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Merlin & The Book Of Beasts
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Top Customer Reviews
this is a very good little movie with a true heart, down-to-earth, not a bombastic high-budget blockbuster, but i found it interesting and the ending to be a wonderful beginning for merlin. merlin's sense of wit is understated but delightful and has a strange virtue to it, just like the whole movie in general. they play the king arthur lore loose here and there but in a good way with the movie entering into new arthurian territory - as mentioned before, this is post arthur (and with ancient greek monsters, the gorgons, to boot)! but underneath it all this is a story about merlin - from his madness to finding peace, this is merlin's journey.
anyway, that's just one take on Merlin and the Book of Beasts - give it a try, you may find it a pretty good story too!
The story: A sort of abbreviated The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition) rip-off in that Merlin = Gandalf; The Arkadian = Sauron; The Book of Beasts = The One Ring of Power. Camelot has fallen, King Arthur is dead, and a nefarious necromancer is dominating the land with his beastly magical book from whence he can generate evil mythical creatures, including gorgons. A remnant band of Arthur's Round Table knights seek out Merlin in his woodland lair to aid them in battling the malevolent Arkadian.
Casting: It's generally very good except for two of the three key characters, Merlin (James Callis) and Avlynn (Laura Harris). Callis conveys a sordid, grunting, gravelly-voiced Merlin, a vocal nuance which seems to serve no useful purpose whatever and it's really hard to follow what Merlin is saying at times. Laura Harris, (playing the daughter of the late King Arthur), seems a bit too inherently fragile and sweet. She just doesn't advance the aggressive and sword-wielding warrior-princess character -- I remained unconvinced. They needed an actress with bit rougher edge. Harris' make-up was all wrong from the start which contributed to the problem.
Cinematography, sets, and locations: Excellent! This was terrific work in all three categories, the film being shot at various breathtaking spots in British Columbia, Canada. The DVD is rendered in enhanced widescreen (1.Read more ›
Now for the bad news. Merlin (James Callis) adopts a thickly accented Welsh dialect that is as irritating as it is undecipherable. Fans of Battlestar Galactica who are familiar with Callis' pleasant inflection will find no solace here. It seems Callis wanted to take on an eccentric role, and he does so with gusto.
The Book of Beasts isn't precisely the Monster Manual one might expect from a fantasy-themed movie. It starts with killer butterflies (ooh, scary!), moves to "dragon knights" which are basically giant zombies, some giant birds that are only heard off-screen (maybe they're griffons?), and then there's the Gorgons.
What? You thought this was a movie about medieval times? Well you can forget it, because The Book of Beasts is one sandal away from Clash of the Titans. The Gorgons themselves are here in all their glory; beautiful until angered, whereupon they turn into snake-haired harpies. The Arkadian who summons them (Jim Thorburn) has a dark secret, but mostly he runs out of ideas and decides to stick with his highest-level monster.
So the Gorgons take up most of the movie, more than the archvillain himself. Throughout the film is another plot about how Sir Galahad (Donald Adams) is leading the return of the next generation of knights, including King Arthur's progeny Avlynn (Laura Harris). But really this is about Gorgons turning people into statues, seducing men, and hissing a lot.
Book of Beasts aims high and fails to achieve its lofty goal as a sort of sequel to the Arthurian myth. The special effects are used wisely to portray the monsters, but there simply isn't enough variety to make for much of a book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A decent film though I could barely understand merlin most of the time.Published 16 months ago by JW Appel
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really such a big disappointment for the great Merlin,could have been way much more better,talk about D rated. Please do not waste your cash on this moviePublished on May 6, 2013 by Rita
of Merlin's throaty, mumbled lines.
Although I am admittedly a "sucker" for the medieval/renaissance/dragon-and-sword-fighting genre, I found this film unworthy of any... Read more
I can not get over how awful this move is. Merlin in this movie should have taken voice lessons! Seriously, I could not watch the entire movie because the delivery of lines were... Read morePublished on September 10, 2011 by Time Traveler