At Disney+ they are resorting a lot to squeezing successful franchises in the form of series in order to get a greater number of subscribers. For now, that investment has reported millions in losses for the company, but that is not why it is willing to cease its efforts to dethrone Netflix as the number 1 streaming platform in the world. His new bet in that direction is ‘Willow’, a belated television sequel to the film directed by Ron Howard 34 years ago.
I confess that I was never too fond of the original film. Already as a child it left me a little indifferent and seeing it again as an adult did not change things too much, since where some see a magical adventure full of charm, what I see is minor entertainment in which only Val Kilmer really stood out . Having seen the first two episodes of its television sequel that arrive today on Disney+, the truth is that I have enjoyed them more than I expected, but without being completely seduced.
Effective but dull
As expected, this new ‘Willow’ proposes an adventure as the main excuse for the character played by Warwick Davis to come out of retirement, but he takes it easy in order to lay the foundations of the story and introduce the characters called to leave a mark in this universe. For this reason, the entire first episode works as a broad presentation to situate everything, but without ever forgetting the universe of which it is a part, since we also have Joanne Whalley as Sorsha back.
There ‘Willow’ ran the risk of losing some viewers from the start, but the truth is that the new characters, without being anything special for now, work well enough so that you don’t feel a toll that you have to pay for Let the really interesting thing arrive. In addition, the setting work also helps to give the series a distinctive touch with which to differentiate it from other recent fantasy proposals such as ‘Sandman’, ‘The House of the Dragon’ or ‘The Rings of Power’. Here a certain naive touch is perceived that connects directly with the original film but without making the mistake of becoming a mere nostalgic exercise.
With that I do not mean that nostalgia is not present, but I do mean that those responsible have been concerned with trying to give the series its own entity that allows it to be enjoyed even by those who have not even seen the 1988 feature film. Obviously, it would be better to have, but the use of flashbacks works at the same time to fill gaps in what has happened in the story over all these years, adding a little bitterness to the story, as if to better situate novice viewers. in everything related to the old acquaintances that appear again here.
In this regard, it is noticeable that Davis has much more experience and also that his character has suffered several blows in life that have made him what he is today. The series grows as soon as he makes an appearance, and that he is the first to ask for calm instead of launching himself fully into the adventure. Be careful, that is also justified in the plot, but it is better not to go into details so as not to reveal any of the surprises that the series hides.
That said, magic is scarce in all senses , both in use within the story, although it makes sense there, and in the particular charm that one expects from such a proposal. It is true that it is seen with pleasure, even the moments that have a greater expository load, since a lightness always hovers over it that facilitates its viewing and also gives the result a certain vivacity, but it lacks the spark that separates the pleasant from the fascinating.
That is also perceived in the new characters that, as I pointed out before, do not clash, but that someone who serves as a real hook is missing. There, Madmartigan is missed a lot or at least someone who really stands out from the rest. Because of course the characters are not clones and have varied motivations, but it does feel like they all come out of similar molds. There is room for growth, of course.
This sequel to ‘Willow‘ may not be a memorable series, but it is sufficiently entertaining and returns to a universe much loved by many viewers without letting nostalgia cannibalize everything. Then it is true that what he proposes does not go beyond the slightly charming, but surely whoever connects more with this type of story enjoys it much more than I do.