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Head and shoulders above all other anime
Until today (when I caught Princess Mononoke on cable), I've generally thought of anime as silly, cheesy cartoons intended for a low-brow adult audience. Princess Mononoke, however, stands apart and above crap like "Dominion Tank Police" and "Akira". Watch it! It's just too good to miss.
The novels are better
I've watched all four sets of episodes in the "Cadfael" series, and I've also read the novels that each episode is based on, and I must say that the novels are much better. Firstly, the dramatizations of Ellis Peters' work are only very, *very* loosely based on the novels; often the plot of the dramatization bears virtually no resemblance to the plot of the corresponding novel. However, the most remarkable difference between the novels and their dramatizations are the way the characters are portrayed: In general, the characters are displayed in a much more sympathetic light in the novels than they are in the dramatizations. In many of the episodes, the only characters who come out with a clean nose are Cadfael and the female lead, while almost all the other characters are portrayed as ignorant and/or mean-spirited and/or having ulterior and selfish motives. In the novels, the kindest and most charitable view of every character emerges from the prose. Even the murderer in most of the novels is treated with a degree of sympathy in the end. Many of the characters who in the novels are genuinely good people (or at least have good intentions or a good will) are presented in the dramatizations as mean, nasty, judgemental, narrow-minded, and stupid. As a consequence, the "Cadfael" video dramatizations are harsher and darker, and they come across as less authentic and balanced compared to the novels.
On a positive note, the sets and costumes in the series are great. Derek Jacobi is absolutely *perfect* in the lead role of Cafael - I cannot conceive of another actor playing Cadfael; Jacobi owns this role the way Jeremy Brett came to own the role of Sherlock Holmes. Michael Culver and Julian Firth are exactly as I imagined Prior Robert and Brother Jerome to be when I was reading the novels. The same goes for the Terrence Hardiman as Abbot Radulfus. Given that Hugh Beringar is such a central character in the series, it is unfortunate that one actor could not have been recruited to play him for every episode. My favorite Hugh Beringar is the first one, played by Sean Pertwee. Finally, the actresses playing the female leads have, without exception, been superb.
In conclusion, the "Cadfael" series is good, but the dramatizations are not as good as the novels. Watch the episodes in the series, but be sure to read the novels they are based on afterwards. And if you read the novels *before* you watch the dramatizations, prepare for yourself for disappointment.
this "movie" was really a prolonged MTV video
This movie had the feel of an Aerosmith video all the way through it. I hate Aerosmith!! Hence, I hate this movie. I hope Hollywood doesn't attempt to copy this style in the future.