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The Mists of Avalon (2001)

Science Fiction & Fantasy and Television movie directed by Uli Edel

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On its Own --- Okay

  • Sep 8, 2004
  • by
If I hadn't read Marion Zimmer Bradely's "Mists of Avalon" upon which this mini-series was based, I sincerely would have liked this 4 hour presentation. But having read and thoroughly enjoyed the novel, I can only say that there is no way that 4 hours could have every successfully relayed all the nuance of Ms Bradley's genius. If you have read the book, you will find the film lacking even though many of the actors do a fine job. Julianna Margulies portrays Morgaine adequately, while Joan Allen as Morgause does a superb job although at times can be a tad bit too sinister---due again to the compact format of the film version which does not give her enough dialogue to be sinister and subtle at the same time. Angelica Houston, as Viviane, the lady of the lake, I believe was miscast---she conveys power, but none of the softness and reluctance that Zimmer Bradley's north country girl displayed in the novel. Caroline Goodal's performance is perfect as the aging Ygraine, but her younger portrayal lacks the spark and with of the Ygraine depicted in the story. Alas so many of the novel's most wonderful characters are omitted for the sake of brevity---what a loss! What a truely vibrant panaroma of personalities this film could have depicted.
Bottom line: this film is the novel in its weakest most diluted format. The actors don't have enough material to give fully fleshed out and nuanced performances worthy of the characters developed in the novel. Nevertheless, it is a good story which hints at the changing of the guard as Britain relied first on paganism and then increasingly on Christianity. too bad it could not have been 10 hours or more.

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More The Mists of Avalon (2001) reviews
review by . September 23, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
The Mists of Avalon is based on Arthurian legends and a novel by Marion Zimmer Bradely. I generally like Marion Zimmer Bradely's books, so I thought a movie based on a book of hers would be enjoyable. Now I wish I'd spent the time reading the book instead of watching the movie.      While watching the movie, I was left with the impression of grief, jealousy, and basically a lot of hurting people. Those who were manipulated (oh, poor victim me! pity me!) go through the …
review by . December 11, 2001
This is a great movie and an awesome story. The acting of Julianna Marguiles is absolutely wonderful. The character portrayal was magnificent and each actor delivered a great performance. The story told by the woman's (Morgaine) side mekes the story magical and enchanting. The romance, the war, the secrets are all present in this movie. It is one of the best movies I have ever seen.
About the reviewer
Diana Faillace Von Behren ()
I like just about anything. My curiosity tends to be insatiable--I love the "finding out" and the "ah-ha" moments.      Usually I review a book or film with the … more
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About this movie


This adaptation of Marion Zimmer Bradley's sprawling and perennially popular book, whose retelling of the Arthurian legends focused on the role of powerful females, compresses a wealth of mysticism, family intrigue, and bloody swordplay into three hours. While the plot can meander slowly and can sometimes seem, well, mystifying, the work of three notable actresses holds the production together, and the numerous complications do eventually get resolved. As Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, Anjelica Huston endeavors to perpetuate the old religion as pagan Britain comes into contact with Christianity. The scheming Morgause, played to evil perfection by Joan Allen, conspires to her own ends. And Avalon priestess Morgaine, played by Julianna Margulies, travels the heroine's journey, overcoming tragedies, injustice, and all manner of obstacles in her duty to both "the goddess" and her younger brother, King Arthur. Although the action lags at times, the production is quite lavish for a made-for-television feature and the film is ultimately entertaining.--Robert J. McNamara
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Director: Uli Edel
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2001
Runtime: 183 minutes
Studio: Turner Home Ent
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