Women take over Camelot in this feminist retelling of the Arthurian legend, based on the 1982 best-selling book by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This four hour TNT original miniseries transforms the traditional King Arthur tale, offering a female perspective through the matriarchal goddess cult of Avalon: a sect of priestesses upholding ancient pagan traditions of Celtic England against the rising tide of Christianity. In the traditional myth, Arthur is a Christian king advised by his faithful wizard Merlin, who unites England in the battle against the Saxons. In this version, Arthur (Edward Atterton) is a pagan king nurtured by enchanting sorceresses. They are played by a stellar cast: Anjelica Huston as Viviane, Avalon’s high-priestess and keeper of its flame; Julianna Margulies as her heir-apparent Morgaine (Arthur’s half-sister); and Joan Allen as Morgause, a conniving opportunist who’ll stop at nothing for a chance to rule the roost. Bubble, bubble, they toil and tame trouble. Every ounce of magical prowess is called to task when Arthur’s Christian wife Gwynhefar (Samantha Mathis) leads him astray from the enlightened way of the goddesses. Soon they're in the midst of serious blood and guts warfare against those barbaric Saxon hordes. It's all shot on location (but mostly soundstages) in Prague but even the brilliant cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond can’t transform this locale into medieval Britain. Elaborate and tacky sets call to mind the papier-mache Stonehenge set in THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984); perhaps welcome distraction in a mostly monolithic production. There’s certainly an argument for unearthing stories of women in history and myth, but this batch of hocus-pocus doesn’t add much magic to the Camelot legend.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: NR
- Review: Women take over Camelot in this feminist retelling of the Arthurian legend, based on the 1982 best-selling book by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This four hour TNT original miniseries transforms the traditional King Arthur tale, offering a female perspective thro… (more)