Saturday, July 16, 2011

Beyond the Edge of Darkness, There is a World of Sword and Sorcery

Today's fantasy film, and roleplaying game, film viewers are spoiled.  The modern fan of fantasy films can brag about the production values of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" adaptations, or how How to Train Your Dragon was one of the best films released in 2010.  Today's movie studios aren't afraid to use SF/F intellectual property as the basis for tent pole productions.  Today's fantasy films are often big budget affairs with top named actors and cutting edge special effects.

Even smaller productions like Fantasy Flight Games' Midnight Chronicless exhibit a seriousness almost completely absent from the fantasy films of the 80s.  In the 80s, the vast majority of fantasy films were B-movie productions that had to make up in "fun" what they often lacked in style or budget.  Things that would today be exiled to SyFy for their initial release, were theatrical films in the 1980s.

This isn't to say that the films of the 80s weren't enjoyable, just that they weren't as polished and professional as those made today.

Of those fantasy films of the 80s -- excluding Excalibur which is just pure awesome -- one film loomed large above the others in my mind.  That film was Hawk the Slayer.

No film captured the sense of fun and fantasy of Dungeons and Dragons like Hawk.  The film was camp, it was crazy, and I loved every minute of it.  I still do.

Three decades have passed since the release of that film, but its legacy lives on.  The director is planning a sequel, which can only be a labor of love, and I hope that the sequel gets completed.  I'll be among the first in line.

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