Merlin and the Book of Beasts (2009)

16% – Critics
16% – Audience

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Merlin and the Book of Beasts Movie Reviews

Don’t Bother

SCI-FI Channel continues to go down hill. They take good actors and make stuff I can’t make it all the way through without changing the channel. They kill decent shows like “Dresden Files” and deluge you with reality shows like “Ghost Hunters”. Maybe they should change their name to Reality-FI :). Don’t waste your time with this movie. The movie is slow paced with poor special effects. The story line is mediocre at best. None of the characters full develop. The move is a real bore with no substance or any real entertainment value. SCI-FI really need to rethink there approach to entertaining sci-fi fans. They have fallen off the mark and don’t seem to be able to get on track.

Wasn’t good enough

The Arthur legend has led to some great movies and stories. This retelling of the story doesn’t work. Not good mythology or good narrative. The script could have been pared down considerably. If Arthur is Celtic make the girl a red-head, not a Swedish blond. If Merlin is Welsh, he would have come from Noth Wales, not Swansea. What an accent. Merlin would have been more believable if he had used his beautiful spoken English. What are the Greek Gorgons doing in England, they belong in Greece. How did the sword get away from the Lady of the Lake? Try T.H. White’s Once and Future King or try Geoffrey of Monmouth for better versions of this story. There is enough material in the Arthur legend without the Greek improvements. The Disney cartoon based on White was a much better story than this version.

What was Merlin saying?

“Merlin and the Book of Beasts” was actually a surprise of a Sci-Fi Channel movie. It took me by surprise, but then again, I didn’t really have high expectations to it, given the previous works aired on this channel.

The story told in the movie is very easy to follow, and it sure had some interesting adventure and fantasy elements to it. However, I must say, there were moments in the movie where the plot was on thin ice. But overall, the story worked adequately enough for the movie.

What amazed me in “Merlin and the Book of Beasts” was the sets and the details they put into the sets, from the village to the castle of Camelot. And the costumes and outfit worn by the people in the movie was actually also good. Nothing flashy and shiny, so it had that medieval-feel to it. Thumbs up! I read some reviews where the effects were slandered. I, however, found the effects in the movie to be alright. Sure, they weren’t award-winning, but for a Sci-Fi Channel movie, then they were really good, because they are not known for their amazing CGI effects. The movie wasn’t loaded with CGI effects, but when they did use some they were actually alright.

One thing did puzzle me, why did they chose to put elements from the Greek mythology into the British mythology? That was sort of a weird mix. Now, I am not saying that the medusae were crappy or anything, just that they seemed a bit out of place in medieval Britain.

As for the cast, well I think that Patrick Sabongui (playing Tristan) was the most memorable of all. He did a good job. Laura Harris (playing Avlynn) also put on a good performance. And now on to the bad part of the cast, James Callis (playing Merlin), wow, why him? He was speaking with such a strange voice, and there were times I didn’t even understand what he said because of the low voice and the way he fumbled through the words. And sometimes he would speak with a Scottish accent, then other times he sounded Jamaican. What was up with that? Hand on heart, then this was the worst interpretation of Merlin I have had the pleasure of seeing. Callis’ appearance and outfit was good though, but the rest was not.

Given the benefit of the doubt, then Sci-Fi Channel made a good TV movie here, and if you like adventure / fantasy (or play Dungeons & Dragons like I do), then you might want to sit down and watch this movie. Forget all about Sci-Fi Channel’s reputation and be willing to look past James Callis’ performance, then you are in for an adequate adventure movie.