Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Movie #334: Ladyhawke

Ladyhawke is an 80s fantasy film starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, John Wood, Leo McKern, and Alfred Molina.

We open with Mouse (Broderick) narrating as he escapes from the dungeons of Aquila, fleeing the area, and then bragging about it to an inn full of people who turn out to be palace guards. As he's about to skewered, Etienne of Navarre (Hauer) rocks up and saves him. Turns out Navarre is on a holy quest to kill the Bishop of Aquila (Wood) and needs Mouse's help to get back in. Oh, and Navarre has a hawk with him. That's important.

At night, though, Navarre disappears, a mysterious woman named Isabeau (Pfeiffer) appears, and Mouse is basically like "wtf" until the hawk is wounded in a fight with the guards and Navarre has him take the bird to a monk (McKern) who explains: Navarre and Isabeau were lovers, the Bishop wanted her for himself, and when she told him to get fucked he made a deal with Satan to curse them (which seems an odd career move for a bishop). During the day, Navarre is human and Isabeau is a hawk. At night, Navarre is a wolf, but Isabeau is human.

The movie concludes with the lovers confronting the Bishop during an eclipse ("a night without a day") and breaking the curse, which is nice. Along the way we get a small role from a very young Alfred Molina as a wolf-hunter.

This movie was very meaningful to me when I was much younger, to the point that I went by "Nevarre" (misspelling deliberate) on various message boards and chat rooms for a long time. The notion of the lovers being "always together, eternally apart" appealed to my love of tragic romance (BTW, ladies, if you find a man who's enamored of tragic romance, maybe think twice before getting in too deep). The movie itself holds up pretty well; no Oscar-worthy performances, here, but it's fun to watch Broderick chew scenery and Hauer be badass and blonde. Interestingly, the villain (Wood) is kinda boring; the captain of the guard (Ken Hutchison) has more to do and more bite.

The soundtrack, composed by Alan Parsons, is bloody awful. Every now and then we get some nice orchestral music, but then the synth and the electric guitar come back and it's like "oh, wow, it's the 80s now."

I think, personally, that this movie would be good to remake now with a better soundtrack and better effects. They have to keep the "Are you flesh or spirit?" "I am sorrow," exchange, though, because that's the best line in the movie.

My grade: B-
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: Lake Placid