Krull: when swamps, cyclops, and alien invaders collide (scifi film retrospective).

Krull, that flamboyant 1983 science fantasy swashbuckler, is an extravagant cinematic mélange that echoes through the annals of film history with the subtlety of a fireworks display in a library. Directed by Peter Yates and penned by Stanford Sherman, this film wears its heart on its glittering sleeve, unabashedly presenting its wild, whirlwind narrative to an audience that wasn’t quite sure what they were beholding.

The story gallivants alongside Prince Colwyn (played with swashbuckling gusto by Kenneth Marshall), as he forms a coalition of the willing and the whimsical to rescue his bride, Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony), from the ominous clutches of alien invaders who have somewhat rudely gate-crashed on their home planet, Krull.

The film, bursting at the seams with a large ensemble cast including the likes of Freddie Jones, Alun Armstrong, and early screen performances from Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane, aims for the stars with its fantasy. However, it occasionally stumbles over its own ambitious feet, landing face-first into a puddle of mixed critical opinion and box office disappointment.

“Krull” spins a yarn that kicks off with a prophecy, because no self-respecting fantasy film would dare begin without one. We’re promised a king and queen ruling the world, followed by their son who will apparently take the reins of the galaxy. Quite the career trajectory, one must admit.

Then enter the Beast and his army of Slayers, traveling across the galaxy in their mountain-esque spaceship, the Black Fortress. Their invasion interrupts the royal nuptials of Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa, leading to a narrative tapestry woven with magical weapons, shifting fortresses, cyclopes, and changelings.

Colwyn embarks on a quest to retrieve the Glaive, a magical star-shaped weapon, and assembles a motley crew including a magician, a band of thieves, fighters, and a cyclops to aid in his rescue mission. They traverse swamps, withstand Slayer attacks, and face magical challenges, all in pursuit of love and the overthrow of the Beast.

The audience is treated to visual delights and an atmospheric soundtrack, even as the plot gallivants through the fantastical landscape with the occasional stumble over logic and originality. Critics have thrown jabs at the film’s derivative elements and occasionally nonsensical narrative, while others have tipped their hats to its visual effects, adventurous spirit, and nostalgic charm.

Despite its box-office nosedive and the mixed bag of critical reception at the time of release, “Krull” has garnered a cult following over the years, with viewers finding delight in its bold attempts at melding fantasy and sci-fi, its bravado, and its unapologetic embrace of the magical and the mythical.

“Krull” stands as a testament to the audacity of cinematic dreams. It’s a wild, whimsical ride through a galaxy where magic and technology clash, prophecies are uttered with grave seriousness, and love triumphantly laughs in the face of danger. With its unique charm and a cascade of magical elements, “Krull” twinkles in the night sky of film history, winking at those who appreciate the audacious, the fanciful, and the utterly fantastical.

Krull: when swamps, cyclopes, and alien invaders collide (scifi film retrospective).
Eye eye, what is this Krull stuff about, then?


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.