It’s remarkable to think that in this day and age of Hollywood remaking, rebooting and recycling just about every movie that we loved from the 1980s, that we haven’t heard rumors of a new Willow film. The 1988 George Lucas story, directed by Ron Howard and starring Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis, certainly meets the immediate requirement of being a title that makes people say, “Awww, I love that movie!” Maybe it’s the fact it didn’t do so well at the box office on its large budget, or maybe Lucas created some sort of force field around this specific title that has kept it safe from the evil sorcerers of Hollywood. Either way, at least one beloved movie is sacred for now.
Then again, maybe now that Disney owns Lucasfilm, this is simply a title waiting for a new angle, and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes is signing a deal for the rights as we speak. Until that moment, though, and in honor of star Warwick Davis’ 45th birthday, I thought we could dust this movie off and look back at the most important lessons that it taught us almost 27 years ago.
1) If you’re planning to have a child, make sure that you’re doing so in a realm that isn’t run by an all-powerful queen who is destroying all pregnant women because of a prophecy that foretells her own demise.
Do you think Queen Bavmorda ever had a t-shirt and jeans kind of day? Or did she always dress like she was heading to a renaissance faire in her old Snow White Halloween costume?
2) If you’re hanging out by the river one day and you suddenly find a baby, DO NOT fall in love with it.
And don’t keep it, because giant hogs will invade your village and then the creepy old wizard will make you take the baby all the way to the Daikini Crossroads. Seriously, look at this dude…
The positive of being forced to go on a long journey with a baby born to fulfill a prophecy is that you never have to feed it like a normal baby. Nope, just let that kid make adorable faces and puke on the fat guy (Burger Hut? Burgle C*nt?), and you’re practically father of the year.
3) So you think you’re ready to be a frightening bad guy in a faraway magical fantasy world? Do you have a skeleton mask? No? Then you’re not ready.
Where do you think he got that skull? Is it from a giant gorilla or some kind of mythical beast that we just have to accept with the folklore of this film? Either way, this dude basically had a Skeletor complex.
4) If a guy hanging in a cage says that he’ll help you find a safe home for the random baby you’re carrying around, trust him.
Especially if Madmartigan says he knows a lot of women that know how to take care of babies. Sure, the leader of his former army wouldn’t even let him out of the cage, but that guy was a misogynistic jerk who looks a lot like Jake Busey.
People don’t trust Jake Busey to star in movies, so why would you believe the word of a guy who looks a little like him? Hey, speaking of people from 1988 who look a lot like people in 2015, is it just me or was Sorsha (Joanne Whalley) basically Ygritte from Game of Thrones?
I know what you’re thinking – “Damn Burnsy, I bet you think all redheaded warrior archers look alike” – and you’re right. I’m not ashamed of my unparalleled perceptive nature.
5) Brownies are dicks. Baby-stealing dicks.
Even if they brought Willow and Meegosh to meet with the spirit lady, the Brownies didn’t know that this was a good thing. Basically, they stole Elora Danan from Madmartigan, which isn’t necessarily a better situation for the girl, because they also tied up Willow and Meegosh. Were they going to eat them? Because this plot point was never explained, I have to assume that the Brownies were cannibals and cannot be trusted.
6) Possums are terrible at magic.
Let’s do a little role-playing for a second. Say you’re a Nelwyn dwarf who sucks at both farming and magic, but you’ve been tasked to save a baby’s life so she can grow up to stop the evil queen. Ultimately, your quest leads you to a powerful sorceress named Fin Raziel, who will finally relieve you of the baby so you can go home and save your farm. Except it turns out that she’s a talking possum. I understand that this movie is already long enough, so they couldn’t spend too much time on Willow bonding with the talking possum, but he didn’t even question her for a second. He was basically like, “Oh cool, you’re the sorceress? Let’s ride out.” That’s a lot of trust to give to one marsupial.
Anyway, a lot of help the magical possum was, because Willow and the baby were taken by Ygritte 1.0 to her evil mom. Also, if I lived in an alternate medieval time of magic and strange creatures, I’d totally invent the first baby seat for horseback. I’d be a billionaire.
7) Don’t let your swordsman ingest the Dust of Broken Hearts while he’s on a rescue mission, because he will fall in love with the evil princess.
I mean, it ends up working and all, but his whole Shakesperian awakening could have put the mission in jeopardy. More importantly, though, what kind of evil princess falls for that routine anyway? She’s the kind of evil princess who watches Twilight in secret, and then when her guards walk in to ask a question, she shouts, “I WAS TRYING TO WATCH FACES OF DEATH!” and then has them hanged.
8) Every good hero needs his “gearing up” scene.
Schwarzenegger had the gun shop and beach landing in Commando and Val Kilmer had the weapons room at the castle of Tir Asleen, where neither he nor Willow really seemed all that concerned that everyone was frozen in rocks. Whatevs, a guy has to focus on taking an army on by himself.
9) If you’re already fighting an army, don’t make things more difficult by turning a troll into a two-headed, fire-breathing dinosaur.
This is very counterproductive and it puts the master swordsman at even greater risk of being stabbed by large, jagged swords. Also, this is a very bad way to die:
Try to avoid dying like this, whether in a situation where you’re saving a baby from evil or just shopping at Publix and encounter a giant beast in the frozen pizza section.
10) General Kael was basically the Marshawn Lynch of evil army leaders.
“Bavmorda’s dark army gives the ball to General Kael and he rushes straight up the gut… HE BREAKS THROUGH THE MIDDLE AND HE’S OFF TO THE RACES!” Had Kael thrown the baby, it would have landed right in Airk’s arms.
11) Don’t let a sorceress turn you into a pig.
This is probably the most important lesson that we could learn from Willow, as this scene terrified me as a child. Seriously, look at this dude whose bottom half is already full pig while his upper half is still almost all man:
He’s like a pig centaur. I wonder what he was thinking at that moment. Probably, “I’d really like to not be turning into a pig right about now.”
12) If you’re tasked with changing the goat sorceress back into a human, quit f*cking around and believe in the damn words already.
And then as soon as you pull it off, turn around, head back to your village, and throw it all right back in that creepy, old wizard’s face. You know that dude never pulled off any spell as awesome as that. At best, he probably turned a bag of wheat into some bread. Punk ass magic jockey.
13) If you take all day to kill the baby that’s destined to grow up and kill you, then you deserve to lose in the end.
And never ever underestimate the power of the little guy, or else you just might end up getting fried by your own damn clumsiness.
14) Remember that the high road is for suckers. Make a bird poop in the fat guy’s mouth.
That’ll show him. That’ll show all of them.