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The Mists of Avalon
The Mists of Avalon
Actors: Anjelica Huston, Julianna Margulies, Joan Allen, Samantha Mathis, Caroline Goodall
Director: Uli Edel
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
UR     2001     3hr 3min

The King is dead, long live the King, but who will it be? The answer is found on the battlefields and in the mystical and powerful manipulations of fate emanating from the women of the legendary isle of Avalon in this intr...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Anjelica Huston, Julianna Margulies, Joan Allen, Samantha Mathis, Caroline Goodall
Director: Uli Edel
Creators: Bernd Eichinger, David L. Wolper, David Minkowski, Doris Kirch, Gideon Amir, Gavin Scott, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Miniseries
Studio: Turner Home Ent
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/11/2001
Original Release Date: 07/15/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 07/15/2001
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 3hr 3min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, French, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
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Member Movie Reviews

Adrianne R. from METUCHEN, NJ
Reviewed on 7/6/2013...
Love movie. Some pieces hard to understand.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Peter Q. (Petequig)
Reviewed on 10/7/2010...
Excellent spinoff of the Arthurian Tales. My wife loved it.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Eva S. (Eva79) from TOWNSEND, MA
Reviewed on 10/3/2009...
I looooved this movie and have it in my collection today. A stellar cast of strong and bold actresses such as Angelica Houston and Julianna Margulies this movie unfolds a story about the sometimes lost role of women in the Arthurian legend and portrays a very different perspective of Morgan LeFay's role and her story.
5 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Joan B. (ReelDeal) from N HOLLYWOOD, CA
Reviewed on 10/28/2008...
First off: if you've read the book, you will be disappointed with the movie. The acting is ok, but it strays far from the book.

I was surprised to see Julianna Margulies.. but she held her own standing next to Anjelica Huston.

Not the greatest thing, but entertaining. Don't look for any truths regarding the Old Religion.
5 of 8 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

The best story
Inspector Gadget | On the trail of Doctor Claw | 10/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"King Arthur movies are a dime a dozen. Not only do we have this, but also Merlin, Excalibur, Lancelot and Guinevere,Knights of the Round Table, Prince Valiant, Merlin of the Crystal Cave, Quest for Camelot, the awful First Knight and the apparently even worse (and imaginatively titled) King Arthur.

Mists of Avalon is the best I've seen so far. After the rather childish Merlin and the just plain weird Excalibur I was pleased that this film was more grown-up and with better characters who you can actually connect with.

I've not seen Julianna Margulies in anything else aside from Out for Justice (yay!) and Ghost Ship. But damn, she was totally gorgeous as Morgaine, a character previously portrayed as a villain.

Though I have the book by Marion Zimmer Bradley, I have not yet read it (I'll get round to it). But I can tell you now that her version of events tells it from the point of view of the women and how their conspiring and unloyalty brought about the end of Camelot. For a legend with so many incarnations this angle was quite refreshing.

It's far from a woman's film though. It does, however, a lot of love story in it. But it's the kind of love story where you know what the characters are thinking and what they feel rather than just something rudely stapled on to appeal to the women.

Mists of Avalon is also wonderfully shot and has many scenes of unique atmosphere. All of this, obviously, is backed up by Lee Holdridge's utterly beautiful score. A dozen great themes and moods played out to various emotions. Definitely one of the best scores ever, methinks.

Like I have said, there are loads of movies to choose from regarding this legend. But Mists of Avalon is the best I have seen so far. So I recommend that you choose this 'un.

