ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – E – Excalibur (1981) Movie Rob’s Pick


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“STAND BACK! Be silent! Be still!… That’s it… and look upon this moment. Savor it! Rejoice with great gladness! Great gladness! Remember it always, for you are joined by it. You are One, under the stars. Remember it well, then… this night, this great victory. So that in the years ahead, you can say, ‘I was there that night, with Arthur, the King!’ For it is the doom of men that they forget.” – Merlin

Number of Times Seen – 1 (4 Feb 2021)

Brief Synopsis – The wizard Merlin helps find a way for a savior and king to come to Britain and unite the Kingdom.

My Take on it – This is a film that I’ve heard much about over the years, but never had the opportunity to see what it was all about.

When I saw that Darren’s choice this month was Oscar movies, I search through films that have been nominated for Best Cinematography and came across this one, so I decided to give it a shot.

This is a film that looks amazing from a production perspective but the story and plot are shown in such a messy way which unfortunately makes it harder to find things enjoyable to watch unfold.

They try far too hard for this film to seem like it’s an epic, but they forget that without well formed or interesting characters, it’s much more difficult to care about things more.

The added fact that this film has so many characters makes it even harder to keep track of everyone along the way.

John Boorman is a great director and this film is further proof of that because it is clear to see how much of a labor of love this story seems to be.

Unfortunately, that isn’t enough because thing come across as being far too choppy in the presentation of the story.

They have a great cast here especially when One is able to find so many undiscovered actors in small yet important parts like Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne and Helen Mirren.

I can completely understand how this film could have gotten a nomination for Best Cinematography due to the lush landscapes and dense forests that are created for this film.

The set design, costumes and other technical aspects of the film makes it even easier to transport the viewer to a long forgotten place and time.

The battle scenes are choreographed well.

The problem is the plot and dialogue which leave far too much to be desired here.

Bottom Line – Really messy film that doesn’t manage to be more interesting. The film tries too hard to be epic and forgets to develop any of the characters which is problematic especially given the fact that there are so many characters to keep track of. It can be seen that this was a labor of love for John Boorman, but the story is a bit too choppy in the way that it is told.  The cast is superb with so many future familiar actors having integral, yet smallish parts. The film looks very epic in so many aspects including cinematography, set design, costumes and the way that things are shown, but the messy plot ruins things too much which is quite a shame.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Dame Helen Mirren and Nicol Williamson were initially reluctant to work with each other. They’d been in a disastrous production of “Macbeth”, and were not on speaking terms. Writer, producer, and director John Boorman cast them because their natural animosity would be perfect. According to Mirren, she and Williamson “wound up becoming very good friends” during filming. (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (4/10)

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