In Defense Of: “Legend” (1985)

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Its Good Vs. Bad Storyline Is Surprisingly Deep And Philosophical (Especially For A Family Movie)

Sure, it may be a somewhat cloyingly traditional good vs. bad setup, but for all its fairyland pomp and mythical swagger, there are a myriad of underlying themes that gel together thoughtfully here. Light and dark is a recurring motif, and sits at the heart of the overarching sword-and-sorcery plot. Its most profound and memorable moments of dialogue are illuminated with this persistent theme (“What is light without dark?” hisses a devil-like Tim Curry with graceful pomposity in the closing act).

Essentially, it’s a narrative that revels in the duality of life, and re-affirms the notion of how both light and dark cannot exist without one another, and, if that’s so, can there truly be good without bad? Apart from the Star Wars trilogy, which is a pretty apt analogue, it was one of the first movies I watched that hammered home the idea that both good/bad and light/dark are merely two sides to life’s same coin.

Tim Curry Legend

Running parallel to this is another interesting theme that hones in on the consequences of selfishness. Princess Lili, Jack’s love interest, selfishly touches a unicorn despite the protagonist imploring her not to. This moment, where Lili thinks only of herself, sets off a domino effect that not only tarnishes her pure innocence, but is the ‘sin’ that assists the Prince of Darkness in securing the unicorn’s horn, a key part to the big bad’s overall masterplan. At its core, this theme highlights the imperfection of mankind.

Admittedly, on the whole, the story is pretty slight, and is nowhere near as deep and philosophical as, say, something like The Matrix or the aforementioned Star Wars series. However, Legend does tell a surprisingly nuanced tale that revolves around life’s fundamental paradoxes, and it does so with a knowing grin and charming mischievous vigor.

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