- Movie Rating -

The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)

| April 23, 1982

They say that in showbusiness timing is everything, and timing may have been the enemy of The Sword and the Sorcerer, a medieval epic that has the misfortune to land while our brains are still fresh from Clash of the Titans and Dragonslayer and with Conan the Barbarian right on its heels.  This movie seems kind of late to the party.

It is not a bad movie, but after those other epics, it is hard to get excited about this one.  It has a great deal of grand visual spender but somehow it never comes together.  It has a plot that is way too disjointed and complicated to really make sense and it has characters that, frankly, all seemed interchangeable.  There’s the hero, the wizard, the damsel and the villain but I am struggling now to remember their names.

The plot is kind of beside the point, but for completion’s sake here goes: The evil King Titus Cromwell wishes to be the absolute ruler of the kingdom but finds his efforts constantly thwarted by his enemies and, out of frustration, decides to hire a specialist in black magic to resurrect Xuzia of Delos.  Afterwards, he uses the resurrected wizard to defeat his enemies.

That’s pretty much it.  The plot is paper thin.  It doesn’t have much of a story nor much of a narrative structure.  What is has is a great look.  Beyond the cartoon pallete of Clash of the Titans and the naturalistic world of Dragonslayer, this one offers great visual effects and set design.  The best scene in the movie, for me, is the resurrection of Zuzia which takes place in a torch-lit cave.  The walls are covered with thousands of faces all jammed together wailing and moaning as the wizard comes to life.  And, of course, the witch that brings the wizard to life has to let us know that “He LIVES!!”  Just in case we missed it.  The scene is pretty spectacular, like something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It’s too bad that scenes like that are absent of any kind of interesting characters.  There are types in this movie.  There are evil people.  There are good people.  There are magic people.  There are beautiful people.  There are ugly people.  And yet, the movie makes no real attempt to give them characters.  They have quirks but their dialogue is all plot-driven.

When it was over, I wasn’t left with much.  This is not a terrible movie but it is not a very well-structured movie either. This is a film that depends very much on the visual effects and the set design to keep you interesting but it doesn’t leave much to the imagination as far as anything else.  I wasn’t bored by the movie, but I was aware that I’d seen better movies in its vicinity, films that were made with more care and more attention to detail than this one. 

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1982) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized