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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Merlin
Directed by Steve Barron
Hallmark Entertainment 12/98 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Not Rated

Here is an imaginatively realized slice of Arthurian mythology. Queen Mab (Miranda Richardson) tries to use Merlin (Sam Neill), a wizard, in her attempt to control Britain and to bring back the power of magic. But this man of conscience finds an ally in the mysterious Lady of the Lake. As Ambrosia (Billie Whitelaw), the woman who raises him, says: "Magic has no power over the human heart."

As a young man, Merlin falls in love with Nimue (Isabella Rossellini) and later tries to rescue her from a dragon. But his real mission is to advance the career of King Arthur (Paul Curran), who rules the beneficent Kingdom of Camelot in part due to his possession of the magic sword Excaliber. Queen Mab, meanwhile, tries to stir up trouble with Morgan Le Fey (Helena Bonham Carter) and Arthur's illegitimate son Mordred (Jason Done).

Steve Barron directs this phantasmagorical drama, which was a popular television miniseries during the 1997 - 1998 season. It contains very eye-catching scenery, great special effects, and enchanting music. Sam Neill confidently carries this mythological tale upon his broad shoulders. Merlin is a hero who admits his flaws as both a romantic and as a soothsayer.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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