The legend of King Arthur ( Paul Curran ), this time, from the perspective of the King's Wizard, Merlin ( Sam Neill ). 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 (Lena Headey). Merlin and Arthur are menaced by the plots of Morgan Le Fey (Helena Bonham Carter), her son by Arthur, Mordred (Jason Done), 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>
How do you pack together centuries of legends about the great King Arthur? It might seem like an impossible task, but Merlin finds a way to make it work: they change the focus.
I have always been a huge fan of the King Arthur legends, and I am familiar with most of them. Some films only cover portions of the legends, such as the disappointing "First Knight" and the stomach-churning Disney crud "Sword and the Stone." I was really wanting a film to come out that would cover all the important legends of the epic story, yet I realized it was a nearly impossible task. An excellent early eighties film did it, which was called "Excalibur," and I was hoping that they could do it again, with a more nineties zing to it, what with the new special effects coming out nowadays that could no doubt enhance the legends onscreen. Before "Merlin" came out, the only real films to come out in the nineties featuring Arthur were "First Knight" (which eradicated all myth and magic and put the legends on the status of Chick Flick) and "A Kid in King Arthur's Court" (which I won't even bring up).
Enter "Merlin." It covers everything, from the affair of Lancelot and Guinevere, to the Lady at the Lake, to the birth of the sword Excalibur, to Morgan la Fay and Mordred, and they even throw in the Lady of Shallot. And the cool thing is, they make it work so that it doesn't seem overplotted. Merlin is also given a side story which is beautiful and well-constructed, about his birth and his love life. It all is webbed together well, and the climax and characters are wonderfully painted.
Before this film, I saw Merlin only as a secondhand character, who is Arthur's mentor and friend, kind of like the world's first Obe Wan Kinobe. But now, I see him in an all new light, and to say the least, it is very effective, and I can say that it is the finest Arthur film ever made (though "Excalibur" is so close, it's barely worth a comparison). If you are interesting in Arthur, or if you are an Arthur fan who was discouraged that there were no good films about his awesome, thought-provoking legends, I urge you to watch this film. It will move you in a way few films can!
10 out of 10!
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