May 26, 2014

Movie Review: Leprechaun

Way back in 1993, writer/director Mark Jones introduced us to his version of the Leprechaun myth. The rules may state that if you catch one, he must take you to his pot of good, but there is nothing that says he cannot hang around and do whatever it takes to get his gold back. That is what the tale here is all about. It opens up in the past, a fellow has caught he wee guy, taken his gold and imprisoned him in a box using a four leaf clover. I don't recall that bit before, but it makes sense, I guess. Doesn't matter, that is what it means in this movie.

Let me be right up front with the fact that Leprechaun entertains me. With that said, it is not a very good movie. It is more silly than scary, the quips are lame brained, and the characters are some of the dumbest to face the screen. Still, it has a look that puts it right at home with films like Pumpkinhead, Pet Cemetery, Cujo, and Critters. Iris a movie that does not try to be anything other than a silly diversion. It has enough going for it to make it memorable intone long term, but not quite enough to be a legitimate classic.

Leprechaun is notable, primarily, for two things. First has to be the performance of Warwick Davis. The movie around him may not be that good, but his performance as the titular little fellow is top notch. He is charismatic, goofy, and menacing all at the same time. Think of a shrunken version of the quipster Freddy Krueger became in later outings. Davis would go on to portray the evil leprechaun a goal of five more times, each one a little goofier than the last. If you don't believe me, just look up his rap from Leprechaun in Da Hood, or was it Leprechaun Back 2 Da Hood? Actually, the titles alone probably clue you in to the goofiness.

The other notable piece of the Leprechaun puzzle is Jennifer Aniston. This was her first major movie role, after working a few years on low grade television shows and before the star making role on Friends. She is quite adorable as the annoying spoiled daughter who gets swept up in the Leprechaun's attack. She shows that she had what it ales to be a scream queen. It really is a shame we did not get to see her work any more horror films. It would have been interesting to see her develop as a scream queen. Such talent wasted... I am only half joking there.

The movie itself is pretty simple. After the prologue of the imprisonment of the wee fellow we jump ten years to Aniston and her father are moving in. The house painters inadvertently unleash the Leprechaun, who immediately sets out to find his gold. A comedy of errors ensues. Gold is found, hidden, and tossed around. The Leprechaun goes about his rhyming antics until the finale where he must be taken down.

It is a trifling of a movie. It has some amusing lines, some stupid moments, an overall lack of scares, but still gets up a head of steam to make it enjoyable. It will never be a go to movie for me, but every once in awhile it is a perfectly suitable time killer. Davis and Aniston are able to transcend the mediocrity in their own special ways.

Mildly Recommended.

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