Tag Archives: quest

Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon (1985) | Michael Schultz



Taimak stars as a young African-American Harlemite who is a devout student of martial arts.  He lives kung fu, breathes kung fu and is so entrenched in the ways of the kung fu warrior, he stands out in his predominantly Black community for his lack of hipness and Asian-tinged wardrobe (he even eats his movie popcorn with chopsticks).  He is sent out into the world from his master teacher to reach the final level of his training to become a true kung fu master, involving a golden amulet and a master named Som Dom Goy.  Meanwhile, his quest is detoured by constant disruptions by a neighborhood bully, Sho’Nuff. who, along with his gang of thugs, are terrorizing the neighborhood.  Leroy also gets embroiled with an even bigger bad guy, amoral record producer Eddie Arkadian, whose quest to get his girlfriend’s video played on the hottest music show on TV hosted by singer/VJ Laura Charles causes them to get physical.  Leroy becomes Laura’s reluctant bodyguards, and the sparks between them suggest that they might have something more going on.


The Black Cauldron (1981) | Richard Rich & Ted Berman



1985’s THE BLACK CAULDRON represents Disney at its nadir as an animation studio, resulting in a box office failure and years of obscurity.  It’s first PG-rated animated feature struggled to find an audience clamoring for its dark and violent tones.  However, it has garnered a significant cult following over the years, with its tales of swords, sorcerers, and black magic-infused battles brought to life with stunning visuals that incorporate the studios first forays into computer-generated elements into its hand-drawn animated cels.  Does it deserve obscurity, or is it about time to reappraise a hidden gem in Disney’s vast and storied filmography?


The Dark Crystal (1982) | Jim Henson & Frank Oz



Jim Henson conceived of this elaborate realm of fantasy in which two competing races vie for the destiny of a faraway planet, as the evil Skeksis try to thwart the Gelflings of prophecy from uniting the planet yet again and bringing equilibrium to life there for those enslaved.  This imaginative film had been a disappointment on early release but has gained a rabid following among fantasy fans.  Frank Oz co-directs this film done entirely with puppets, and is a rare film that doesn’t a human character in sight.