excalibur

here is the trailer for a fairly obscure 1981 cinematic gem; John Boorman’s Excalibur. at the onset, it appears to be exactly like any other medieval period epic; lots of swordplay, blood, british accents, shiny armor, horses, long hair, and forests. collect a few of those elements and a mediocre budget, and you too can create your own period flick. but the interesting thing about this film is that it actually uses the myth of Excalibur to weave a tale rich in human emotion; desire, lust, greed, love, justice, and redemption. it utilizes the basic foundation of King Arthur and the round table knights, but successfully attempts to expose the many layers of humanity. the story follows Arthur from birth (as he was destined to be king), and chronicles his rise to ruler of the powerful realm of Camelot. along the way he meets his future wife, Guinevere, his right hand man, Lancelot, his mentor Merlin, and a slew of other characters that influence and impact his life and rule. and along the way (just like in real life) he is tested time and again; and that is where the beauty in Excalibur truly shines. the film has its fair share of battle, but it doesn’t stop there; it vividly depicts a relevant compassion that similar films of the same time period lack (think Conan), while exposing human frailty as it relates to the acquisition of power. he is not just the king of Camelot; he IS Camelot. and Camelot represents an honor and dignity that is, as you will see when you rent this movie, worth fighting for. now go get your popcorn and go get this film.

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9 comments

  1. gypsy

    wow! your review and the trailer make the movie seem exciting watch. i think i’ll rent the movie first, then get my popcorn!

    (we had to read the story of king arthur in high school and i couldn’t get through it cuz it was so boring. i mean, who cared????? i think i’ll give it another shot – not the book, but the movie.)

  2. Jazzy Participle

    Great synopsis of this timeless classic. This film may be like “a dream to some…and a nightmare to others!!” Still can’t get over how much Gabriel “Uther” Byrne has changed physically over the years. Talk about your Mark Hamill disease, add him to the list!! Keep up the good work Croussaint Pendragon.

    Toussaint Leondegrance

  3. snail

    I only remember certain scenes from this movie, so I can appreciate your interpretation. When you say “he is not just the king of Camelot; he IS Camelot,” what exactly does that mean? Is it similar to how Dorothy always had the power to go home in The Wizard of Oz, or am I taking that too far? Elaborate if you will.

  4. K'lee L.

    Great review, G. I’m actually a John Boorman fan and a fan of this film. ‘The Emerald Forest’ is another one of his that comes to mind. Definitely worth seeing.

    • wyco

      Right…The Emerald Forest is another classic. I’ve seen Excalibur about a thousand times, and there are some real truths that can be gleaned from that movie. It’s so much more than what it seems. It’s a very special gem.

      • K'lee L.

        We’re in the same boat with, ‘Excalibur’. There is something special and almost undefinable about it that keeps me wanting to see it again. My number one movie though is still ‘Ran’ from the great Akira Kurosawa. George Lucas even gave A.K. a shout out for ‘Ran’ inspiring ‘Star Wars’. I seem to catch something new each viewing.

      • wyco

        Excellent choice. Kurosawa was in a league of his own; able to convey so much in his own creative and visually descriptive way. Did you ever see Kobayashi’s ‘Harakiri’? Incredible film.

      • K'lee L.

        Ahh…No, ‘Harakiri’, that’s one I haven’t seen, but will hunt down on your recommendation! As for Kurosawa, yes, I agree he was singular in his visual style. I remember being in a state of shock the first time I watched ‘Ran’. Not ashamed to say I cried too… just an incredible experience… so powerful, the story, the bold colors, the pacing all drew me in and kept me riveted until the end…

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