Monday, January 26, 2004

Red Sonja

YAY! It's finally here!
I've looked everywhere for this movie on VHS or DVD for over 10 years. I knew I could find it online, but with shipping and handling... well, I didn't bother to look. 'Til last week. Got it on for a whopping $8 something total. :P It's on VHS; the movie only exists on DVD in Germany, region two, at the moment so I'll suffer for now. Up UNTIL now I'd only seen Red Sonja edited on television (which we had a recording of until my stepdad taped over it. *glowers*). NBC used to show a movie on Saturdays after cartoons were over. They played the same films a lot, and they used to show Red Sonja often. And when you're a kid, if you liked any kind of semi-realistic action with swords and horses, well then! This was the movie for you! Our couch had really tall arms on it which we would saddle up like horses, and on commercial breaks we would run around with plastic swords and look for the Talisman, like in the film. lol.

But if you DIDN'T grow up with the movie Red Sonja, and you have high standards for film, then to you it would be one of those films that has a bit too much class for "Mystery Science Theatre". But not much. ;) The film is a kind of Conan spinoff - Arnold is in it as a warrior named Kalidor. He's not the main-main character, though. Brigitte Nielsen plays the title role, a woman scorned who learns to fight better than anyone in the land so she can get revenge on the people who destroyed her village and raped her when she was a young woman. A 12 year old Ernie Reyes Jr. (who played Keno the pizza boy in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2) is in it as well.

The best part is Queen Gedren (Sandahl Bergman), Red Sonja's arch enemy. As a kid you just don't pick up on any of the queerness of this woman's obsession with Sonja. Which makes it so much more fun to watch now I'm older. :D ~*sigh*~

Red Sonja is interesting in that it was originally going to be a much higher quality film than the end result. They had top of the line costuming and film score. The costumes really are top-notch and extremely varied. One website I read pointed out that this film has the greatest variety in headwear of any film they've seen. The music was done by Ennio Morricone, the guy who did the stuff for "Fistful of Dollars" and "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly". It's quality stuff - and though there seem to be only two main themes (the travelling, main theme and the panicked fight theme) that repeat a lot, at least the catchy travelling theme is... well, catchy. It definetly conjurs up images of warriors galloping across mountains and hills on horseback.

And then there's the bad... the acting is horrendous. What is interesting is that nearly everyone delivers their lines in the same, stilted, unsure manner. It's SO across the board that you almost forgive it as just the way people seem to speak in that universe. Or you just laugh at it - the dialague makes this film highly quoteable. Nearly any sentence spoken aloud on its own is good enough to cause laughter in those who hear it. ;)

And of course, it has the 'gay is evil' theme - but Queen Gedren is so lovably shallow and evil I just want to pat her on the head. I mean, other than 5 year olds, no one is taking this film seriously, so have fun with it. The fight scenes aren't half bad and the sets are interesting, too. Just try saying the characters lines out loud and there is laughter to be had. :D

One of my favorite movies of all time - but it's a special case. ;)

Edit to add: since the original posting of this I have obtained the film on DVD - readily available at supermarket chain stores across the U.S. for about $8.