Highlander

There can be only one!

I know, I know.  How are you connecting this to the Ren Faire circuit?  Say it, I was ready for it.  But, before you start let me see if I can:   1) It takes place in Scotland – at least part of it – so there is the Celtic cred.  2) There is a considerable amount of costumery to pick from and get ideas from so, I stand by it.  3)  Great movie, so it stands and this is our movie for Film Friday this week.  4) It takes place during the Renaissance – at least part of it – even though that certainly would not have been the Renaissance in Scotland.

Plot Synopsis (There Be Spoilers) – There can Be only One!  That is the throughline in Highlander.  Connor MacLeod and the rest of the Immortals are in a battle through time to thin their numbers down to one.  The focus of the story is the Highlander – Connor MacLeod and how he found out he was an Immortal and how he learned of the Gathering and the Quickening.  We follow him from post-Middle Ages Scotland to modern times.  He is taught in the past by Ramirez and is chased throughout the years by the Kurgan.  A battle between good and evil that has spanned generations.

Here is some info that might help when you re-watch the movie:

Ramirez was born in 896 BC in Egypt, during the XXII Dynasty. When Ramirez meets McLeod in 1541 AD he is 2437 years old, and he was 357 years old when Masumune, Ramirez’s father-in-law, made the katana sword for him in tribute to Sakiko, Ramirez’s wife and Masumune’s daughter.
MacLeod was born in Scotland in 1518, acquiring his immortality in 1536 when he was 18 years old, hurt in battle by The Kurgan. At the time of the final Quickening, MacLeod is 467 years old. according to IMDB

The Good

The Fabulous Freebirds – I love the fact that the 1980s pop-culture icons the Fabulous Freebirds made an appearance.  Wrestling was huge when this movie came out and I loved the Freebirds.  Seeing them strut down the aisle to their entrance music is a perfect way to start the movie.

Sean Connery – Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez – Awesome character portrayed by Connery.  Egyptian but working for the court of Spain.  Dressed like a ‘peacock’ according to the Highlander.  This is one of my favorite roles that the older Connery ever played.  He is delightful and believeable and wonderful and he is what ties the pieces of this movie together, even though he doesn’t make it out of Scotland.

“Never lose your temper.  If your head comes away from your neck, it’s over.”

Clancy Brown – The Kurgan – If Connery is what ties it together, Brown is the driving force behind the movie.  From his first appearance in the armor at the battle Scotland to his appearance in New York, he is the most memorable person in the film.  He has some of the best scenes and Clancy Brown knocks the role out of the park.  Watch his scene in the church – from what IMDB says, he ad-libbed most oft he lines and caused the priest that was present to do the ‘sign of the cross’ over and over.

Priest: This is a house of God. People are trying to pray. You’re disturbing them.
Kurgan: He cares about these helpless mortals?
Priest: Of course He cares. He died for our sins.
Kurgan: That shall be His undoing.
[gets up]
Kurgan: Father! Forgive me , I am a worm…
[starts laughing diabolically]
Kurgan: [to everyone in the church] I have something to say! It’s better to burn out than to fade away!

The Kurgan’s Modern Day Sword – I love his sword.  The fact that it snaps together, the pop-up quillions, the whole look and feel of that sword is perfect.  It helps to bring the idea of the movie – the fight between Immortals – into the modern age.

Queen’s Soundtrack – Queen was only supposed to be doing one song for the soundtrack and instead helped create the background of the movie with their music.  They even included lines from the movie in the lyrics of the song after seeing parts of the movie at a screening.

Ramirez’s Garb – Check out what Ramirez is wearing.  He has wonderful taste in garb.  There was some real attention to detail put into the look of Ramirez.   I especially love the cloak he is wearing with the peacock feathers when he first rides up.

The Bad

The Dragon Katana – Not a fan of Eastern blades – which you know if you are a constant reader – I resent the fact that he gave up his Scottish longsword for that piece of crap katana.  Oh but it is so sharp?!? Whatever, so is a longsword.  Also, how does the chief metallurgist of the court of the king of Spain end up with a freakin’ katana anyway (actually it was a gift of the father of one his wives)?  Explain that one.  Of course, the Spanish Ramirez, who is actually Egyptian, has a Scottish accent, so explain that too.  I would have loved to have seen Ramirez wielding an Egyptian short sword (think gladius style).

The Ugly

Christopher Lambert – Connor MacLeod – I have always disliked the fact that a Frenchman played the part of the Scottish MacLeod.  Also, I am not  a big fan of Lambert’s acting, or lack thereof.  Almost everybody else in the flick is a much better actor than he is.  Add to that the fact that he is completely overshadowed – acting-wise – by his costars (Brown and Connery especially) and I think you could have found someone else to play this part… someone Scottish… someone English… someone better.  His only good piece of acting is when Heather dies.

Great flick!  You have to have seen this movie.  If not, go find it, buy it, stream it whatever.  Sit down with the one you love or at least the one you are with and watch Highlander.  Get some ideas for your next set of costumes for the faire and enjoy a beautiful movie.  Watch it for what it is, ignore Lambert’s acting and enjoy the movie.