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Merlin


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Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Neill, Helena Bonham Carter, John Gielgud, Rutger Hauer, James Earl Jones
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Universal Music Group
  • Release Date: July 1 2001
  • Run Time: 182 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NB95
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,193 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

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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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steph on July 10 2007
Format: DVD
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 over-done Arthur side (indeed, Arthur seems secondary and two-dimensional in contrast). I especially like the battle of wills between Mab and Merlin that drive the entire narrative. You can't help but identify with them both. The actors all do a fabulous job with what they were given.
That said, it is obvious that the producers were focusing more on the special effects than the screenplay. The story line comes across rather choppy and like watching a quick synopsis of a bigger movie. The movie careens along at a hippedy-hop pace, touching down for short moments here and there before galloping off again, leaving the viewer wishing for a few moments of breath in a scene. It could easily have been a seven hour movie and felt only just barely "full". If you enjoyed the well-thought-out plodding of Mists of Avalon, you may find this movie too brief and glossy.
Still, I recommend it for an ejoyable afternoon. Think I'll go watch it again...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lobohombreriera on May 24 2002
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 By Paul Snow on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Myra on Dec 30 2003
Format: DVD
This move is about the wizard Merlin. It has all the well known characters of Merlin stories - Arthur, Morgan la Fay, Mordred, Guinivere, Lancealot - as well as some not as well known characters - Vortigen, Uther, Cornwall - and some that are entirely new to me - Queen Mab, Frick, and Nimue. The special effects in this movie aren't the best, but they aren't bad. The costumes and voices of the characters is one of the best things - the best one being Queen Mab. The evil queen of the Old Ways is the one who created Merlin, but whom he turns against. Her costumes and make-up are neat, as is her voice.
With wonderful acting by great actors, a great plot, and a wonderfully portrayed story and characters, this is a highly entertaining and pleasing movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9 2004
Format: DVD
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 events. I think it is a good fantasy story and is worth watching/ reading
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Format: DVD
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 Excaliber. I'd like to make some facts clear to others. There is absolutly no evidence that anyone named Arthur ever even existed. It's called the Dark Ages for a reason; because we are blind to it. It was a period of unrest and violence and not much survived it. There is no evidence, there is no proof and so this movie is exactly as it should be. A work of art based on various myths and legends. Everyone tells the story of Arthur differently and I think this version is told quite well. Nobody wants the story to be real. It is the stuff of fairy tales that has survived centuries and offers something to writers and film makers everywhere that is rare and unique; a chance to be Very creative. This movie takes that opportunity and goes with it all the way. No two movies about Arthur can be compared but this one stands alone. No one has ever told Merlin's story. Amid all the scandal, adultury and war, he is forgotten and truly his story is an intiguing one. If you want to know what and who made Arthur and his kingdoms....watch this movie.
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