The epic tale of King Arthur roars to life in this story of Arthur's rise to power, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin the Magician, the golden age of Camelot and the search for the Holy Grail.]]>
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With its darkened, cloud-streaked skies, lonely stone castles, eerie green lighting, (all caught in beautiful widescreen glory on the DVD), and effective use of the music of Richard Wagner, you won't find a moodier, more beautifully shot film. In fact, there are some downright breathtaking cinematic moments in this film, none more so than when Perceval hurls Excalibur back into the water, and Wagner's music swells just in time for the Lady of the Lake to make a dramatic clean catch. Great stuff.
It also helps that Nicol Williamson turns in a very game performance as Merlin, but it's Nigel Terry who carries the film in an underappreciated but wholly believeable interpretation of King Arthur. Terry leaves the scenery-chewing to Williamson, and anchors the film instead with a steady, understated performance. Look also for stars-in-the-making Liam Neeson as the jealous Gawain, and Patrick Stewart as Guenevere's father, Leodegrance.Read more ›
In a sense, EXCALIBUR is more a story of Merlin than Arthur since Nicole Williamson's fabulous, unique portrayal of the former overshadows Nigel Terry's role as the latter. However, the film faithfully depicts the Arthurian legend from his conception and birth at Tintagel Castle, to his death at the hands of Mordred. In between are all the other elements of the story one would hope for and expect: Uther Pendragon, the Sword In the Stone, the Battle of Mount Badon, Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Lancelot, Guinevere, Sir Percival, the Quest for the Holy Grail, the Lady of the Lake, and Lady Morgana (a.k.a. Morgan La Fey).
A note of caution for parents of young children. At times, the film is intensely violent, bloody and sexual. (Gee, it sounds like any normal day at the office.) You are warned. And it's not a movie for squeamish adults, either.
The costuming is superb. The brilliant cinematography and film editing, combined with a magnificent soundtrack that includes "Carmina Burana" and "Tristan's Funeral March" at just the right scenes, make EXCALIBUR absolutely awe-inspiring. You'll want to watch it over and over. (I've talked myself into wanting to view it again right now!) The final scene is one you'll wish you could extract from your TV screen and frame, with sound.
Oh, my! What a cinematic achievement!
Boorman looks back 20 years on a project that in itself waited some 20 years before Orion came up with the backing. In the process it saw Gabriel Byrne, Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson and others debuting to go on to better things. Not so with Nigel Terry, whose performance was greatly under-rated.
Boorman is modest, pragmatic and realistic. If the water was too cold for the actors, he would use his daughter or son. Production waited for live fish to be put into a submerged ring of stones from which Merlin would pick up one by hand, only for them to be tipped OUTSIDE the ring to swim away. Effectively, filming was done in his back garden and that of a neighbour. Local Irish stuntmen were used who would then continue fighting in the battle scenes, after "cut" was called, to settle old scores. Wilkinson Sword provided Excalibur. Green filtered lights rendered greener the countryside already made green by the incessant rain requiring many hours and days waiting for the right conditions.
As the young Arthur is taken away from his mother he tugs her hair dramatically across the film screen. Unscripted it came free. The bird pecking out the eye of a strung-up knight took many day's filming.
Very tight scheduling, ensured seasons exactly consonant with the three parts of the film - the Coming of Arthur and Camelot, The Wasteland and the Passing of Arthur.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The movie is very dated, not by the story line, but by the spoken lines. It is also over simplified, to the point of comical in the fight scenes.Published 7 days ago by June D Hagood
Okay not much to say other than:
This movie is as campy 80's as it gets lol.
The production value is great, the sets are good, the filming is good, the sound... Read more
I love this film. It is so well put together. It makes me feel so good.Published 20 days ago by Greg
My first eternal favorite movie. So sad that Nigel Terry past away as he was someone I always wanted to meet, along with Freddie Mercury. Oh, well...maybe on the other side. Read morePublished 22 days ago by R. Kratochwil
Sometimes the elements of a film all align, even on a modest budget, to unlock the gates of greatness. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Milesman
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