Merlin has acquired Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake. Through Excalibur, Uther Pendragon can stop his warring with the Duke of Cornwall and declare peace. During a banquet, Uther's eyes fall on the wife of the Duke and he wants her for himself. The inevitable happens, the fight continues. Merlin closes a pact with Uther, he'll give uther a night with igrayne if he can have whatever comes forth from it. Uther agrees. Nine months later, Merlin comes to take Arthur away. Uther gives chase, gets into an ambush and he thrusts Excalibur into stone.
Fast forward to see a young Arthur helping his father and his brother with a tournament. There are several disciplines and those who win get the right to try and free the sword from the stone. Turns out that Arthur forgot his brother's sword at their tent. When he realizes that it is stolen, he chases the thief, but comes across Excalibur instead. Guess what happens?
It mixes fantasy with reality which I like. The story basically focuses on the sword itself, from the day it was created until the day it was thrown back into the lake. I like the idea that the sword was not simply a sword, but had magical properties. More importantly, they are shown on screen. I also loved the green glow it had.
The story follows the chain of events rather closely. Arthur finds Excalibur, he gets followers, lays the foundations of Camelot, etc. They also show the story of Mordred and the quest of the Holy Grail. Of course, the love story between Guinevere and Lancelot is shown here as well.
I have to admit that Merlin was my favourite character here. he was so quirky and lovable. Usually they show him as an old man with a white beard who is wise. Here he's an ageless man with a small grey beard and a metal cap. A shiny metal cap. A person who talks about the Great Dragon, falls into rivers and is pretty funny. I thought he was pretty well cast for the job.
Which brings me to the actors themselves. You may, or may not recognise quite a few famous ones in their early days:
- Morgana Le Fay = Helen Mirren
- Gawain = Liam Neeson
- Leondegrance = Patrick Stewart
- Uther Pendragon = Gabriel Byrne
- Merlin = Nicol Williamson
Another thing I loved when I saw this movie were the costumes. They were not at least trying to be authentic. I admit I doubt that knights in the Middle Ages were wearing shining armours, but still. I liked the fact they used 'metal' armours, and not some modern-old concoction (aka First Knight).
I give this movie a 6/6. I've seen many adaptations of the Arthurian Legend and I love this one best. In fact I compare all other movies to this one. It's that good. yes, yes it is