The story is set “once, long ago” in a world of unicorns, fairies, goblins, and demons. Hidden in a dark lair, the antagonist, the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) instructs his goblin servant Blix (Alice Playten) to locate the two unicorns that roam in the nearby forest and remove their horns. If the unicorns die and their horns are removed, the Lord of Darkness can ensure that dawn never again breaks, and sunshine never returns.
In the forest, Jack (Tom Cruise), a young hermit, meets with his love, Princess Lily (Mia Sara). As one of few forest dwellers allowed to locate the unicorns, Jack takes Lily to see the creatures, while followed by Blix and her two cohorts Pox and Blunder. The unicorns appear, and Lily ignores Jack’s pleas not to touch them. As Lily approaches the unicorns, the goblins attack with a poisoned blowpipe dart, hitting the stallion. The unicorns bolt, with neither Lily nor Jack noticing the attack.
Jack chastises Lily for ignoring his warnings. Unaware of the repercussions of her touching the unicorn, Lily engages Jack in innocent chatter and sets a quest for Jack by throwing her ring into a nearby pond and claiming that she will marry the one who recovers her ring. Jack immediately dives off the cliff into the pond to recover it. Meanwhile, overcome by the venom, the stallion dies and Blix removes its horn. The unicorn’s death causes a fierce snowstorm, which freezes the pond. Unable to locate the ring, Jack breaks through the ice and resurfaces, to find world transformed into winter with Lily nowhere in sight. Frightened by the storm, Lily returns to her village and enters a cottage owned by her friend Nell, a woodland dweller. However, she finds that Nell and her family have frozen as part of the curse brought on by the theft of the unicorn’s horn. Hearing noises outside, Lily hides just in time to avoid arriving goblins, and overhears clues that explain the cause of the disaster. As the goblins ride off, Lily swears to undo her mistake.
Meanwhile, Jack meets Oona, Honeythorn Gump, Brown Tom, and Screwball (a fairy, an elf, and two dwarves). Due to Jack’s great crime of allowing a human to touch a unicorn, Gump is unwilling to lend his aid. At Jack’s insistence, Gump puts a difficult riddle to him and offers forgiveness if it is answered correctly, certain that Jack will be unable solve it. Much to Gump’s surprise and rage, Jack correctly answers the riddle. Gump soon recovers his composure and admits defeat, and invites Jack to join his party. The group then sets off on its quest together, and they discover the lifeless stallion without its mate, its companion alicorn. Gump and Jack conclude that the alicorn must be found at all costs, and only then will the world return to normal. Jack and the fairies leave Brown Tom with the female unicorn to find weapons for Jack. Lily runs back to tell Brown Tom that the goblins are coming for the female, and tries to help him, but they are discovered by the goblins. After a skirmish, Lily and the surviving unicorn are taken to the Lord of Darkness.
Jack, who has now been fitted with armor and a sword, is happy to learn that Lily is still alive, and resolves to rescue her. The comrades overcome various obstacles to reach the Lord of Darkness’ lair, where they witness the evil Dark Lord trying to seduce Lily with his charm and power. Lily seems to succumb to the Dark Lord’s advances despite initial resistance, and she asks for the privilege of killing the surviving unicorn.
Jack and his friends overhear the Dark Lord tell Lily that sunlight will destroy him. Consequently they gather large metal dishes to use as mirrors, which they position around the castle in order to channel sunlight into the lair. The Dark Lord brings Lily to the unicorn, and Jack’s friends encourage Jack to shoot Lily with an arrow to prevent the animal’s death. Jack ignores their pleas, trusting his love. Indeed, Lily betrays the Dark Lord and cuts the unicorn free instead. Angered, the Lord of Darkness strikes Lily and she loses consciousness. Jack then appears and confronts the Dark Lord, but he is undersized and outmatched. As defeat looms, Jack plunges the stallion’s horn into the Lord of Darkness’ chest just as the last mirror is set in place and sunlight strikes the Dark Lord, destroying him.
Jack tries to revive Lily, but she remains asleep under a spell. Jack dives into the pond and recovers the ring. As Jack slips the ring onto Lily’s finger, the Princess awakens. Lily then removes her ring and gives it to Jack, and invites him to return the next day. She returns home, and as Jack runs off into the sunset, Gump, Oona, and the rest of the group, including both unicorns, wave goodbye to Jack, the quest now concluded.
The movie (as seen in the U.S.) ends with the Lord of Darkness laughing one last time, indicating his statement that darkness cannot be completely destroyed – it always exists to counterbalance light.
One of the most promising directors of the late ‘70s, Ridley Scott displayed stylistic flair and remarkable storytelling abilities in such films as The Duellists (1977) and his landmark Alien (1979). Born in 1937, in Northumberland, England, Scott was educated at the West Hartlepool College of Art and London’s Royal College of Art. After completing his education, he became a set designer for the British Broadcasting Company in the early ’60s, eventually getting promoted to director of such popular BBC series as the long-running police adventure Z Cars. With the establishment of his own firm, Ridley Scott Associates, Scott was in on the ground floor of some of the most inventive European TV commercials of the 1970s.
The director’s transition to the big screen came with his direction of 1977’s The Duellists, a visually striking Napoleonic war film that won the Jury Prize for Best First Feature at the Cannes Film Festival. Further success followed with 1979’s Alien, which established… read more
Lovely set design and beautiful direction. The dance scene is one of the best scenes in the film with great music being played behind it. Tim Curry is still as creepy as i remember and so is the witch in the swamp. A childhood fairy tale that can be enjoyed by anyone.