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  Home | Features | Based on a "Legend": Myth or Fact?

You might have seen this claim made somewhere before. The Legend of Zelda was based on that movie "Legend"! even listed this as trivia about the original NES game on the information page for the game. While makes it a point to refute such a claim, perhaps many fans don't really understand how little in common The Legend of Zelda and "Legend" really have.
Most fans believe that because "Legend" has a character named Jack wearing a green forest-like outfit and is a fantasy piece, it's automatically like The Legend of Zelda. But in all honesty, you can stop right there with the serious comparisons between the two. At least, between the original Legend of Zelda and the film. You see, most debates actually should be renamed to "How Legend inspired Ocarina of Time." Yes, Ocarina of Time, not The Legend of Zelda, seems to borrow more from "Legend".

Okay, so fan girls would go nuts if this is how Link looked.


"Legend" tells the tale of a young forest boy named Jack, whom is in love with the princess of the land, Lily. One day while Lily visits Jack in the forest, Jack takes her to see a Unicorn, an animal forbidden to humans. Lily gives into temptation and draws out the Unicorn into the open against Jack's command. Meanwhile, there is the evil lord, Darkness, who needs to slaughter the two Unicorns which bring balance to the land. He sends his second in command, Blix, to accomplish the task. So back to Lily and the Unicorn - Blix shoots the one Unicorn to take it down, and the other rushes off in fear. Blix cuts off the Unicorn's horn, which contains immense magical power. The world is thrown into an endless winter, and Lily and Jack are separated.
Eventually, Lily and the last Unicorn are captured, and Jack is summoned by Gump and the forest folk to save the day. He goes to get armor and a sword, braves his away across a marsh, a fiery dungeon, and even duels Darkness in an epic final battle. In the end, Jack saves Lily and the Unicorn, and depending on which version you are watching, he returns to the forest or runs off into the sunset with Lily.

I'm not sure if you read the same summary or saw the same movie as I, but I saw nothing about a princess breaking apart an object, hiding it throughout the land, and hero had to go find them in order to go confront the villain to save the day. Yes, Jack has to go get weapons, but he is not out to collect or unify anything in order to meet Darkness. In fact, he and his band of brothers simply waltz into Darkness' fortress, which is where half the movie takes place. The other half is the just this discontinuous build up which seems more a like a trip through a Pink Floyd music video than a narrative work of art.
However, I have digressed. Now that you know the summary, let me break down the comparisons between Ocarina of Time and "Legend". In the film, Jack is a forest boy, much like Link is a member of the Kokiri. However, it is quite obvious that Jack is not truly a member of the forest folk when Gump and his crew appear. They are halflings, much like the Kokiri are. And like Link in Ocarina of Time, Jack is not really one of them. Shall we continue?
Jack falls asleep after the world is thrown into an endless winter, and he is awakened by none other than a ... fairy. Yes, a fairy wakes up Link, er, Jack, to get him started on his journey. Just like Navi in Ocarina of Time. Jack's fairy friend, Oona, accompanies him the rest of the way and helps out. After this awakening scene takes place, Link is confronted by Gump, who will not let Jack continue without solving his riddle and then going to properly "equip" himself. Jack solves Gump's riddle, and then Gump throws a fit much like our friend Mido in Ocarina of Time. Gump then insists Jack needs to arm himself in order to take on his task, just like Mido informs Link he needs a sword and shield in order to advance further.
Still not convinced? Let's see what the first area Jack heads to once he is fully equipped. A giant, evil tree. While the Great Deku Tree could talk and wasn't quite as big, it was filled with evil and was Link's first challenge in his quest. But wait, let me go back earlier into the film. Wasn't it Lily who causes all of this mess by trying to "access" what was forbidden? Just like Zelda trying to obtain the Triforce herself, an object beyond the capabilities of a young child? Link touched the Master Sword, allowing Ganondorf access to his prize and enabling darkness to engulf the land. Jack brought Lily to the Unicorns, allowing Darkness access to his ultimate goal, which then brought winter to the land. Want more?
Not to keep on this roll of similarities, but at the end of the "true" version of "Legend", Jack returns back to where he came, leaving Lily and the friends he made behind. Link, at the end of Ocarina of Time, leaves Zelda and the future of Hyrule behind to return to his past. Don't forget Darkness was sent "flying off" into the void of space by Jack at the end of the movie, much like Link, Zelda and the Sages seal Ganondorf off into this "void" where he is drifting away into at the end of Ocarina of Time.
While it is apparent that "Legend" and The Legend of Zelda have "some" similarities (evil bad guy kidnaps princess, boy in green has to go save her in this magical fantasy land), it's more obvious to the well-versed Zelda fan that the film seems to have inspired events in Ocarina of Time. I would like to point out I am not arguing or claiming "Legend" actually influenced the making of Ocarina of Time; I am merely pointing out to the Zelda fan that it appears that "Legend" has more in common with Ocarina of Time.
However, it is still a fact that Shigeru Miyamoto was not influenced by "Legend" - he was actually influenced by his childhood adventures in Kyoto, Japan, as he's admitted several times on TV and in interviews. But, it is still a mystery if Ocarina of Time borrowed from the 1985 epic by Ridley Scott.
- Mike "TSA" Damiani is the Senior Editor and Owner of The Hylia.