Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ladyhawke: Magic, Romance and Disco Inferno

We expect our fantasy movies to sound a certain way, generally like this:

(skip to about 33 seconds in)

or this, this is ok too:

But not this:

Welcome to Ladyhawke.

To give you an idea, this was the least ridiculous poster I could find

Ladyhawke is a film from 1985 that stars munchkin versions of various stars we know and love: Michelle Pfieffer back when she was absolutely beautiful (compare to how she looks up in the Stardust video), Matthew Broderick back when he could get away with an annoying character by just being THAT adorable, and that old mean dude who ran Wayne Enterprises in Batman Begins as a bad-ass knight.

I'm just messin' with you, Rutger Hauer...but seriously, this is the only other thing I know you from

It's one of those 80's fantasy films where everyone's names are French but the closest effort anyone bothers for is an English accent. Where mysterious curses just sort of crop without proper explanation and there are absolutely no negative consequences to murdering a holy man. Yeah.

So, the film centers around the young thief Philipe "Mouse" Gaston, played by a very young Matthew Broderick who's puppy eyes scream "Yeah I do play annoying kid who talks too much and becomes the sidekick to the much cooler hero, all the while skirting the line between endearing and irritating. But I am so cute there is nothing you can do about it"

Gaze upon his boyish good looks and tremble!

So Mouse escapes from prison and while on the run from soldiers is saved by Captain Navarre, Rutger Hauer's character. Navarre is pretty kick-ass, he has a huge sword, dresses all in black, rides a black horse and has a scary hawk with him at all times. He enlists in Mouse's help to go back to the prison he escaped from in order to kill the corrupt and evil Bishop. Why does Navarre want to kill a Bishop, the fact that this Bishop dude is a butt notwithstanding? Mouse finds out at night, when Navarre is suddenly nowhere to be found and his hawk has become something deeply strange...

And by strange I mean sexy

Mouse soon discovers that this woman, Isabeau, and Navarre are cursed lovers who can never be together as humans. During the day she is a hawk and when night falls Navarre becomes a wolf. This curse apparently just sort of happened when the Bishop got all pissy because Isabeau didn't return his love. The movie is unclear how exactly a Bishop managed to pull off this whole shape-shifting curse dealie but just go with it.

So Mouse befriends both Navarre and Isabeau, leading the audience to wonder when the hell the boy ever gets any sleep. Ostensibly he also helps them, but in truth he spends a good 60% of his screentime running like a four year old girl in a Sunday dress and the other 40% standing around with a doofy expression on his face.

Much like this one

So there's chases and action and romance and humor and drunk monks and that whole true love overcoming all obstacles, blablabla. No, it really is a good movie for all of it's 80's-ness. It's earnest and endearing, the fight scenes are pretty good and all the actors turn in good and credible performances, if not accents (seriously, why even bother with giving them French names if your principal cast is American, English, and, in Rutger Hauer's case, Dutch?). It's just...the music. And not even for the whole movie, which is the weird part. There are some bits, such as the love theme, which are achingly beautiful and setting-appropriate. And then an action scene comes and suddenly it's Disco Fever, Synth City, Over the top ridiculous electro-pop -

Er, sorry. It's just bad. But don't let that stop you from watching Ladyhawke, or you'll miss out on a classic act of 80's nostalgia fantasy film. What I mean to say is, the movie's heart wins out over my desire to beat the film's composer with an old Casio keyboard and earns this movie three catapults out of five.

This is Sugary Cynic, girl by day, hawk by night saying "Kakaaaaaaaaaw!" 'Night!

Phillipe: (upon finally realizing that Isabeau is the hawk) "Are you flesh, or are you spirit?"

Isabeau: "I am sorrow"


  1. Oh good lord, how I hate this movie. If only because my film teacher last year made us write down every single camera angle, shot, and technique during the final battle scene. It was exhausting.

  2. Ok Rutger Hauer makes me warm inside...I've had a crush on him since the 80's...Shhhhhhhhh tell no one! LOL

  3. It's 2.32am and I'm gonna laugh my arse off to bed :) x

  4. Simon: Yah, I could see how that could make you hate it.

    Widow: I will not tell a soul, mostly because you did it for me :p

    Simon M.: I approve of all 2:32am ass-less laughing :D

  5. Ladyhawke is a fantastic fucking flick. I won't let bad music ruin a great movie... like I won't let great music spare the axe for a horrible film COUGHHHDonnie Darko.

  6. I did say in the end that I like it. It's kind of impossible not to. But then I also love the hell out of Donnie Darko so *shrug*

  7. i like this movie, I wanted to marry with Navarra and then escape with Philipe "Mouse" (Matthew was soooo cute) :P


Share the love! Or, alternatively, the hate. Whichever, I'm easy

These Are Also Nice

Related Posts with Thumbnails