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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 (136 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NB95
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #69,660 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 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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4 of 4 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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2 of 2 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jade Cat on Sept. 19 2006
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cybele A. Baker on June 28 2004
Format: DVD
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, legends and even myself who has been reading Arhtur myths for over 20 years has not read them all so I doubt they can have as well.
And interestingly enough they are actualy completely wrong about one of those characters. Nimue was most certainly a major portion of Merlin's life she is the woman who trapped Merlin in a spell of sleep and prevented him from helping Arthur before he dies. She was Merlin's lover in some tales and his nemesis too in others so obviously that other reviewer really doesn't know their Arthur mythos.
And here is the thing, folks should not compare this to the film Excalibur...Excalibur was about ARTHUR this film is called MERLIN people!!!
This is a wonderful film using element of Merlin's legends and making up a few new ones. This is a piece of fiction just like every thing else written about the wizard so how can it possibly be wrong when there is no Merlin nor is there one true text about his life. TH White wrote about Merlin differently than the old myths and legends as did John Steinbeck and Sir Thomas Mallory are their books then not worth reading? OF course not.
THERE IS NO ONE TRUE ARTHURIAN TEXT! It is myth and legend and the story can be told anyway a film maker or writter wishes. That is what creativity is all about not to copy someone elses story but to create your own vision.
This is a fabulous film well acted, directed and told and I've enjoyed it for years. Sam Neil is definitly an interesting version of Merlin..while I have a stronger liking for Nicol Williamson's Excalibur Merlin I still very much enjoy this one. And using Queen Mab from celtic myths and legends which some of the older Arthur tales sources are from was very creative.
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