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 »igue-filled retelling of the King Arthur/Camelot legend. Starring Julianna Margulies, Anjelica Huston, Joan Allen, Caroline Goodall, Edward Atterton, and Samantha Mathis.« less
Adrianne R. from METUCHEN, NJ Reviewed on 7/6/2013...
Love movie. Some pieces hard to understand.
1 of 4 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 3 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.
6 of 7 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.
6 of 10 member(s) found this review helpful.
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."
Appalling doesn't begin to define it.
Lionors | 01/08/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"In writing about The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote,"One of the main problems I had, in writing the Arthurian novel, was the fear that Christians would feel I was attacking the basics of Christianity, rather than the enormous bigotry and anti-feminism that have become grafted on to Christianity. I don't think they have any part in Christianity itself, or in the teachings of Christ...And, I suppose, a little, the purpose of the book was to express my dismay at the way in which religion lets itself become the slave of politics and the state." Given MZB's intent, I have to say that this has to be one of the most appallingly bad hashes of an excellent work of literature that I've ever seen, PERIOD. I can understand having to abridge events because of the length of the novel, but the changes made didn't abridge the work -- they changed it ENTIRELY, much to the story's detriment. Any slightly sordid theme of the book got played (and replayed, and replayed and replayed - how many times did they flash back to Arthur's being with Morgaine?); the more intricate subplots which played out MZB's intent were almost entirely ignored. Instead of a thought-provoking work on how power politics coupled with a barren queen's obsession with childbearing prompted a change from Paganism to Christianity (and how bigotry fouled the latter religion), we end up with a saccharine and shallow offering which lacks any intellectual interest whatsoever. Certainly it lacks the point that MZB was trying to make with this novel.If she could still accept it, this film's makers owe Marion Zimmer Bradley a profound apology for this massacre of her work. I couldn't put the book down, but I couldn't wait for this farce to be over and done with so I could turn it off. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY BUYING IT."
Hillary | abington, ma United States | 08/27/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"If you've read the book and still insist that Marion Zimmer Bradley would be proud of this, I think you are very very very wrong.There were more than a few problems with this series - was I looking for complete and utter dedication to the original text of the novel? No. But I was looking for at least a majority of the storyline to match up. That's not what I got.Okay, here we go - my breakdown of good and bad and all that jazz:1) Time constraints - if this series had been given 2 more nights, perhaps things that were done TO the text would have been much improved. I can respect that having only 4 hours to fit in a bazillion pages of book is difficult (thus the 2 star rating and not the 1). Do I like what they did with those 4 hours? No, but I can respect that it made things difficult.2) Viviane's/Morgause's death - LAME. LAME LAME LAME. Morgause doesn't even DIE in the book. STUPID AND NEEDLESS. Again, for time constraint reasons I can see why they would kill Viviane that way (Balin and Balan weren't huge enough characters to constitue devoting time to them), however, the Morgause thing was inexcusable.3) Uther's Death - Cheesy. Melodramatic cliche. Needless adaptation of the script to try and cater to an audience looking more for General Hospital than the Mists of Avalon. 4) Casting - Lancelot is supposed to be this handsome God among men. He wasn't. At all. Arthur was supposed to be charismatic and likable. The actor portrays him as a gutless, sniveling little pained man. I didn't have too much to say about the rest of the cast, but still . . . considering those guys were two MAJOR players, this was a little bit annoying.5) Music - Liked it. Really liked it. Good picks there. One of the few things I found truly enjoyable. 6) Mordred - Barely enough time to decide to dislike him. Very little character development makes him an ineffective bad guy.7) Merlin/Kevin - very minimal parts. Kevin wasn't even mentioned. They were pretty important to the whole legend in general, no? OKAY, THEN WHERE DID THEY GO?I am itching for a new, good Arthurian movie - one that won't make me want to slap people around. First Knight, Mists of Avalon . . . monstrosities. Please, somebody take the Arthurian legend and "Lord of the Ring"s it please. Wading through the cruddy Arthurian stuff is getting tired! Better luck next time."