Warning, Book and Movie Spoilers!!
Ok, I realize this saying has been beaten to death, but there's no
around it- it's not the book. As wild as I was to see the movie by the end
of page 1 of the novel, I forced myself to wait till I was finished
(Luckily I Speed-Read, so this only took about 3 days). I liked the movie
the first time I saw it and I still watch it occasionally at work (there
perks to working in a Video Rental store) but I've reread the novel about
times, and each time I do both I love the book more and like the movie
I loved Julianna Margulies as Morgaine, and I had never seen her in
anything before, or even heard of her. I've always loved Anjelica Houston,
and some of the other actors and actresses were good as well. The
killed me, however. As in, isn't Morgaine 4 when the story starts, and
Morgause 14, and Igrane 19? Igrane looked a heck of a lot older than me
I just turned 20. What happened to Morgaine drugging Lancelet to force him
to marry Elaine? Everything involving Kevin the Merlin, traitor to Avalon?
Arthur's betrayal of Avalon because of Gwenwyhfar and all Morgaine's
ruthless plotting against him? It seemed as though the movie showed the
famous aspects of the thoroughly worn- out Arthurian myth, and neglected
portray all the wonderful aspects of Bradly's book- the Old Religion vs.
onset of Christianity and all the restrictions and lack of tolerance for
others that entails (not trying to offend anyone- think of the Bishop and
Gwenhyfar here), forbidden romance, corrupt politics, war, and betrayal.
There are so many storylines and sub-plots they obviously couldn't include
them all, but some of the things they left out were the beating heart of
book. The book takes place over a span of about 50 years or more, which
means there's a LOT of storyline within Camelot, Orkney, Avalon, and
Throughout a lot of the film, what saddened and disappointed me wasn't
the things they didn't include at all but what they changed. Morgause
curse Gwen, and she was quite a bit more relentless and still more social.
She plays an enormous role in the story as the woman who makes Mordred
he is, and the film didnt give her credit for that. Her one moment to
in the film is right before Viviane kills her and Mordred kills Viviane-
none of which happened. Why was that necessary? And Viviane wasn't
to Avalon and torched, but buried on the Isle of Glastonbury where the
priests dwelt- this is a signifigant point in the development of both
Morgaine and Kevin's characters.
Stephen King's "The Stand" miniseries takes 4 VHS tapes to fill. King's
remake of "The Shining" was 6 hrs total, shown 2 hrs for 3 nights. (I love
King's work, just making a point). There are countless miniseries that are
hours long, 12 hours long, and then some. Why slice out huge portions of
this wonderful novel to squeeze it into 3 hours? "The Lord of the Rings"
also 900 or so pages all together and it got three films that total about
hours all together! Maybe someday someone who is actually literate and
understands this story will come along and do it the right way, in a way
that does tribute to Avalon and those of us who do still follow the "Old"
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John Boorman's operatic, opulent take on the legend of King Arthur is visually remarkable, and features strong performances from an all-star lineup of British thespians..
This is my all time favorite movie!!!.
The best story
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
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..