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‘Willow’ series premiere carried by its cast

Warwick Davis in new series ‘Willow’ for Disney+.
Willow”, the beloved 1988 fantasy adventure film, is one of those movies that has been passed along through time. The kids who saw the original film back in the day grew up and passed it on to their kids and so on and so on, creating new generations of fans. Now, all the fans have a new adventure to embark thank with the release of the new “Willow” series on Disney+.
The new series picks up twenty years after the events of the film. Princess Kit (Ruby Cruz) is a headstrong young royal who’s about to be married off to Prince Graydon (Tony Revolori). But Kit’s not down with that, especially after learning her friend Jade (Erin Kellyman) is leaving to train as a knight. So Kit makes plans to run away on an adventure of her own.
All those plans go out the window when a pack of evil entities called The Gales attack and swipe Kit’s brother, Prince Airk (Dempsey Bryk). Kit volunteers to rescue her brother and a team is assembled but they’ll need the help of the sorcerer Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis). It’s also revealed that a kitchen maid Dove (Ellie Bamber) could be the key to stopping The Gales.
One thing that I’ve learned from watching all these streaming series based on franchises like “Star Wars,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe and “Lord of the Rings” is that there is one key above all to hooking an audience. Your cast has to be very engaging. “Willow” has that.
Start with Cruz, who is every bit the wannabe tough girl who doesn’t realize how out of her depths she is. Cruz presents a tough exterior, but if you look just beneath the surface, you can tell that she’s nowhere near ready for what she’s about to face.
Equally good is Bamber, whose character is pivotal to the story. Dove seems constantly struggling to ably fill the roles people foist on her, from girlfriend to kitchen maid to… well, I don’t want to spoil it. Bamber gets to be lovesick, blown away by a revelation, excited to learn and frustrated by her lack of progress, and that’s just through two episodes. Bamber’s doing a great job so far.
Other cast members that need to be mentioned include Revolori, whose Prince Graydon starts off as a bit of a joke, only to reveal surprising depth, and Amar Chadha-Patel, whose character, Boorman, gets most of the laughs.
The series kicks into a higher gear when Davis appears as Willow. His role is a bit like Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars,” the wise old sage training a new generation. It’s good to see him in playing Willow again, but once you get past the nostalgia, you’ll notice he gives a good performance, balancing worried grimness and warmth.
It’s a good thing the cast clicks the way they do because there’s not a lot of action through the first two episodes. There’s a big fight at the end of the first episode, where Airk is taken and that’s about it. The show isn’t the most visually captivating thing you’ll ever see, either, although a lot of the scene locations are lovely.
But we’re only two episodes in and so far, I’ve enjoyed “Willow” more than expected. I want to see these young characters learn and grow and come together to save the day. The most important part of any story is the characters at the heart of it and thanks to some good casting, “Willow” has characters that are fun to watch together.
The first two episodes of “Willow” are currently available to stream on Disney+, with new episodes dropping each Wednesday.
The post ‘Willow’ series premiere carried by its cast appeared first on East Idaho News.

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