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Merlin

Sam Neill , Helena Bonham Carter    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
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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 and betrayal. This four-hour mini-series re-tells the story of Camelot and King Arthur from the perspective of the magic man who sacrifices a great deal to guide mortals toward a better destiny. Sam Neill plays Merlin as an accessible, flesh-and-blood fellow of real passion, powerless to undo the spell of a rival (Rutger Hauer) who has virtually imprisoned Merlin's great love, Nimue (Isabella Rossellini), but gifted enough to counter the treachery of Morgan Le Fey (Helena Bonham Carter) and the wicked Queen Mab (Miranda Richardson). The battle sequences and special effects are striking and original, and it is great fun to see such art-house movie actors as Richardson, Carter, Neill, etc., in fantasy entertainment the whole family can enjoy. (An unrecognizable Martin Short must be singled out, however, for a wonderful, largely dramatic performance as Mab's sidekick, Frik.) Directed by Steve Barron (The Adventures of Pinocchio), Merlin is a nice bit of glossy revisionism of a beloved legend. --Tom Keogh

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
There are three Hallmark mini-series that left a deep print on my heart. One of them is "Merlin", by Steve Barron (who already was a winner in my book after the hilarious "Coneheads"). The fact that it was made for TV may seem like a reason to underestimate this movie, but you'd be making a big mistake. "Merlin" is one of the greatest fantasy films ever made, and a worthy competitor for some of the genre's classics, like "Legend", "The Never-ending Story", or "Excalibur", its main influence.
"Merlin" tells the story of the most famous wizard of all, narrated trough the reigns of the first four Christian kings of England: Constant, Vortigern, Uther, and Arthur. Besides the obvious conflicts of men and their quest for power, there is another battle: this one between the new Christian religion and the Old Ways of Pagan magic, lead by Queen Mab. It is Mab who creates Merlin in an attempt to restore the power of magic to the world, but when her creation meets Nimue, the love of his life, he leaves it all behind in pursuit of his own dream: to find a good man who can heal the land, regardless of his religion. In the end, Merlin will find himself trapped between these two wars, and his human heart will be torn between the obligation he has towards his destiny and the possibility of getting away from it, seeking refuge in the arms of his true love.
Because of its 3-hour length, the move can really reach some substance with its characters. The cast is supreme, with 5-stars talents like Sam Neill, Isabella Rossellini, and Martin Short. All of them make their characters a treat. I specially love the character of Queen Mab, played by Miranda Richardson, who seems like a Pagan Mephistopheles, always whispering into people's ears.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars it's no Excalibur May 8 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Well, I don't want to be totally negative regarding this movie. It did have some redeaming features and I've seen much worst. For one thing, this movie had great casting. You really can't blame the actors for a mediocore preformance because I think they did the best they could with the script they were given. Jason Done (Mordrid) and Rutger Hauer (Lord Vortigern - the guy that Uther had to conqure) were my two favorit actors in this flick, but they all pulled off a pretty good job. The dialogue was pretty bad. It also had a rather charming twist ending regarding the narrator, (but then they even managed to ruin that by dragging it out way too much.) The one scene in the movie that I loved was duing the death scene when Morgen Le Fay dies and Frick is standing over her, and they both see each other as they really are because the spell of illusion was shattered. It was a beautiful scene and for that scene alone I gave this movie 2 stars instead of 1.
Excluding what is mentioned above, everything about this movie that you could possibly think of stunk beyond belief!! I would recomend it to small children because they're the only ones I think that would truely like this movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's no Excalibur May 8 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Well, I don't want to be totally negative regarding this movie. It did have some redeaming features and I've seen much worst. For one thing, this movie had great casting. You really can't blame the actors for a mediocore preformance because I think they did the best they could with the script they were given. Jason Done (Mordrid) and Rutger Hauer (Lord Vortigern - the guy that Uther had to conqure) were my two favorit actors in this flick, but they all pulled off a pretty good job. The dialogue was pretty bad. It also had a rather charming twist ending regarding the narrator, (but then they even managed to ruin that by dragging it out way too much.) The one scene in the movie that I loved was duing the death scene when Morgen Le Fay dies and Frick is standing over her, and they both see each other as they really are because the spell of illusion was shattered. It was a beautiful scene and for that scene alone I gave this movie 2 stars instead of 1.
Excluding what is mentioned above, everything about this movie that you could possibly think of stunk beyond belief!! I would recomend it to small children because they're the only ones I think that would truely like this movie.
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's no Excalibur May 8 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Well, I don't want to be totally negative regarding this movie. It did have some redeaming features and I've seen much worst. For one thing, this movie had great casting. You really can't blame the actors for a mediocore preformance because I think they did the best they could with the script they were given. Jason Done (Mordrid) and Rutger Hauer (Lord Vortigern - the guy that Uther had to conqure) were my two favorit actors in this flick, but they all pulled off a pretty good job. The dialogue was pretty bad. It also had a rather charming twist ending regarding the narrator, (but then they even managed to ruin that by dragging it out way too much.) The one scene in the movie that I loved was duing the death scene when Morgen Le Fay dies and Frick is standing over her, and they both see eachother as they really are because the spell of illusion was shattered. It was a beautiful scene and for that scene alone I gave this movie 2 stars instead of 1.
Excluding what is mentioned above, everything about this movie that you could possibly think of stunk beyond belief!! I would recomend it to small children because they're the only ones I think that would truely like this movie.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Merlin
I have always liked the character of Merlin best of all the King Arthur legend and Sam Neill is a great actor.
Published 16 months ago by V. Moar
3.0 out of 5 stars Merlin
A really good product, I was actually very impressed by the rapidity in which I received the product. Had it been available in FRENCH, I would have gave it at least 1 more star.
Published on Jan. 29 2012 by Roger
5.0 out of 5 stars Far better than I expected
I'm shocked to say I found this 3 hour TV mini-series more
entertaining, more human, and more emotional, than almost all the huge
sword and sorcery epic features of late... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Merlin
this is the best movie ever made for TV. I loved it. I think everyone should have a copy in their house
Published on Feb. 19 2009 by Sofija Markoc
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but brief
I have enjoyed this adaptation for years. Sam Neil is an excellent Merlin, and it is refreshing to find a movie that focuses on the Merlin side of the myth rather than the... Read more
Published on July 10 2007 by Steph
5.0 out of 5 stars What else to expect?
What else to expect from overbearing people who think they know everything about the world. Strange, I thought the USA actually existed only since 1880 something... Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2006 by WhiteWica
5.0 out of 5 stars Facts are facts and we have none....
So, I've read some reviews on this movie and I would like to say that I thought it was fantastic. I have been fascinated by Aurthurian legend since I was old enough to say... Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2006 by Jade Cat
2.0 out of 5 stars Pap, but has at least minimum chortle factor.
I think they were trying to go for a cross between Excalibur and Legend, but it ended up like the Weather (ITV) and Changing Rooms, with excessive access to Miranda Richardson's... Read more
Published on July 11 2004 by Ge Hanzhi
4.0 out of 5 stars Jeez
This is a Fantasy story people, not a historical account! As a fantasy story it is chock full of fantasy elements, and as a story, the writer took liberties with the historical... Read more
Published on July 9 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars "Another wasted effort" doesn't know their Merlin mythos!
A review complains about the extra characters in Merlin and complains that they do not exist in Arthurian Mythos well frankly there are dozens and dozens of Arthurian myths,... Read more
Published on June 28 2004 by Cybele A. Baker
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