard, who manages to outfight the Slayer and is ready to deliver the killing blow, only for a new Slayer to appear and shoot him in the back.
  • 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, but one Ynyr is happy to use to convince the Widow to help him.
    Widow of the Web: Who speaks that name?!
  • 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 tries to change people into animals but it only works on himself. Then he finally uses that weakness as a strength.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Titch, the young aid/apprentice of the Emerald Seer. He's one of the few survivors of the Dwindling Party.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: The Beast says that the planet Krull is this insignificant to his Evil Plan. A son that will rule the whole galaxy? That's much more appealing.
  • Ironic Echo: Lyssa's twisting of the Beast's words back to him.
    Lyssa: Power is fleeting. Love is eternal.
  • It Has Been an Honor: One of Torquil's men says this to Colwyn after he got shot while they try to get inside the Black Fortress. There are shades of this in the earlier goodbye to Rell, as well.
  • It Only Works Once: The Widow of the Web can protect vision seekers trying to enter her domain, in the center of a giant spider web, by turning over a large hourglass which immobilizes the giant spider guardian while the sands fall. We learn that leaving is impossible, because "it can be turned only once. That is the lure of the web."
  • Kill and Replace: A shape-shifter kills the Emerald Seer and takes his form to get close to Colwyn and kill him. Fortunately, Rell finds out and throws his three pointed spear at the shape-shifter.
  • Kill It with Fire: How the Beast is finally taken down.
  • Large Ham: Plenty of them. Colwyn, Ynir, Rell... they all have their moments.
  • Large Ham Title: "Ergo, the Magnificent, Short in Stature, Tall in Power, Narrow of Purpose and Wide of Vision" acts as big as the epithet he gives himself.
    • Less extravagant but still notable is "The Old One", because Colwyn says it very dramatically on his introduction to Ynir, and Ynir just doesn't seem that old.
    Colwyn: Ynir? The Old One?!!
    Ynir: Well, not as old as all that...
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: Corwyn sticks his arm into a pool of lava to get the Glaive. He should be dead, but he's completely unharmed, though see above under Convection, Schmonvection.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Ergo learns to shape-shift into dangerous animals, which not only takes out a Slayer, but even takes a staff blast and survives.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The Black Fortress falls apart after the Beast dies, though this is also a case of No Ontological Inertia. Also, the pieces fall up - apparently the Beast was so evil, the planet won't have any of it.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Rell sacrifices himself to keep a stone gate open so the heroes can get in. Made more badass because he knew, thanks to prescience, that he would die that way if he helped the heroes.
  • Made of Evil: The Slayers and Changelings gruesomely melt into the ground when dealt a mortal blow.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Some of the peoples of Krull are Seers or have limited magical or Psychic Powers with varying degrees of strength; Ergo can transform himself, Rell can see the circumstances of his demise, The Emerald Seer can divine locations and future events like where the Black Fortress will teleport to the next day (although he needs to be in his place of power to see clearly). The Widow of the Web appears to be a much stronger seer, able to know the future location of the fortress just by thinking about it. Even Ynyr seems to have limited mind reading capability, since he can divine that Torquil has children. And then of course there is The Power of Love between Colwyn and Lyssa, granting him pyrokinesis.
  • Magic Misfire: Whenever Ergo the Magnificent tries to cast a spell, he ends up hitting himself (explained as Hillfolk wizards "lacking the power to do real harm"). He eventually learns how to use this to his advantage.
  • Magnetic Hero: Colwyn:
    • He 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, Tall 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 is one of these, including pits that randomly open and a spike trap room with absolutely no purpose.
  • Mars Needs Women: The Beast kidnaps Lyssa. This is due to a prophecy that if he gets Lyssa to marry him, they will rule the world and their son would rule the universe.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Only the king and his lord marshal carry those keys." The first time Torquil says it, it's to demonstrate that he realizes Colwyn is no mere traveler. The second time he says that, he realizes that Colwyn has made him his lord marshal in thanks for his aid.
  • 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).
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Ynyr dies after revealing where the Black Fortress will teleport to next.
  • 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.invoked
  • Mooks: The Slayers, mooks for the Beast. 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.
  • Moving Buildings: The Beast's Black Fortress flies, floats and teleports at his command. It never stays for too long nor in the same place twice when put down, necessitating the good guys finding a seer who can tell them its next location.
