My wife is watching Dexter on Netflix.
Which is really good, by the by, but has tied up my queue so I can’t watch important things, like the next season of Dr. Who.
I likes me some videos to watch when I travel, so off to the local Family Video I go to peruse the “Two for a dollar!” selection.
As you can imagine, there are a few stinkers. But when I came across “M” and saw there were not one, or two but THREE films that started with “Merlin”, I knew I must watch them all.
And tell you about it.
Grabs some popcorn, butter that bad boy up and settle in because it’s time for the Three Merlins!
MERLIN NUMBER ONE:
“Merlin and The Book of Beasts”
The most recent of the triumvirate, MatBoB is about Battlestar Galactic. Wait, no, it just has the James Callis who played Dr. Gauis Baltar in the star role of Merlin. His voice… wow. It’s not so much his accent (he is, after all, British) but he went for a magical Charles Manson as the template for his deliveries. It train wrecks every line he delivers, save the ones where he forgets to do it, which is pretty frequent.
The plot centers around a super-secret daughter of Arthur and how her half-brother, “The Arkadian”, wants to make Pendragon babies with his sibling. Yeah, I was creped out too. The title derives from a book he uses to control monsters, including carnivorous, decapitating butterflies. Can’t make this up, people.
On a final note, this film shows what happens when you only have about six real cast members. Most of it just feels… empty. You had a budget, darn it, add a few more extras!
MERLIN NUMBER TWO:
Next on our half-demon countdown is “Merlin’s Apprentice”, a television mini-series split up into two segments. Sam Neil (you know, from EVERYTHING?) is a decent Merlin, but watching him chew through the wacke- out lines is difficult at best. He takes on an apprentice (his son, it turns out, who was made while the Lady of the Lake made sleepy-nookie with him), Jack, who of course must save what’s left of Camelot.
I’ll give it one thing. It’s got plot points. Good luck keeping up with them. That woman is the grandson of-oh and by the way he’s really a girl –and the new ruler may be bad or not – and… whatever.
Evil Lake Lady (Miranda Richardson) looks embarrassed to be dressed so, like watching your mom put on her prom dress.
Stuff happens. Magic in this movie is pretty much “The Force”. And the Holy Grail makes for great Deus Ex Machina, except Indiana Jones did it better in “The Last Crusade”.
And a pig talks for, and I’m not kidding here, NO reason.
MERLIN NUMBER THREE
“Merlin and the War of the Dragon”
Merlin’s a twenty-something and he needs to stop his former classmate from doing bad things with dragons.
I don’t know how that pitch went down, but I guess someone green lighted it, because we’ve got badly animated dragons!
One thing you’ll be sure to know by the end of this film, “GODS HAVE LITTLE IN COMMON WITH MEN”. Seriously, they say it like, twenty times.
And when casting, uh, just a note, don’t make Merlin and his former best friend look almost identical. Call me crazy, but, I dunno, make one a red head or something? First fifteen minutes of the film I had trouble telling them apart, especially when they were dressed in burlap medieval standard #3 (available from Nordstrom’s).
Despite its many problems (try not to grin at the many car tracks on the hillside of the epic dragon battle) I actually liked this one most of the three. The acting is solid and if nothing else, you can tell they used real Brits because they are pale. I’m talking “put Edward Cullen to shame” pale.
So there you have it, gentle men and kind ladies. THE THREE MERLINS!
I’ve watched them so you don’t have to. Oh, and all the films had someone saying “Veritas” to a book. Apparently we all want truth in literature.…