R.E.M. sang “Shiny, Happy People.” The Bee Gees AND Aerosmith were in that weird “Sgt. Pepper” movie with Peter freakin’ Frampton. Robert De Niro once impersonated himself in a “Rocky and Bullwinkle” movie.
Genius artists do dumb things.
That’s what I kept reminding myself of while slogging through Ridley Scott’s “Legend,” the movie Tom Cruise chose to make after dancing in his skivvies to Bob Seger in “Risky Business” to avoid being typecast. After this high-budget fairy tale, Maverick is lucky he had a career worthy of being invited to jump on Oprah’s couch.
“Legend” has it all: a princess, a long-haired hero, goblins, pixies, fairies and Tim Curry, who – as he did with Pennywise in “It” – steals the movie as Darkness, a Satan-styled baddie with a poet’s fatalistic heart. Curry makes an awful movie watchable.
The captain of this sinking ship was director Ridley Scott. How could the man who brought the world “Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Matchstick Men” sit around with a bunch of writers and think, “Ya know what’ll make a great movie? A morose devil who seeks to plunge the world into total darkness by cutting the magical horns off the remaining unicorns. The kids’ll love it!”
Only the kids who worry about spilling bong water in their parents’ basement. “Legend” is the kind of movie that requires illegal substances to fully appreciate – not that I’m advocating – like “Fantasia” or synching Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” with “The Wizard of Oz.”
That’s not much of an endorsement.
Neither is the fact that my 8-year-old daughter, jacked up on the idea of gorging on popcorn and watching “Legend” with me, fell asleep less that 30 minutes in. “I just don’t really care, Daddy. Night.” And then she rolled over and went to sleep.
This, again, was a movie featuring a princess, a long-haired hero, goblins, fairies … and unicorns in distress. Seems Ridley Scott underestimated just what the kids would love.