Customer Review

69 of 95 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars PC and highly unlikely camelot...Don't even bother!, July 14, 2011
This review is from: Camelot: Season 1 (DVD)
I majored in history in College, and even studied Medieval history at Cambridge one summer...but Starz's Camelot is just plain awful. I went into the season open minded, meaning that I was ready for another version of the king Arthur legend since I liked Excalibur and several other versions; however, please note that even I couldn't ever like First Knight. I don't want to give away too many details if you want to watch the series, but be forewarned it sucks due to miscast, poor script,small budget (needed more extras as warrior knights and common folk) and political correctness (modern feminism, multi-cultural/post-racial, etc.). It also smacks of hollywood trying to ride the ambiguity fence...that the characters are neither good nor evil, lies somewhere near the gray area of fallibility etc soap opera. Where are the knights trained in combat arms of the day (heavy cavalry)? They must have spent the whole budget on a few talent and camelot castle CGI because Camelot lacked in depth in many ways.

The opening scene of young Arthur caught after sleeping with his brother's girlfriend...was just wrong. I don't believe that would have occurred back then, but note that it was more revealing of Arthur's character later in the series. Merlin (Joseph Fiennes) was absolutely believable and Fiennes gave an amazing portrayal of a cunning yet "might-be-mad" sorcerer. King Uther's sorceress daughter Morgan (Eva Green) was brilliantly played and deserves recognition. Arthur's knights seemed like real men yet too "clean" and not like the battle-tested rustic knights like Templar Knight James Purfoy from the movie "Ironclad". (and a black-african knight? in England? New one for me.) With Jamie Campbell Bower as King Arthur??? One of the biggest miscasts ever. Between his bad acting and his wimpy looks (trained to carry a sword? morelike a bow perhaps), he does not fit the king arther role. So, he's a ladies man, I get it...better role as a bard than a man fit to rule England.

I liked the creativeness of how the sword in the stone and lady of the lake became legend, but anything recognizeable stops there (the potential arthur/morgana season finale hookup that produced an offspring that never occurred). Camelot quickly turned into a soap opera with the bitter evil nun advisor, mixed asian/black-african maid (they never developed her charater), and Egraine plot that just turned south. Poor character development of Arthur's knights and other characters.

Camelot the musical was more believeable than this nonsense. Buy that version and save your money on this one. Like my review or not, it just wasn't worth my breath.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 22, 2011 9:16:30 PM PDT
I noticed a lot of what you mentioned as well. Even with a small budget they could have done something great with this series, but it seriously fell short. I'll keep watching it for Fiennes since he does a brilliant Merlin - but the rest of the show needs more of a lot of things and a little less political correctness.

Posted on Oct 16, 2011 2:34:29 PM PDT
I'm not sure why you expect "medieval history" from the retelling of a legend. Another reviewer made this same complaint. Arthur would not have cared about a teenage girl being forced to have sexual relations with a land boss. Really? In the version of the Arthurian legends, Arthus certainly would have cared. As far as the characters not being good or evil, let's keep in mind that it was that weakness itself that leads to the downfall of Arthur and his kingdom. People are weak. Guinevere and Lancelot fall in love. Arthur, in weakness, begets a son on his half-sister. Arthur himself is the product of sorcery. This isn't history. Other than that, I don't really mind any of the "post-racial" issues that this reviewer mentions. We are talking about the retelling of a legend. One should think "Conan" when looking for comparisons, not "Rome."

Posted on Nov 24, 2011 11:18:54 PM PST
Jimbo, thanks for your great review. It was helpful to me because of the amount of detail you included. In a review of something, other than spoilers, there's no such thing as too much info. I payed your review extra attention because you said you studied medieval history in Britain for a semester. That's pretty hardcore. Anyway, it always amazes me at what projects get financed. If it's an "originalish" idea, which is usually pretty weak, they try to build something from nothing which never works. If it's the usual project: something generic, they usually play safe with it, and stay as close as they can to the money-making original. I guess CAMELOT falls into that category. In a way, I can understand why. This genre already has a large audience. Also, there really isn't THE perfect definitive King Arthur movie, yet, in my opinion. There have been a couple of good ones, and a lot more mediocre ones, but Arthur and Merlin, et al, have really thrived in print. Even if you aren't especially into that particular legend, but just want a great read, it'd be hard to top Mary Stewart's The Last Enchantment, as well as Steinbeck and Mallory's versions.
If you're going to make a movie about well-known characters, on a small budget, you better make sure the ACTING is tight. Sounds like the lead, from all of these reviews, was pretty weak. It seems like the character Arthur usually is weak in comparrison to Merlin, at least. Notice the current Brit TV show on that subject isn't titled "ARTHUR". Maybe that's because the great writers I listed, as well as the others, just don't have the insight on him that they probably should. He's more icon that man to them, so they seem to have trouble characterizing him; yet, they seem to "get" the sorceror (!) Merlin...
A good point another commenter, Geoffrey Barrett, made when he calls this a "retelling". There's been a lot of this retelling stuff going around, especially with vampires lately. And, amazingly, every thirteen year old girl with an allowance loves these versions. Being a writer, I understand why someone would want to write their take on something. But if you dare accept that challenge, improve on things. There's the Gary Oldmanesque creepy drag-vampire of the original Bram Stroker invention, that Hollywood, Anne Rice, Joss Whedon and the present Twilighters have pretty-upped. And I say great. A monster who's seductive is even more of a monster. But, to have them walk around in the daylight, so they can attend HIGH SCHOOL, is monstrously sick, and def weakens the genre. My guess is that this CAMELOT production was made in England by English producers. I've noticed how inclined they are, lately, to add their PC slant to things. So, I guess even Merlin can't make Politically Correct Fascism disappear...? I wouldn't mind if these "progressive" types really put their money where their brains are, and proved their sincerity by replacing their token black knight with one line ("Aye, my Lord!" ;) with a black Arthur! Hey, if you're gonna screw with the mythology, don't be sneaky and gutless about it. Go for it! As G.B. reminds, this IS a retelling. Anyway, thanks again. Take care. ;9B.... .. .

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 5:06:36 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2014 5:08:26 AM PDT
I just barely watched one episode of this once, and was ashamed. Its like the programmer makers, seized by a fit of infantile ecstasy thought- 'Hey, this is for adults0 that means we can do what we want!. Tom, how many dirty words do you know, list them all and give them to the scriptwriter!' Harry, get me the latest issue of Playboy, I need it for inspiration if we're gonna make this into sex- fest full of gorgeous girls- Playboy with Medieval costumes- what a great plan- after all that's all they did in the past right, get drunk and have sex? That's all they do in 'Rome', and everyone says that's realistic, right!'
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