Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Sam Neill, Helena Bonham Carter, John Gielgud, Rutger Hauer, James Earl Jones
Director: Steve Barron
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
What kind of guy was the wizard Merlin, anyway? He lives a long time, raises a boy to be a king, props up a Utopian empire with his magic and wisdom, and then watches as it all crumbles under such banal forces as vengeance... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Anna D. from SAN PEDRO, CA
Reviewed on 8/29/2009...
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Happy Endings Matter!
Jason Baker | Goshen, IN USA | 04/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own several movies that tell the same tale in different ways, the tale of Merlin and King Arthur and Sir Lancelot. Of these the ones that have really stood out are "The Mists Of Avalon" , "Excalibur" and "Merlin". Of these 3 I must say that Merlin is my favorite. This is because the first 2 while wonderfully told and acted out, the endings were far from happy and feel good and more remeniscent of classic French movies with their tragic endings with only small glimmers of brightness. Merlin,however, is a fairy tale movie with a fairy tale ending..a happy one.. There is also quite a lot of humor and wit blended in this movie as well. If you enjoy movies that take place during the Arthurian time period then this is one you will want to add to your collection!"
Taylor | Madison, CT | 08/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I missed this movie when it was on TV, and I totally regretted it. The next day at school, EVERYONE was talking about how great it is. I resolved to see it when it came out on video. When I did, I was totally blown away! I mean, the acting was spectacular *special kudos go out to Miranda Richardson for her fabulous job as Queen Mab, and Isabella Rosselini, for being an excellent Nimue*, the plot was excellently written, and the setting/costumes were fabulous! Some of you biased reviewers *you know who you are* insist that Merlin "doesn't measure up" to Excalibur and that it isn't "historically correct". Gimme a break! First of all, why does Merlin have to be compared to Excalibur? Why can't you people just enjoy it for what it is? Secondly, let me say this loud and clear: THE ARTHURIAN LEGENDS ARE NOT HISTORY! THEY ARE LEGENDS! THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG TELLING OF THEM! Now that I've said that, I hope that everyone reading this will take my thoughts into consideration. If you haven't seen this movie and you like tales of adventure, romance, and magic, I DEFINITELY recommend it."
An Enjoyably Unusual Take
S.E. Poza | Rimersburg, PA | 06/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Those who are fans of the oft-repeated Arthurian legend and the way in which Merlin is commonly portrayed may find this adaptation fails to meet their expectations. However, before dismissing it out of hand, one might want to consider how little of Merlin's life is shown in the stories of Excalibur/Arthur and how one-dimensional his character usually is.
This miniseries seeks to show Merlin's story from conception to "retirement". The part he plays in Arthur's life is shown but only as one thread in the tapestry of Merlin's life. This miniseries is about why Merlin was born, who gave him his power, and what motivated him. It also portrays him as having more mortal interests than being mainly interested in magic and power. As a story, it's well-structured and offers much to an open-minded viewer. The motives of most of the characters are credible (even for a fairy tale) and even the central "bad guy" (Mab) has a good reason for all the things she does.
The story is built around a "war" between the beliefs of the old world based on the world of fairy and those who embrace the newer belief system of Christianity. Merlin is created as a tool of Mab, a powerful sorceress in the world of fairy, in her struggle to keep belief in her alive so that she may continue to exist.
While the basic premise may sound silly, it's only because the fictions of Mab, fairies, etc. are less well-known than the legend of Arthur (whose lady of the lake, sword in stone, dragon's breath, and powers of illusion are also pretty preposterous). The writers drew on existing lore for much of this miniseries just as the tales of Arthur do.
As for the cast, Miranda Richardson is extremely impressive as both Mab and the Lady of the Lake. Martin Short is nearly unrecognizable both as a gnome and a blond-haired blue-eyed suitor of Morgana le Fay. He's also both funny and capable of unexpected emotional depth in some rather painful scenes. Sam Neill is fine as Merlin but he always seems a little too calm in his roles in my opinion.
The special effects are really quite nicely done and there are many lovely scenes which add to a magical feel (especially Mab's cave and the look of the Lady of the Lake wearing little living fish as a necklace) but it's the story that really draws one in. You care about the characters and want them to live happily ever after and feel empathy for them when they suffer.
I'll be honest and say I was less impressed by this miniseries the first time I saw it than the second time. I found all the new elements very strange and hard to take in but the story stuck with me and I found I really wanted to see it again and enjoyed it much more the second time. This is a rare piece of entertainment which actually is better after you know how the story goes. There is a lot of subtlety and detail you only pick up on subsequent viewings.
If you're looking for a fairy tale with well-drawn characters and imaginative elements you haven't seen before, you will likely enjoy this miniseries. If you are a fan of the Gandalf-like, manipulative Merlin of Arthurian legend and seeking a retelling of his story in that mold, you will probably be disappointed."