  • Mr. Exposition: This is the entirety of Ynyr The Old One's job throughout the movie. He knows about most of the peoples' of the world of Krull, and even all about the Beast and the Cyclopes who are not even originally from Krull. He even knows things he shouldn't know, like Torquil being a father.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The weapon is identified as "The Glaive". It isn't a curved-blade polearm, but rather a starfish-shaped throwing weapon. Even if you take the older meaning of "glaive" as "sword" it doesn't fit.
    • The Widow of the Web is not a widow; her husband is still alive.
    • Zig-Zagged with Ynir, The Old One. He doesn't appear more than perhaps fifty-five, and he balks at the title, but it's very likely that he's older than he looks.
    • Ergo's full title - David Battley was average height; the role was originally written for a little person, and the line was kept as is.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Invoked by Torquil as he says he and his men fight for profit, not to save the world. He's eventually pulled in by the promise of freedom and by the end of the film, he's become open to the idea of being the lord marshal.
  • Not Quite Flight: The fire mares don't seem able to take off from the ground vertically, but when galloping at Super-Speed they can run off the edge of cliffs or mountaintops and just keep going horizontally in midair.
  • 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. Even when you can see it, the slightly flat appearance of the process shots works to the movie's advantage, as if the Beast cannot quite fit within the three dimensions we know. The unsettling, surreal interior of the Black Fortress doesn't help.
  • Obviously Evil: The Beast and the Slayers. Just in case the names aren't a giveaway, one look at the Slayers' spikey armour or the Beast's general appearance makes it clear that these are the villains.
  • 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.
    "There we go! Oh, this is a recipe for hot fudge sauce..."
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted and made a plot point. The Widow of the Web shares her name with Lyssa. Also doubles as Tragic Backstory, because the Widow was the previous Queen who was destined to have a son that would rule the galaxy, until she killed him. This becomes a plot point when the Widow sacrifices herself to give the other Lyssa a chance. "What about your life?" "I give it to the girl who bears my name."
  • Panthera Awesome: Ergo turns himself into a tiger to dispatch the Slayers.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Inverted. Colwyn and Lyssa are the children of two rival kings who choose to marry against their fathers' wishes to form an alliance against the Beast; inverted because the kids arrange it instead of the parents. Lyssa gets kidnapped during the wedding and Colwyn goes off to save her. Their love turns out to be the final weapon that offs the main villain.
  • 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.
  • Planetary Romance: Krull is another planet, but one that very much resembles a Standard Fantasy Setting with a few scifi elements.
  • Playing with Fire: Colwyn, with Lyssa's help, creates a flame that burns the Beast.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Ergo's beast spells are mostly used for comedy.
  • 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.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: A glaive is actually a type of polearm, but if a work mentions one after this film, you can bet it's probably a giant shuriken.
  • 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: Ergo off-handedly mentions wishes. Titch, a boy coming along with them, mentions he always wanted a puppy. Later on, Ergo wanders away from the rest for a while, turning himself into a puppy and running along to Titch, remaining that way for a few scenes to make him happy. Aww.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Glaive: a magical five-bladed throwing weapon controlled in flight by its wielder's will. Lost at the end when it couldn't free itself from The Beast's body. Justified (assuming the Glaive even qualifies) due to the fact that this ridiculously powerful magic weapon could fly, cut through Nigh-Invulnerable barriers, and hover in place.
  • 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.
  • Prophet Eyes: The Emerald Seer (probably) has this. He rarely opens his eyes though, and his doppelgänger has Black Eyes of Evil.
  • 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.
  • Really Gets Around: Kegan, the bandit played by Liam Neeson, has 7 or 8 wives scattered around the world, as he's a "travelling man"
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Beast's red eyes are part of his danger. Since his full form is rarely seen, this is useless.
  • 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. The brigands are something of a subversion, though: while they are eventually killed off, they are also shown to use clever tactics to defeat the Slayers, such as outflanking them, immobilizing them with nets, or using a whip to pull their legs out from under them.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: During the initial castle attack, both kings fight bravely against the Slayers and go down fighting. Colwyn, who is initially a prince and becomes king after his father's death, is also a very active, heroic character.
  • Royalty Super Power: A bit ambiguous. Colwyn's ability to control the Glaive (let alone reach into lava to retrieve it) are probably from his status as The Chosen One, though the parallels to the Sword in the Stone are obvious. Similarly, the minor pyrokinetic powers Lyssa demonstrates during the wedding and the major pyrokinetic powers that Colwyn demonstrates once the wedding is completed may be a function of the wedding ceremony itself, a power of the royal bloodlines, or some combination of the two (i.e., a result of members of the royal bloodlines becoming a mated pair). The movie goes out of its way not to explain a lot of its magic.
  • 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 pyrokinesis.
