The great sorcerer Merlin has returned to Camelot, a kingdom now vulnerable to ill fates and war since the theft of the Holy Grail, its greatest gift and protection. With the help of Jack, ... See full summary »
Based on the bestseller by Marion Zimmer Bradley It tells the story of the women behind King Arthur; including his mother, Igraine; his half-sister, Morgaine; his aunt Viviane, the Lady of ... See full summary »
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The legend of King Arthur, this time, from the perspective of the King's Wizard, Merlin. Merlin is a creature born of pagan magic, living in a world converting to Christianity. Merlin is beside Arthur as he gains Excalibur, builds Camelot and is betrayed by his wife, Guinevere. Merlin and Arthur are both menaced by the plots of Morgan Le Fey, her son by Arthur, Mordred, and their cohorts. Through it all, Merlin tries to keep Arthur from the destructive path set by fate. Written by
Michael "Rabbit" Hutchison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Billie Whitelaw, playing Ambrosia who raises young Merlin, also starred in The Omen as nanny to young Damien, who grew up to be played by Sam Neill in the third of The Omen trilogy, The Final Conflict. See more »
Every actor playing Merlin at different life stages has a different eye color. Baby Merlin has dark brown eyes; teen Merlin has unnaturally bright blue ones; adult Merlin has normal blue; and elderly Merlin has brown again. See more »
Are you going to use some of your magic on me Merlin?
I'll kill you any way I can Vortigern, but I will kill you.
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This is one of the best made for TV movies I've ever seen - surprisingly good, in fact. What made it so entertaining was the script. Some people have gone on about the special effects, but they're no big deal - impressive for television, perhaps, but cheesy by any other standard. No, what makes this movie work so well is the unique way in which the familiar elements of the Camelot story have been reconfigured. Using Merlin as a point of departure and actually delving into *his* backstory - rather than Arthur's - I don't think I've seen this done anywhere else (admittedly, I'm no Arthurian scholar, but I have read some of the seminal works, such as Mallory's "Morte d'Arthur," Tennyson's "Idylls of the King," and T.H. White's "The Once and Future King"). "Merlin," from what I can see, tells a story that's totally new, and provides a fresh take on the events and meanings of the Camelot tale. Basically, Merlin's lifelong struggle with Queen Mab here represents the struggle of Christianity to take hold in Britain, versus the influence of the "ancient" ways, such as witchcraft, superstition and local custom. No matter what you think of this as allegory, it provides a useful and intriguing "spine" on which to hang all the other familiar stories from the Arthurian legend, which are well told and presented. Naturally, time constraints prevent the movie from going into detail on any single story - but the piece certainly whets one's appetite for more, and that's perhaps the surest indication of the movie's success.
The lead roles are all well-handled. Sam Neill brings a kind of weary dignity to Merlin; he's champion of the good, but he's tired of it all, longs for the battle to just be over. As Mab, Miranda Richardson camps it up wonderfully, and is truly creepy besides. Martin Short and Helena Bonham Carter have one of the most affecting scenes I've ever seen in a TV movie (if you see it, you'll know which one I mean).
Overall there's a lack of humor, and it sometimes feels as if the piece is rushing ahead just to get everything in, but these are very minor quibbles. The wonderful script holds everything together and keeps you wondering - no matter how well you might know the Camelot story - just what is going to happen next.
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