'Merlin and the Book of Beasts'
(Laura Harris, James Callis, et al / DVD / NR / 2009 / Anchor Bay)
Overview: The age of knights was one of chivalry and honor, of magic and mystery, of passion and betrayal. And now that age has passed - perhaps forever. What remains is a shadowy world of fear and terror. Laura Harris (“Dead Like Me,” “24”) co-stars in this head-spinning epic adventure that puts a savage new spin on the saga of Excalibur, Mordred, and the ultimate battle between Merlin and the Book of Beasts.
DVD Verdict: As I think we all knew even before we sat down and began to watch this CGI-heavy production, 'Merlin and the Book of Beasts' was always going to be nothing more than your typical made-for-TV fantasy movie.
And sure there's the inclusive homicidal CGI insects, the Medusa twins, the Book of Beasts itself, and a whole other assortment of CGI-created wonders, but I'm also sad to say that the magic of the movies is severely lacking here.
This SyFy Channel fantasy adventure, underdone by way too many halfhearted visuals, a plethora of dull, boring characters, and a run-of-the-mill bad guy / evil doer, complete with a storyline driven by one inexplicable plot device after another, is nothing more than a group of performances that make this flick highly dispensable!
James Callis (of the brilliant BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) portrays the now-bitter and broken wizard Merlin, but his voice is so, well, ludicrously gruff that he seems to be barking his lines to each and everyone that comes near him! And, aside from Merlin, there's Mordred, an ill-tempered prat (the aforememntioned typical bad guy), of course, Avlynn, Arthur's daughter and the heir to the kingdom (the one who wades into a lake to retrieve Excalibur, and then the Medusa twins, Mordred's evil hench-ladies! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of: