A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Krull is a 1983 sci-fi/fantasy quest movie in which a prince must rescue his bride and his planet by doing battle with The Beast and his army of Slayers. Expect some mild violence: Characters do battle with swords, lasers, and light sabers. One character is stabbed to death, and another is impaled on spikes. A demon disguised as an attractive woman attempts to seduce the lead character. Overall, this is a classic of '80s kitsch of the "so bad it's good" variety. While there might be sentimental value for children of the '80s, their 21st century offspring are more likely to find humor in the special effects and outdated styles, to say nothing of a young Liam Neeson's mullet. This movie could be a starting point for families to discuss "quest" movies, as well as movies from that time that tried to copy the magic of the Star Wars movies and fell short.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
On the planet KRULL, Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) is on the verge of marrying Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony). This union will bring two kingdoms together as they join forces to fight The Beast and his army of Slayers, who are determined to conquer and destroy Krull. During the wedding ceremony, the Slayers enter the castle, kill Colywn and Lyssa's fathers, and kidnap Lyssa and take her to the Black Fortress. Colwyn must journey across the planet to find the Black Fortress, rescue Lyssa, and defeat The Beast. To help him on his quest, he's aided by wizened Ynyr, a clumsy magician named Ergo, a Blind Emerald Seer, a Cyclops, and a band of robbers, who use their skills to lead him from one moment of peril to the next until the final confrontation with The Beast.
Is it any good?
It was a box office bomb in the early 1980s, and while it has its defenders, this is essentially a cheesy and derivative attempt to harness the Star Wars magic. Not that Krull is entirely devoid of entertainment value, but that value is attained from how dated it is. The sets often look like something straight out of heavy metal music videos. The hair is nice and big, and a young Liam Neeson's scalp sports the classic mullet. For the youth of the 21st century, the pre-CGI special effects aren't exactly stellar, and the story plods along from one fantasy cliche to the next.
Indeed, with deliberately odd character names like "Ynyr" and "Torquil," to say nothing of the oxymoronic "Blind Emerald Seer," there are moments where Krull feels more like a parody of sci-fi adventure rather than something earnest. The twin suns of the planet Krull and the light sabers aren't the only things heavily borrowed from Star Wars. The attempt to meld the "swashbuckling" stories with the "quest" story into the sci-fi/fantasy setting fails where Star Wars obviously succeeded, and if anything, Krull gives the viewer a deeper appreciation for what George Lucas et. al achieved.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about "quest" stories. How is Krull an example of a story in which characters go on an adventure, in search of rescuing damsels in distress, hidden treasure, etc.? What are some other examples of "quest" movies and stories?
What are some of the ways in which the movie seems derivative of Star Wars and other hit movies from that time?
How does the violence compare to similar movies of the sci-fi and adventure genres?
- In theaters: July 29, 1983
- On DVD or streaming: January 1, 2001
- Cast: Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Liam Neeson
- Director: Peter Yates
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures
- Run time: 121 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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