Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hawk the Slayer

Sometimes, today's fantasy movies just make me angry. The Lord of the Rings movies are astonishingly rich, with compeltely seamless special effects and great action. In my day, we had to rely on things like Hawk the Slayer.

If you haven't seen the movie and you're under about 25, I advise you not to. Even if you're old enough to remember when Krull and Legend were exciting sword-and-sorcery epics, it's a good idea to skip it. It has an emotionless elf and a sword with the Magical Power of Levitation. That doesn't mean it can fight on its own, mind you. It just means that if you drop it, you don't need to bend over to pick it up. In the book, this is described as "The mindsword sparked with a green glow and zoomed into Hawk's waiting hand". In the movie, it's much more, um, "floaty" than that. All I'm saying is that I suspect fishing line was involved.

From this, you might think that the book is better than the movie. After all, a book won't suffer from inadequate special effects, bad acting, and Patricia "Magenta from Rocky Horror" Quinn as the evil sorceress. But the book also lacks the talents of Mr. Jack Palance as the villain. And say what you will about Palance, he always brings some entertainment value to the proceedings.

The real problem with the book is that it's too heavy on the descriptions, while not being absolutely sure what the words mean. Check it:

Dismounting, they stretched weary muscles. The sky had turned to frosty black velvet, clustered with sparkling points of light.

"The stars are out," said Gort obviously.

Baldin, his back against a tree trunk, glanced up and nodded. "So they are," he acquiesced mildly.

Yeah, that's a little too... flat for my tastes. Although to be fair, if you watch that scene in the movie, you will find that he does indeed acquiesce in an exceedingly mild fashion.


Karen from Mentor said...

Followed you home from Ken Levine's site.

I LOVE the word smooshed.

I thought I was the only one who used it.

Karen :)

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh.. and the turkey episode of WKRP was then and is now still probably the funniest thing that I've ever seen on tv.

"oh the humanity"

I don't know how they kept straight faces.
Karen :)

TheyStoleFrazier'sBrain said...

Coming in a little late to say I'm actually sort of fond of Hawk the Slayer. It was cheesy and bad, but it came out about the time I started to get into D&D, so it was about all we had to work with.

I love the way the elf and the guy with the repeating crossbow will come in, lay waste to the room full of 20 guys, then Hawk saunters in, cuts down the last dude and stands around looking like he did it all.

Favorite line: in the church, the elf looks up and says, "One man. On a horse."

Because you'd obviously hear the guy first and then the horse.

One novelization you might try to hunt up is Escape from New York by Mike McQuay. It's one of the stranger adaptations out there, because he takes some serious liberties with the basic concept of the story.