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 ...
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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 the Lake; and his wife, Gwenwyfar. Written by
How to turn a wonderful, thought-provoking book into a politically correct soap opera...
I was really surprised to hear someone actually tackled the difficult task of turning this fantastic book into a movie. And how I hoped the movie would be true to the spirit of the novel! Having watched it, I'm both disappointed and angry because it is clear the script doesn't even TRY that.
The first part was actually ok, although several important scenes that are absolutely needed to understand the story later on (like the relationship between Morgaine and Lancelot) were edited out. At least, they got the pacing right in part one - I didn't get the feeling they were rushing through the story.
Then I saw part two, and it got real nasty. Not only did the pacing change (of course, they had to put 3/4 of the book in 1/2 of the total running time, as part one only covered about 1/4), also, every detail that would have made the story and characters understandable was left out. Lancelot's relationship towards Morgaine, towards Arthur (!) and even towards Gwenhwyfar remains completely undefined, Morgause's motives are reduced to pure envy and the religion of the goddess is reduced to having visions and being able to part the mists of Avalon. The sequence of actions was completely mixed up, major portions removed and others completely mangled (Morgause killing Viviane? Come on!). The worst screw-up is the ending which was purely disgusting and showed the writer of the script either completely misunderstood the book or, even worse, decided to turn it into its own opposite on purpose.
In the book, Morgaine realizes that although the power of Avalon may be gone, the goddess is not, when she sees a statue of Brigid, once an Irish goddess, now turned into the "holy Bridget" by the new religion (symbolizing the survival of the old religion even through the new one). She then sees once more an image of the holy grail in the chapel (symbolizing the possibility of a peaceful coexistence of both religions) and finally manages to open the mists of Avalon for the last time and disappear into them.
The movie lets her look at a statue of the virgin Mary (the very symbol of how Christianity glorifies virginity and reduces women to the sole purpose of childbearing) and understand the goddess is alive ???
In short, everything remotely non-pc was relentlessly cut from the novel and the rest was turned into a medieval soap opera without any character development. The only consolation is that Marion Zimmer-Bradley did not have to see this butchering of the very spirit of her work.
As to how the movie will appeal to someone who did not read the book, I don't know - I suspect it will be seen as a decent medieval adventure but the holes that the removal of multiple important scenes leave will probably confuse.
Nice acting by Margulies, however, and especially by Hans Matheson (Mordred).
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