Sunday, May 25, 2014

Movies by year: 1986

(Look out for spoilers!)

Okay, we're really cooking now - 1986 was an awesome year for movies, lots of adventure and excitement. Jim Henson brought us David Bowie in tights in Labyrinth, and hearts were set aflutter. Kurt Russell did a comic/action turn in Big Trouble In Little China (makes for a good double-bill with Buckaroo Banzai, by the way). Ferris Bueller's Day Off gave us a day in the life of the coolest high schooler ever. Stand By Me introduced us to a few stars before their time and made us swear to never walk through a swamp. The Name Of The Rose was a compelling mediaeval murder mystery with a fantastic solution. Our Federation heroes came to visit in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Musicals were fun again with Little Shop Of Horrors ("You'll Be A Dentist" was all over the radio as I recall). Ripley returned for a more action-oriented Aliens. And David Cronenberg took Hollywood tall couple Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum and ruined their lives in The Fly.

I did say adventure, right? Here's my choice for 1986:

Highlander


For those unfamiliar with it, here's the background: throughout the ages, some people have arisen who are immortal, and eventually they have to battle until there is only one standing. The only way to kill an immortal is to decapitate them. When one immortal kills another immortal, the victor takes the power of the loser. The winner of the final battle wins 'the prize.' Got it?

I absolutely love this movie. What we get are lots of epic sword fights, multi-century flashbacks, sweeping crane shots, awesome transitions. Honestly, I can't think of another film that makes such great use of these angles and shots, it's like another character.

Oh, and a kick-ass soundtrack by Queen, all songs written specifically for the film and for the exact scenes in which they appear - you can't always say that, can you?

But it's not perfect - Christopher Lambert, who can't lose his French accent, plays our Scottish hero Connor MacLeod, while Sean Connery, who can't lose his Scottish accent, plays Ramirez, an Egyptian from Spain. And the women in this movie really don't do anything but scream and need to be rescued. Confused? Don't worry, Clancy Brown is The Kurgen, the ultimate bad guy - the scene in the church is my favourite in the whole movie.

And there's a lot of comic relief too, from fish falling from MacLeod's kilt to the survival nut to the duel on the riverbank. Also: “What does 'incompetent' mean? What does 'baffled' mean?”

This spawned a 90s TV series about Connor's cousin Duncan, which ran for several seasons and used the excellent theme from the movie ("Princes Of The Universe"), I'll leave it to you whether you think it was as good as the movie.

What did you think of Highlander? Were you unfortunate enough to have seen the sequel?

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