No, I’ve never read the book. No idea why. Just never could get into it, which is sort of sad, you know, being a feminist SF/F writer who’s never read it.
But I did manage to sit through the 3-hour miniseries, which I’d heard was really awful, so I wasn’t expecting much.
All right, no, it’s not a perfect movie. By any stretch. It’s of the same calibur as any other just-more-than-B-budget SF/F movie. There’s some cheesy lines and awkward pacing and a lot of plot holes and I think that over the years Angelica Houston has just started playing One Character (an interesting character, sure, but still just one character). And yes, the slow-mo INCEST and continual INCEST flashbacks (INCEST… Did you know there was INCEST??) get really annoying and creepy. But.
But when you actually sit down and watch a movie where everybody sitting around and talking is a woman, all the major characters are women, and all the people running the plot are women… it’s one of those eye-opening experiences where you realize, once again, “Oh, hey, yeah, women don’t actually *do* much in other movies, do they?”
Some people have issue with the whole “evil women” thing. Yes, there are some evil women in the show, and it’s said that all the evil is cause of the women’s own damn fault, but honestly, I’d rather these women were actors than passive victims, you know?
I was also really happy with the take on the whole Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot triangle (why wasn’t there more THREESOME slow-mo flashbacks? Mmmmmm THREESOME flashbacks. Sorry, where was I?). I’ve always like the idea that Arthur knew what was going on and was totally for it cause he loved them both.
I always thought that idea was pretty hot.
Sadly, like any other just-above-B-grade movie, there’s a lot of cheese. I’ll say that whoever played Morgaine fucking rocked. Arthur was OK and Lancelot was hot but in a boring way, and Guinevere was kind of sappy, but Mordred was cool, if slightly over the top.
I mean, you give this thing a better screenplay, switch out a couple of the actors, move the Merlin character to an even smaller bit part, and cut out all the slow-mo INCEST (and add in more slow-mo THREESOME sex! Umm… sorry) and it might have been about four times more entertaining.
As it was, some of the evil women were a bit one note, I would have liked less of the guys all together (I felt like they were trying to add more of them than the story actually needed in order to draw in a larger audience; could be wrong, but that’s what it felt like), a mother Goddess figure who wasn’t so much just one-note hippie-incest and a hotter lifemate for Morgaine, who rocked.
Did I mention that Morgaine rocked?