ViulfR | USA | 10/06/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Merlin can't decide whether to sound Jamaican or orcish; the fight scenes are preposterous, the "special effects" are terrible, and the acting mediocre at best. A poor amalgam of ALL the B movies of the genre and the only time I've ever rooted for the bad guys against the remnants of King Arthur's court...
and sadly, those are the highlights.
An okay fantasy film for a single viewing (details)
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 03/28/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have mixed opinions regarding the numerous and various Merlin films, both new and older. This 2009 made-for-television flick demonstrates its definite good points and its clear weaknesses as well.
The story: A sort of abbreviated The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition) rip-off in that Merlin = Gandalf; The Arkadian = Sauron; The Book of Beasts = The One Ring of Power. Camelot has fallen, King Arthur is dead, and a nefarious necromancer is dominating the land with his beastly magical book from whence he can generate evil mythical creatures, including gorgons. A remnant band of Arthur's Round Table knights seek out Merlin in his woodland lair to aid them in battling the malevolent Arkadian.
Casting: It's generally very good except for two of the three key characters, Merlin (James Callis) and Avlynn (Laura Harris). Callis conveys a sordid, grunting, gravelly-voiced Merlin, a vocal nuance which seems to serve no useful purpose whatever and it's really hard to follow what Merlin is saying at times. Laura Harris, (playing the daughter of the late King Arthur), seems a bit too inherently fragile and sweet. She just doesn't advance the aggressive and sword-wielding warrior-princess character -- I remained unconvinced. They needed an actress with bit rougher edge. Harris' make-up was all wrong from the start which contributed to the problem.
Cinematography, sets, and locations: Excellent! This was terrific work in all three categories, the film being shot at various breathtaking spots in British Columbia, Canada. The DVD is rendered in enhanced widescreen (1.78:1 aspect ratio) and runs for a total of ninety-two minutes.
Filmscore/soundtrack: I thought it was quite good, not cloying and overdramatic as one might anticipate, and certainly appropriate to support the video aspects. Kudos to Craig McConnell for his original music.
Acting: This aspect was more than acceptable excepting the goofy Merlin accent and voice timbre which much detracted from the film. The fight scenes looked pretty genuine as film brawls go.
Continuity and atmosphere: This aspect was above average and it was an easy yarn to follow, perhaps too much so as there was no prevalent sub-plot. The issue about Merlin "aging backwards" could have been more palatable had the old sorcerer not seemed so incompetent with his magic in his newfound youth - he had tons of trouble whooping the new kid on the block, The Arkadian.
Script and dialogue: Some glitches emerged here. In one instance, Sir Galahad (Donald Adams) rattles off a hackneyed Mark Twain quotation to Merlin which was not only anachronistic -- it collapsed utterly in its intended comic relief.
Special effects: First-class!
In summary, I was left with an overall impression that neither the writers nor director Warren P. Sonoda knew much about either the Legend of Camelot or of Merlin. There seemed to be so much extraneous stuff which was just thrown in for dramatic escalation such as the Greek Gorgons. I have no issues with an endorsement of poetic license but it appears that the writers got just a little too far afield in this instance.
Recommended for a single view by fantasy movie fans.
In my opinion
SilverWing | Port Orchard WA | 12/01/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is not the worst and it's not the best. It's okay. It could have been better. The plot was good but the Madusa's were not really all that great which made the movie appear of less quality. But it keeps up your interest enough to watch it."