Tuesday, December 28, 2010

revisiting Ladyhawke

last night, i was finally able to watch Ladyhawke – probably the most memorable fantasy picture i've seen (with the single exception of LOTR, which is the gold standard for all fantasy flicks as far as i'm concerned).

i saw this film years ago, and i remember diligently searching for a copy of it (vcd, dvd, blue-ray) afterwards in local video stores, including trips to tiangge stalls that specialize in pirated goodies, with zero results. fortunately, my younger sister sent a batch of DVDs last week — and to my utter delight, Ladyhawke was actually in that pile.

featuring michelle pfeiffer, rutger hauer and a youthful matthew broderick, this 1985 film combines an irresistible mix of fantasy, romance, action (swords and stuff), with a dash of humor thrown in for good measure. what made this movie click for me was its note-perfect cast, beautiful storyline and gorgeous locations. however, i will have to note that i found the use of contemporary tracks rather jarring.

the film's premise: Isabeau (pfeiffer) and Navarre (hauer) are the star-crossed lovers cursed by the cruel and evil bishop of Aquila, who wants Isabeau for himself, to be…

always together, eternally apart
as long as the sun rises and sets
as long as there is day and night
and for as long as they both shall live…

by day Isabeau turns into a hawk, and by night Navarre becomes a wolf. to escape the bishop's vengeful clutches, the fugitive pair travels together, but never simultaneously in their human form — never able to communicate or even catch a glimpse of the other. along the way, they encounter Mouse (broderick), a thief who had escaped from the dungeons of Aquila…

michelle pfeiffer never looked so enchanting and hauntingly ethereal (it darn near breaks your heart), and rutger hauer — one of the most underrated actors around — is dashing and irresistible as a brooding romantic lead. for once, matthew broderick looks appropriately young and irreverent in his pivotal role as a comic relief and reluctant conduit to the doomed pair. his cheeky remarks to God, as he squirms and cons his way out of trouble, serve as a droll commentary throughout the film; it saves Ladyhawke from becoming too serious for its own good.


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