This movie stars Marc Singer, just before he stared in the V franchise. He plays a character called Dar, who has an connection with animals.
It also stared Tanya Roberts, who had been appearing in TV shows and was a rising star (appearing as a 'bond girl' in A View to a Kill).
It is a standard fantasy film with lots of the usual tropes of prophecy, special abilities and the guy gets the girl.
The story starts off with the standard fantasy trope - the prophecy. An evil dude will be destroyed by an unborn child, but he gets banished before he can kill this child. The child is the Kings, and during the night, a old crone enters the palace will a cow, and transfers the child to this cow. Yup, you read that right. Once in the open, the crone (who has the body of a young woman, and a head of a crone) opens the cows belly and the child is born. She wants to sacrifice it, but first she brands it. However, she is killed by an old traveller.
The child is taken back to the travellers village, where he is raised. Dar first encounters his ability when a bear grabs a villager, and then throws then back. Dar knew something was going to happen, and when the bear emerges, Dar approaches it. The bear gives way. Watching the villager get grabbed was an hilarious moment, and one i am sure the film makers didn't want people to laugh at.
Dar is warned never to reveal the secret.
Dar is now grown up, and now we see Marc Singer. I must admit, when i first saw him, i immediately thought of Adam from He-Man, Masters of the Universe (he just needed a little more muscles, and it would have been a match). While he is out farming, his village is attacked. He is knocked unconscious, but is dragged out by his faithful dog, who was injured while doing this.
He returns to the village to see everyone has been killed. He arranges the bodies into a symbol, and sets them alight. Now he needs to get him companions. He starts off with the Eagle, who will be his eyes. Then he meets a couple of ferrets, Kodo and Podo, who will be his cunning. Finally he rescues a blank panther, who he names Ruh.
He then meets a beautiful red haired slave girl called Kiri, in the traditional way of 80's fantasy, when she was bathing topless in a stream. This meeting starts a quest to free her before she is sacrificed. Along the way he meets Seth and Tal.
The usual story enfolds, with the band entering a stronghold, rescuing the old king, and escaping. They fight and win against the bad guys and the boy gets the girl.
The film has aged, but not too badly. As this is a fantasy film where the special effects were limited, it holds up fairly well. The actors were in shape (both male and female) and the animals were real and not CGI. Of course, some of the animal action is now lame. When the bear attacks, it is essentially done off screen. When the panther attacks, he will leap to the actor, and then it will cut away. These techniques were used a lot as filming with the animals would have cause many problems (for example, when Dar throws the pendant to the eagle - this is caught off screen and asking the eagle to catch it mid flight would have been impossible).
Some story elements were a little slow, and too a leap in faith from the viewer. These days, we would like to know more about what is happening and question weird occurrences/happenings.
All in all, this is still a fun film to watch.
80's Fantasy Movies
Here are some of the other Fantasy films from this decade.