Arthur & Merlin full movie review - Nice addition to the genre
The story of King Arthur has been told many times, beginning as early as 1904 ("Parsifal").
Usually they focus on the adventures with his knights - "Knights of the Round Table (1953), "King Arthur" (2004), "The Last Legion" (2007) ? or the romance ? "Lancelot and Guinevere" (1963), "Camelot" (1967). Occasionally there is a focus on Merlin ? "Excalibur" (1981), "Mists of Avalon" (2001), "Merlin's Apprentice" (2006).
FWIW ? my favorite is "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975), but putting that one aside as an exception, I enjoyed "Excalibur" the best.
King Arthur has been played by Mel Ferrar (1953), Brian Aherne (1963), Richard Harris (1967), Graham Champam (1975), Nigel Terry (1981), Malcolm McDowell (1985), Sean Connery (1995), Edward Fox (1997), and Clive Owen (1997)
Merlin has been played by Nicol Williamson (1981), Edward Woodward (1985), Michael Byrne (2001), and Ben Kingsley (2007). My clear favorite here is Nicol Williamson.
The film Arthur and Merlin is a fanciful imagination of how Arthur and Merlin came to meet. It strays considerably from the traditional legend, but there is little fact to base the legend on, so why not this story?
The film is a low budget British production, and some people may find it hard to understand some of the dialogue. The actors are relatively unknown to U.S. audiences with the possible exception of David Sterne who plays the King prior to Arthur.
Locations were good and the costumes were excellent. The atmosphere of Medieval England is well done here, probably as a result of the low budget.
The writer-director is Marco van Belle and this is his first full length film. He does a capable job for a first outing, and some of the plodding might have been avoided with a little more experience. Yet with no cgi and very few special effects, and without showing a breast or using a dwarf, he manages to sustain interest.
FWIW ? This looks like the show was intended as the pilot to a series, and many of the segues are TV style.
Bottom line ? a nice addition to the story of Arthur and Merlin.