ISABEAU WAS A LADY
SHE... SHE WAS A LADY HAWK
OR MAYBE SHE WAS JUST... A HAWK
BUT SHE WAS STILL ISABEAU!!!!!!
No grass-roofed cottages are immolated in Ladyhawke (Richard Donner, 1985) but it's still a damn good time.
|Yeah, yeah, hawk looks like a lady.|
Ladyhawke has all the ingredients of a fantasy classic, but it never quite gets cooking. It's all just swash swash buckle buckle, and the nuances of this story require a more subtle approach. Now and again, we get hints of the kind of melancholy poetry that would have elevated Ladyhawke out of the sword-and-sorcery slums -- an intriguingly bizarre love triangle, for instance, is hinted at when Philippe takes it upon himself to deliver fabricated "messages" from one lover to the other. It escalates when Isabeau, in her hawk form, chooses to perch on Phillipe's wrist instead of Navarre's. Soon Philippe has the human Isabeau alone in a stable for some quality rufty tufty (get your mind out of the gutter, it's a dance). But the romantic angle which powers the film is eventually abandoned for standard-issue knights in armor swinging blades at each other. Maybe the writers didn't want to deal with polyamorous bestiality (and who can blame them, really).
Similarly, treacherous plot holes litter the narrative -- how much human personality and memory remains in Navarre and Isabeau's animal forms is inconsistent at best, and most worryingly, the fount and limits of the Bishop's powers aren't really established. I mean, if the curse gets lifted, great, but what's to stop him from just casting it again?
|Everytime I look at you I feel shot right through with a bolt of blue|
|I am not a hawk! I am a... human being!|
What's with the hair, though? It's more soccer mom than damsel in distress. Part of the Bishop's curse, perhaps -- explained in a scene that ended up on the cutting room floor? Yeah, that must be it.