Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Merlin (1998)



Reviews and Comments

On the heels of the successful television venture The Odyssey is this less solid adaptation of the life of Merlin. Sam Neill is a good choice in the title role, Helena Bonham Carter is fine in the Morgan de Fey role, and Isabella Rossellini is good even though her character, Nimue, is hopelessly watered down from that of the original legend (the movie's conclusion, for instance, is a groaner). Other members of this all-star cast, including Rutger Hauer and Miranda Richardson, are less than satisfying.

The film is littered throughout with special effects, mostly gratuitous, often distracting. Unlike the story-propelling purpose the special effects of The Odyssey had, here most of them are to show off fancy CGI tricks. It's too bad they take up so much screen time, too, because the second half of the movie is too rushed to portray the development of the characters properly.

Even so, it's engaging to see the full life of Merlin done reasonable justice in a movie. Amidst the jumble of self-serving special effects, there are moments of genuine creativity. Its many flaws aside, I enjoyed the production on a strict entertainment level.

Series Entries