15Bavmorda - Willow

Jean Marsh in Willow

George Lucas tried to double down on the mythological-archetype storytelling that helped make the Star Wars films so successful with this 1988 film. Ron Howard directed with a cast which included Val Kilmer, Jean Marsh, Joanne Whaley and Lucasfilm staple Warwick Davis. Willow transplanted the ideas of Joseph

Campbell’s “hero's journey” theory to a medieval setting, making it more akin to Lord of the Rings than Star Wars.

Lucas had hoped that Willow would kick off a new trilogy, and though the film featured some cutting edge special effects, it proved to be a box office disappointment and is generally regarded as mediocre at best. The movie does however have one great thing going for it: Jean Marsh as the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda. Marsh plays the part with total abandon, screaming to the heavens with wicked conviction. Her performance in the film’s climax goes so far it borders on ridiculous, which is just what the role calls for. If the movie would have used Marsh to better effect, it could have become a latter-day classic.

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