The DVD is in great-looking 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound. Some slight extras, including deleted scenes, are on there too."
Think of it as an intro to the book
Lisa Shea | 04/20/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Most tellings of the King Arthur story focus on Arthur and Merlin, and perhaps mention Gueneviere as the unfaithful wench that broke up the great friendship of Arthur and Lancelot. Marion Zimmer Bradley took a twist on the story, telling it from the point of view of the 'dark witch' instead of the 'golden haired beauty'.It's a tale full of the raw power of medieval England, where a belief in nature and natural spirits was vying with the approach of Christianity. It tells not only of women and men's different views of the world, but of love triangles, Christianity ousting the 'old ways', and a changing of culture.The TNT miniseries version stars Anjelica Huston, Julianna Margulies, and Joan Allen in the girl-power production. Huston is the magestic matriarch of Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, who in most stories is just the giver-of-the-sword to Arthur. Here she's the protector of Avalon, the center of the old power, one that is being replaced slowly by the bells of Christianity. They in fact share the same physical space, but only those with the power to believe can cross into Avalon.Margulies is Morgaine, Arthur's half-sister. They share a mother, but Arthur is born when Uther Pendragon lusts after Morgaine's mother Igraine and through deception beds her. Igraine and Viviane are sisters, but while Viviane defends the old ways, Igraine turns to the new (Christianity). The third sister, Morgause, is jealous of the other two and causes quite a bit of trouble.This was always a favorite book of mine, so I was very curious how they would bring it on screen. The locations were gorgeous - it was shot in Czechoslovakia and has the primitive wildness that medieval England would have had. The costumes were also gorgeous, and the actors and actresses were top notch. I really enjoyed the relationship Morgaine has later in her life.I do understand that certain of the themes are sensitive to a TV viewing audience. After all, Arthur and his half-sister Morgaine sleep together (not realizing they're related) when they're teenagers, and she bears a son from this union. Also, Arthur and Lancelot were attracted to each other in the book. These layers of sexuality added another dimension to the story, but they were a bit too risque for many viewers. The story was altered to change the way a lot of this was presented.Also, the scene where Morgaine and Gueneviere first meet was supposed to contrast the beautiful-blonde-Christian vs the small-dark-pagan - at least that's how Morgaine saw it. Because the book is told from Morgaine's point of view, it's not always the reality, of course, but her impression of it. But in the miniseries they stripped away a lot of the dialogue so you loose some of that sense.And then, near the end, it slips completely away, and where at the end of the book I'm thrilled to have gone on the journey, with the miniseries I wonder just exactly was the spot where they went wrong. I think the key is to watch it and think of it as a way to get people to read the book. It's really enjoyable as a good movie to watch, and if it gets more people to read the book, that's fine by me!"
Time constraints stifled the possibilities
Lisa Shea | 07/11/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Three hours is not enough for a film adaptation to do justice to a book that is the size and length of a textbook.The book is massively rich with characters that are diverse and colorful. I'm sure fans of the book will agree with that. The problem with the movie is that if the goal of the movie is to please fans of the book, the series must run for more than 183 minutes.I was very happy with the adaptation's attention to detail of physical appearances when it came to casting. Morgaine and Viviane are alike in appearance with their faery-like features and dark hair, Igranne and Morgause are the redhead beauties, and Gwenhywfar is the dulcet blonde. The actresses, to say the least, were stunning and dominated the performances, as it should have been, since Mists of Avalon is a retelling through the female perspective.The movie goes into great length to remain faithful to Morgaine's childhood, up till her reunion with Arthur in Camelot after he is crowned High King. That is where the chopping begins. Bits from the story are cut, then large portions. By the end, it seems altogether rushed. Morgaine goes straight from Wales after Urien's death to the demise of Camelot. There is no Nimue, no Kevin, and she doesn't even assume the position of Lady of the Lake. Sadly, the movie overlooks pretty much the entire last half of the book, which is vital to Morgaine's growth.In the book, we see Morgaine as a precocious youth filled with much knowledge but lacking in wisdom, as is appropriate for her age. We see she brings about much of her own suffering. She despises Viviane for her wrongdoings, but after ascending to the throne of Avalon, Morgaine does very much the same as her predecessor. Morgaine and Viviane's downfall is their pride and their tragedy is that they did the best they could at the time. The beauty of the story is the overall message, that what we do as individuals affect everybody, and repercussions are felt throughout ones lifetime, and growing and maturing involves sorrow and regret. This beauty is not achieved nor attempted to be portrayed, not even remotely close, in the movie.What I liked about the book's ending is that Marion Zimmer Bradley didn't leave a feeling of emptiness. Although everybody around her had moved on or died, Morgaine was still of Avalon. After time, Morgaine became synonymous with Avalon. In the movie, however, Avalon has fully retreated into the mist and was cut off, even from Morgaine. The conclusion of the film left a feeling of emptiness and hallowness.In short, the movie does little to cover the actual growth of the protagonist. You see her grow from child to maiden, but little is shown to help us shift our view of her from maiden to woman. Nothing is portrayed to propel her growth further to the elder wise woman she ultimately became in the novel. Relationships are carried all throughout the novel, and when the story is cropped, much is missing that helps not only Morgaine, but all the characters grow. Like I said, 183 minutes was just not enough to faithfully portray Morgaine's life and the relationships between characters.There is little negative emotion in the movie aside from Gwenhwyfar's disdain for the old religion and for Morgaine. Morgaine's indignant pride and her jealousy for Gwenhwyfar (and vice versa) aren't shown much at all. Morgaine's only real negative reaction in this film is her fury towards Viviane. Morgaine is stubborn because of her pride and sometimes, jealousy, but without those emotions portrayed to explain her behavior, she comes off sometimes as a comatose pawn, as she often did in the movie (although it was no fault of the actress- Julianna Margulies was superb- but the script).I was touched by some scenes in the movie- the parting of young Arthur and Morgaine, Morgaine's reunion with her mother in the river, and Viviane's death. The first half of the movie was nicely done, and the rest was so-so.I think in this case, time constraints did the movie in. Without the additional plot, Morgaine comes off as meek because she observed more than she spoke, and without the story intact you don't get to see what she's done with what she's observed. Morgaine is portrayed as a complete and utter victim of circumstance, when in fact she played people around, as well. There was plenty of court schemes and manipulation rampant in the novel, yet the movie only fully captures the mysticism of the old faith and the religious conflict. Whereas the story consists of characters who fight for a higher cause and for selfish causes, the movie fails to depict the latter.However, if you're like me and you love period films in part because of costumes and scenery, I'd recommend picking this up. Costumes are beautiful, the music is lovely and very befitting, and if you enjoy Celtic mysticism, you'll like this. If you've also never read the novel but are interested in seeing the King Arthur legend retold through a female perspective, give this movie a go. It might interest you in picking up the novel after you've finished watching it. All in all, The Mists of Avalon film adaptation gets 3 stars. 2 for content and 1 for imagery. I was left dissatisfied after viewing it, but not wholly disappointed. It would have been lovely if another 2 hours were given to it to more fully explore the richness and cover the growth of the characters. Despite the flaws, I bought the DVD even after seeing it on TNT. Imagery was this movie's strong point, and I still pop the DVD into the player from time to time to look at costumes and scenery. It's quite fun to watch one of your favorite books come to life in such a fantastic way (as far as imagery goes). Regardless of plot, it's still a feast for the eyes."