There is no doubt that among all the legends and myths related to the historical period known as 'The Dark Ages',the most popular and probably most exploited in art,music and cinema is the legend of King Arthur.One of the movies I've seen recently and which deals with this fascinating theme is 'Excalibur', a 1981 epic production inspired by Arthurian legends which managed to raise my interest and keep me enthralled for almost two and a half hours.
The movie directed by John Boorman has a cast which includes several big names,such as Helen Mirren,which plays to perfection the roleof the evil Morgana,Liam Neesom(Gawain) or Patrick Stewart(Leondegrance),and the performances of these actors,along with those of others who play the main characters(Nigel Terry as King Arthur and Nicol Williamson as Merlin) represent one of the strong points of the movie.Another thing I appreciate after watching 'Excalibur' is the fact that the plot and the action follow the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of Round Table accurately without becoming boring,so even if viewers who have knowledge of the legends are aware of what will happen next,they're still fascinated by the dynamic action and most probably don't leave their chairs until the movie's over.
The story's centered about three main characters:the mighty King Arthur,the wizard Merlin,who watches Arthur's steps and helps him become king and then rule his kingdom in hard times,and of course the legendary sword Excalibur,which made Arthur almost invisible in battle.Luckily,the battle scenes aren't extremely long and they seem to be quite realistic,and there is much more the movie has the offer besides sword fighting and blood;it also has romance and intrigue,and a dramatic tension which reaches the climax when Arthur is betrayed by his wife,Guenevere,and his best friend,the fearless Lancelot,who run away together.There is also a lot of tension in the encounter betweenArthur and Mordred,the biggest villain in the movie,even bigger than his mother Morgana,Arthur's step-sister,whose intrigues brinng the kingdom on the edge of destruction.
In addition to all these elements the movie contains a lot of magic,mystery and symbolism,reflected in the search of the Holy Grail whom eventually Perceval,one of Arthur's bravest knights and most faithful followers,eventually finds after going through many dangers.In fact,Perceval,the man who stays with Arthur until his death,best represents the ideals of courage and honesty that were so valued for a knight during that period.However,the director isn't afraid to show Arthur and the knights with their strengths and weaknesses as well,thus making them more human and more realistic.
'Excalibur',even if it was made more than 30 years ago,is a very good movie for me.On a scale from 1to 10,I would give it an 8 because of the complexity of its characters and the blending of action with drama and fantasy.It is one of those movies I will very likely enjoy watching again one day,so if you have the chance to see it and you're fascinated by the legends of King Arthur,don't miss it.More exciting movie reviews written by my friend and fellow EC author Abhijit Bangal can be found here: http://expertscolumn.com/content/review-shawshank-redemption-1994 http://expertscolumn.com/content/review-red-alert-war-within http://expertscolumn.com/content/milenge-milenge-long-awaited-movie