  • 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, Ynyr'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. Bardolph dying on the Spikes of Doom because he has to go back for his special knife.
  • Same Language Dub:
    • Lysette Anthony is dubbed throughout by Lindsay Crouse. According to some accounts, producers thought Americans wouldn't be able to understand her accent — clips of her actual voice in the film prove that wrong. She'd later do an excellent American accent in Husbands and Wives. Other sources say the producers thought her voice sounded too young.
    • Robbie Coltrane's character is also dubbed by another actor.
  • Save the Princess: The basis of much of Colwyn's actions is saving Princess Lyssa, who also happens to be his fiancée.
  • Scenery Porn: Lots of beautiful shots of the lovely Italian Alps.
  • Schizo Tech: The Slayers ride horses and fight using a weapon that combines a single-shot energy blaster with some kind of powered sword or short spear.
  • Science Fantasy: It's basically a fantasy world invaded by high-tech aliens.
  • Screw Destiny: A variation of it. Rell initially had to leave the group to face his death. However, later he arrived to help them get inside the Black Fortress and soon got crushed (a much painful death than whatever he originally envisioned); presumably he preferred a Heroic Sacrifice over however he was supposed to die. This was lampshaded earlier by one of Torquil's men who suggested that Rell should come with them to the Black Fortress anyway.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer:
    • The Beast assumes Colwyn's form, telling Lyssa he can assume any form she finds attactive, as a bid to woo her. She doesn't budge.
    • Vella, a changeling sent to seduce Colwyn so that the Beast can break Lyssa's spirit. Colwyn doesn't bite, though, and Vella is so impressed with his devotion that she refuses to kill him despite the Beast's orders. Seeing this only bolsters Lyssa's resolve, and the Beast is not amused by this.
  • 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.
    Ergo: I am Ergo the magnificent. Short in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose and wide of vision — and I do not travel with peasants and beggars. Goodbye!
    Ergo: (to Rell) My name is no jest, beanpole. It's all very well to have a short name when you're twenty feet tall, but small people need large names to give them weight.
  • Soul Jar: The Black Widow's hourglass — or more specifically the sand inside it — determines her life span. She passes it on to an injured Ynyr so he could inform the group about the Fortress' next location.
  • Spikes of Doom: There's a room in the Black Fortress that had spikes intermittently moving out of the walls in every which direction. Didn't end well for one of the bandits.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: When Lyssa is captured, a Slayer leads her away, holding her by her upper arm.
  • Storming the Castle: The story begins with the Slayers invading Krull and capturing Princess Lyssa's castle.
  • Street Smart: Torquil.
    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 kilometres per hour or 143 miles per hour!
  • Swamps Are Evil: And a good place for an ambush of the evil forces.
  • Sword Beam: The weapon of choice for the Slayers are powered swords or short spears that fire laser beams. They still seem rather impractical because they appear to only have one shot each.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Colwyn's first task on his quest is to retrieve the Glaive.
  • Sword Sparks: Crossing swords with the Slayers causes this. Sweet, enormous red ones. Actually, looks like little lightning bolts.
  • 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: Colwyn receives an awesome magical glaive weapon in the beginning of the film, but Ynyr advises him not to use it until he needs it most. It sits on his saddle for the rest of the film until he faces the Beast.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bardolph, who dies when he goes back into a room full of spiked walls just to retrieve his knife — which would have been of absolutely no use to him in the given situation anyway.
  • The Unreveal: The exact nature of the Slayers' powers, such as the ability to breathe underwater or climb walls without equipment, is never explained, and we never learn what the thing that burrows into the ground after they're killed is. Nor do we find out how Rell the Cyclops, apparently from another world himself, made it to Krull.
  • Villain-Beating Artifact: The Glaive's only purpose is defeating the Beast.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Due to Lysette Anthony's voice being dubbed over by Lindsay Crouse, Lyssa has the appearance of a late teen but the voice of a middle-aged woman.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Near the end, Ergo decides "if my Forced Transformation spells always backfire, why not turn myself into a tiger?"
  • 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.
  • Wall Crawl: The Slayers can somehow climb up walls without any visible equipment.
  • 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!
  • We Can Rule Together: The Beast offers Lyssa his hand in marriage, so they would rule Krull and many other worlds.
  • Wedding Smashers: The Slayers kidnap Princess Lyssa during her wedding.
  • Win Your Freedom: Torquil and his band must survive their adventure with Colwyn and rescue the princess if they are to earn their pardon.
  • Woman Scorned: The Widow was abandoned by Ynyr in her Backstory. It made her upset, to say the least.
  • 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.