REVIEW – “Willow”

Note: This is a review of episodes 1-3 of the series.

Ron Howard’s Willow, while maintaining a cult-status of sorts amongst passionate fans, wasn’t quite a box-office hit back in 1988 when it was released – even I’m afraid to admit that I didn’t get around to watching the original film until this year in preparation for this new series. However, streaming services continue to be the saving grace for certain franchises and characters we thought we’d seen the last of, as Disney+ brings us a new Willow series. This isn’t a reboot or a remake of the original story, but a straight continuation following the events of the first film. I won’t spoil the direct connections to all of the original characters incase you went unspoiled like I did, but some of the ensemble here have direct connections and lineage to the characters from the original film. But even with that being said, it wouldn’t be a Willow series without Willow himself being at the forefront of it – and I’m delighted to say that legend Warwick Davis is back pretty early on in the series.

One of the most impressive aspects of this continuation is how seamlessly it expands on the lore and world of the original film. Not only is it a delight to see the returning actors and characters, but it feels like the world around them is even more fleshed out and lived in; it just feels narratively cohesive in a really satisfying way. Also like the original film, this series is filled to the brim with practical effects and top-notch puppeteering when bringing to life its creatures, gorgeous visuals in its on-location shooting, and immersive production design within the gorgeous sets. Lucasfilm always makes it a priority to incorporate a fair balance of practical and visual effects with each of their projects, and Willow is one of their best efforts yet in that regard.

Where a lot of theses spin-off/continuation/reboot shows can go wrong is within the new cast they have, but luckily Willow has a good line-up of capable actors with characters that are engaging and endearing right off the bat that you have no trouble wanting to follow them into an adventure. You have well-regarded and talented young actors like Tony Revolori and Erin Kellyman, both of which are known from appearing in the Star Wars and Marvel franchises as well as acclaimed independent films. These recognizable faces are just as great as the lesser-known but tremendously talented actors like Ruby Cruz, Ellie Bamber, and Amar Chadha-Patel. As for returning characters, it’s delight to see Joanne Whalley back as Sorsha, although her role has been limited from the few episodes I’ve seen. But it’s really Warwick Davis is who is obviously the selling point here, and from the moment he appears on-screen, the show transforms into being an entertaining continuation to absolutely delightful. Davis doesn’t miss a beat as Willow, and feels as endearing as he did in the role back in 1988.

I don’t want to discuss too many specifics about the plot because I knew virtually nothing about the specifics before starting the series. However, one of the questions I had going into it was how the series would continue the story and validate eight-hours (give or take) of content. The original Willow is a really fun adventure movie, but it works best in the format as a film. This continuation does a great job at keeping the same tone and spirit of the original film, while also deeper exploring the world and lore of Willow in a genuinely compelling and exciting way. With shows like House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, it’s nice that Disney now has a fantasy show of sorts for themselves. Is it as intricate as the former, or as expensive in its VFX as the latter? No. But that’s a good thing – this is a show that understand the core of what Willow is, and why its fans gravitate to the material. It’s deeply heartfelt, adventerous, and just a grand time from what I’ve seen so far.


16 thoughts on “REVIEW – “Willow”

  1. I am curious if you actually believe a single word you just wrote here. You need to provide terrible reviews for even worse products to get a paycheck, i get it. Hopefully one day you can actually be honost with your readers rather than just another yes man for the industry which is dieing. By you condoning this apparition of another I.P. from the 80’s, allowing the major studios to continue to kill an american passtime as well as the integrity of american storytelling.


  2. Are you sure you actually watched the correct show? Did Disney pay you to write this or something? The writing is terrible and there are glaring plot holes throughout. They made willow himself a secondary character. The dialogue doesn’t even sound like it’s from the same realm. The prince and princess are both insufferable and just sound like whiny teenagers from Connecticut. It makes no sense that the lead knight sent to protect them is a 120 lb 5’6 female with no actual battle experience. This review can’t be serious.


      1. Ah, I get it now. You’re a child yourself. I was afraid we needed to take your opinion seriously. Thanks for clearing that up.


  3. This show is without a doubt the worst TV show I think I’ve EVER seen. The guy saying its woke in the reviews is correct, though he means it as if this is a good thing. This is the very thing that pisses me off with today’s world and especially Disney. Keep your PC, woke, trans, racial, BS far far away from the writing and directing of anything meant for entertainment.
    All this PC, woke, trans, BS all comes from the younger generation. Since when did we allow children to dictate to adults what’s right and what’s wrong???
    What a piece of s**t world we live in when we can’t even watch a TV show without being bombarded with PC, woke crap, and Willow the TV series is the best example of it. I ran out of patience after 4 episodes and won’t be returning. Such a shame as it had so much potential but the “woke” writer’s and director’s have destroyed their attempt to continue the story of what was a cult classic! Anyone with more than half a brain cell will probably hate this show… everyone else needs to grow up and F**K OFF with your modern day BS!!!


      1. Oh Adam, you poor child. ‘Great Business’ for an article written 2 weeks ago that’s only generated a handful of comments? Do you not realize that the only people actually viewing this article were fed it via a Google feed or Flipboard? Both of which make it easy for users to disable future feeds to you and this site entirely? Enjoy your ‘hits’ while they last…


  4. My Opinion: Like or Don’t Like:
    People gonna hate, but I liked your review. So yeah, as a fan of the OG movie, I can get why people are unhappy with the recent series, but it’s actually an enjoyable watch if you set your expectations aside and take it for what it is. Of course it was going to be “modernized” to make it more relatable to what I’m guessing was the target audience, yes, there’s going to be plot holes simply because of the format it’s being presented as well as the series style of storytelling. I feel they did a decent job tying the old story to the new, explaining the characters, setting the plot points. I’m not opposed to a more relaxed verbage in the script. Obviously I’m not looking for a medieval night to say groovy or call something woke. That would be too jarring. But a stricter time period vocabulary can sometimes be just as distracting and difficult to process. The characters are what’s important, not how they say what they say. (That said, my favorite line of all times which I still use to this day is when Bavmorda spat “Traitor child! I must despise you now.”. So great.) I’m not a particular fan of every show needing a fem/fem coupling. Kit could have easily been straight with no bearing on the plot, and maybe Boorman had a boyfriend, or Airk. Just saying. (Speaking of Airk, he looked just like Madmartigan’s son.) I do though feel the writers took too many shortcuts and the whole 8-episodes a season makes every show seem too rushed these days. More time would flesh out the story, clear up some plot holes, grow the characters beyond stereotype. But this new generation doesn’t seem to have the attention span to stick with something longer than a TikTok so shorter seasons it is, I guess. Anyway. Loved the Original, but I still liked the series, and no amount of hater opinions are gonna change my mind, so don’t bother trying.

    Liked by 1 person

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