Review: Ridley Scott's 'Legend' Enjoys a Breathless New Blu-ray from Arrow

by Sam Cohen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday October 12, 2021

Mostly every famous filmmaker has a dud or two under their belts the kind that smack of studio meddling, production disasters, or even some outrageously bad performances. Ridley Scott's "Legend" is one of those minor disasters, suffering from studio entanglement, somewhat threadbare source material, and a torturous post-production that cut down Scott's original vision remarkably. That vision isn't some great, underrated fantasy treatment for the big screen, but it does show how odd Hollywood's need for fantasy franchise IP was in the 1980s.

Arrow Films brings Ridley Scott's "Legend" to Blu-ray in a terrific limited-edition set that boasts a new 2K restoration of the U.S. Theatrical Cut, a slew of newly produced extras, and another decent presentation of the 2011 HD master of the Director's Cut. There's a long story about why Arrow couldn't do a 4K Blu-ray of "Legend" as they originally had planned, but the new 2K restoration shown here should be more than sufficient to people everywhere. Film grain is really well defined, colors are vibrant, and the production design enjoys a huge uptick in quality over the previous Universal Blu-ray from 2011.

The erstwhile Jack (Tom Cruise) lives in a vibrant fantasy world filled with unicorns, magic, and all kinds of forest creatures. But all that is threatened when the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) dispatches his minions to capture one of the last unicorns, sever its horn, and use its magic to plunge the world into everlasting night. Oh, and Jack loves Princess Lily (Mia Sara), who is abducted by the Lord of Darkness.

"Legend" still stands as one of the most gorgeous big-budget spectacles to come out of that era of Hollywood filmmaking, filled with great tactile effects work that still holds up to this day. Unfortunately, it's all in service of a plot that's about as boilerplate as they come. That being said, it's a universe that bears further scrutiny, thanks to its incredible production design.

As for special features, Arrow has once again provided a laundry list of supplements that color in the history surrounding "Legend" very well. The archival featurettes from the previous Blu-ray have been carried over, while newly-produced featurettes, like interviews with cast and crew from the movie, provide some great context. And, as is Arrow's wont, this limited edition comes packaged in a hardbox with a large fold-out poster inside, as well as a booklet filled with critical writings on the film. If you're curious about "Legend," then this release belongs in your collection.

Other special features include:

• Illustrated perfect-bound book with new writing by Nicholas Clement and Kat Ellinger and archive materials including production notes and a 2002 interview with Charles de Lauzirika about the restoration of the Director's Cut
• Glossy full-color portraits of the cast photographed by Annie Leibovitz
• Six double-sided postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
• Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Neil Davies and original theatrical artwork by John Alvin

DISC 1: US THEATRICAL CUT
• New 2K restoration of the US Theatrical Cut from original materials including a 4K scan of the original negative
• New commentary by Paul M. Sammon author of "Ridley Scott: The Making of His Movies"
• 2002 Reconstructed isolated score by Tangerine Dream
• Isolated music and effects track
• "A Fairytale in Pinewood" — new featurette interviewing grip David Cadwallader, costume designer Charles Knode, co-star Annabelle Lanyon, camera operator Peter MacDonald, set decorator Ann Mollo and draftsman John Ralph
• "Incarnations of a Legend" — comparison featurette written and narrated by critic Travis Crawford
• "The Directors: Ridley Scott" — 2003 documentary where the director discusses his career, including Legend
• "Is Your Love Strong Enough?" music video by Bryan Ferry

DISC 2: DIRECTOR'S CUT
• Commentary by Ridley Scott
• "Creating A Myth: Memories of Legend" — a 2002 documentary with interviews with Ridley Scott, William Hjortsberg, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, Rob Bottin and others
• Original promotional featurette
• Alternate "Four Goblins" opening and "The Fairie Dance" deleted scene
• Storyboard galleries for three deleted scenes
• Two drafts of William Hjortsberg's screenplay
• Alternate footage from the overseas release plus textless footage
• Trailers and TV spots
• Still galleries


"Legend" is now available on Blu-ray from Arrow Films.