Movie Review – The Beastmaster

1982 MGM

Three Stars

The Beastmaster

The late 1970’s to the mid 1980’s were a veritable gold mine for fans of fantasy movies. We were showered with such classics and non classics as Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Conan the Barbarian, Dragonslayer, Clash of the Titans, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Excalibur, Conan the Destroyer, The Dark Crystal, Krull, Legend, Sword of the Valiant, Fire and Ice, and even a segment of Heavy Metal. During this fantasy blitz we also saw the debut of The Beastmaster.

Directed by Don Coscarelli, the man behind the awesome Phantasm movies, The Beastmaster has achieved minor cult status over the years due in part to repeated showings on HBO and TBS during the eighties. Not on par production wise with the likes of Excalibur or Conan this movie nevertheless turned out to be very entertaining despite meddling by studio executives who always think they know better than the person they hired to make the movie. Idiots I say.

The Beastmaster tells the story of Dar, a man who was magically removed from his mother before birth and transferred into a cow (yes a cow). Born from the cow (C-Section) he grew to manhood and sought revenge on those who destroyed his people, I know what a shock huh? Due to his rather unusual birth he has the ability to communicate with the animal kingdom, he sees through their eyes, they see through his. On his quest for vengeance he befriends an eagle, a tiger ridiculously painted black, and two meerkats. He also meets a beautiful slave girl/warrior/airhead and two pilgrims on a similar quest to Dar’s.

Despite a somewhat cheap look and characters that aren’t all that interesting this is still a fun watch. Yet another movie that I wonder how it would have turned out without the interference of the studio. I don’t think we will ever know.

The Good:

Rip Torn is really good as Maax. He seems to be having a great deal of fun.

Rip Torn is really good as Maax. He seems to be having a great deal of fun.

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The tree of the weird bird people. This sequence is my favorite in the movie.

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The birds come in handy at the end.

The eyeball spy ring. This was the best ever cereal box prize.

The eyeball spy ring. This was the best ever cereal box prize.

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These guys are cool.

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You can make a crazy dude too, just add a toxic leech into the ear and presto!

Amazing movie sequences #2: The witch versus the old dude –

Using her magic the butterface witch tosses the dudes sword in the air...

Using her magic the butterface witch tosses the dudes sword in the air…

…toss, toss…

...it lands right in front of him so he picks it up...

…it lands right in front of him so he picks it up…

...and skewers the dumbass.

…and skewers the dumbass. Toss it into the woods next time stupid!

The not so good:

Medieval Humongous, leader of the Juns looks cool but never utters a word. He's kind of dull

Medieval Humongous, leader of the Juns looks cool but never utters a word. He’s kind of dull. Maybe he hangs out with Thulsa Doom and they compare notes on being dull.

Why is Dar swinging around this branch...

Why is Dar swinging around this branch…

...when he has this nice sword?

…when he has this nice sword? Dar’s kind of a dork.

How come Dar looks bigger than the city?

How come Dar looks bigger than the city? This effect is a little wonky.

The special effects are not so special.

Most of the special effects are not so special. This doesn’t really fool the eye at all.

This blotch is supposed to be the dust raised by the approaching Jun hoard.

The red blotch  is supposed to be the dust raised by the approaching Jun hoard. Looks more like the hills have a nasty sore.

Random thoughts and observations:

The original novel this movie is based on is set in the future on a human colony on a different planet. Don Coscarelli pulled a reverse Highlander 2: The Quickening on the story.

This movie spawned two incredibly bad sequels. I probably will not review them because that would force me to watch them again.

The fake baby...

The fake baby…

...and the real baby don't match.

…and the real baby don’t match.

This guard gets taken out...

This guard gets taken out…

...but vanishes a second later. Weird.

…but vanishes a second later.

Right before Seth destroys the eyeball ring there are three witches watching even though two of them are dead.

Right before Seth destroys the eyeball ring there are three witches watching even though two of them are already dead.

Squish, sizzle.

Squish, sizzle, poof.

See, only one left!

See, only one left!

Maybe they should have made the gate a little higher. Someone could probably climb over it pretty easy.

Maybe they should have made the gate a little higher. Someone could probably climb over it pretty easy.

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See what did I tell you! Good defenses. 

The fire trap they set for the Jun's...

The fire trap they set for the Jun’s…

...doesn't really seem to do much. Must be fire retardant armor and skin too.

…doesn’t really seem to do much. Must be fire retardant armor ( skin too).

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