Wednesday, 2 June 2010



Dir: Richard Donner (Superman, Superman II (2006), Lethal Weapon, The Goonies, Timeline)
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leo McKern, John Wood
USA, 1985

Seen: Many times in the 80's from my local video store
Revisited: May 30, 2010
on DVD

Reason to Watch & Review: For The Wolfathon *

Ladyhawke is one of those films that I have such fond memories of, that it's hard to... or rather it's not all that fun to look at with a critical eye. It is much more fun to just rather kick back and enjoy the ride.

Technically I'd have to say that it is a fantasy film, but I prefer to think of it as a historical set film with a little magic. On top of that we also get a fair amount of action and buckets and buckets of comedy. I don't know how the film manages to get all that in - not to mention the tragic love story - but it does, and it does it with charm and flair.

Matthew Broderick stars as Phillipe "Mouse" Gaston, our protagonist and continual comedic relief in the film, who reluctantly tags along with the ousted Captain Etienne Navarre played by (swoon) Rutger Hauer. Not a great start for them, but inadvertent companions tend to make for really good stories. Add to the mix the mysterious Isabeau d'Anjou (Michelle Pfeiffer), and we are well on to our way to not only adventures but romance as well.

One of the things I love about Ladyhawke is how it breaks convention. Matthew Broderick is obviously the protagonist of the film, but he's only part of the main story of the film. He's performance is charming and funny, and has many great one-liners that have stuck with me for years. Also, the effects in Ladyhawke are one of my favourite parts of the film, which is something that feels rare in 80's film, but what they've done is use creative interpretations of what is actually happening and uses that as the spirit of what we see. They may not be obvious choices, but they certainly are effective choices and I love how they were used in the film. Addd the rugged and handsome Rutger Hauer and charming Michelle Pfieffer to the mix, whom are both fantastic in their roles, what more could you ask for in a film?

I'm going to be straight with you. Saying Ladyhawke is a werewolf film is a bit of a stretch. Yes, there is a wolf, but it's completely separate from any werewolf lore I've ever encountered. I decided to include it in The Wolfathon because it's quite beloved not just to me but to many people I know. Also, it's actually the most aligned in theme in story to The Twilight Saga: Eclipse that any other film in the marathon so far, as the central storyline involves a romance and it also has a lot of action to boot.

Overall, I love this film and will always love it. The love story is beautiful, the effects are creative and the characters win me over time and time again. But. And there is a big but here, and that is the music. The music is so cheesy 80's that it's almost distracting. Okay, it is distracting. Every time I finally settled into it thinking "okay, I can handle that", somehow it got more 80's. It's a little crazy. But, it does add to the charm of the film as it wouldn't be the same without it. Fair warning for those who are going in as first time viewers. It's totally worth it, but you've been warned!

Fun fact: John Wood, who plays the Bishop of Aquila in Ladyhawke also co-starred with Matthew Broderick in the 1983 film Wargames, where he played the reclusive Falken. Took me a bit to place it, but it all comes down to the voice. Very recognizable.

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I own it, and I'll re-watch it again and again
I'd recommend it to fans of fantasy with a love story, but note that you are braving a very 80's soundtrack

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

* The Wolfathon is a marathon exploring werewolf films in anticipation of the 2010 release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse



Suzie Ridler said...

"I prefer to think of it as a historical set film with a little magic." Me too! Me too!

I think any movie where someone turns into a wolf qualifies as a werewolf movie. Totally agree Shannon and am glad that you included it in your wolfathon. Yes, very 80s and the music is kind of unforgivable but one of my favs, always.

Great review Shannon!

Simon said...

I'm afraid it's still much too eighties for me to enjoy. Alas.

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