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Merlin and the War of the Dragons

Merlin and the War of the Dragons (2008)

November. 25,2008
| Adventure Fantasy Action

In 5th Century Britian, a young Merlin struggles for his place in his known land under the tutelage of The Mage, a local wizard whom sees the young man's potential for magic, as well as face off against his evil former friend, Vendiger, whom plots with a feudal warlord king to conquer all of Britian using an army of flying dragons, and only Merlin with the alliance of the local Prince Uther and Ingraine and a pair of mystical goddesses, can have the power to stop the evil from taking over the land.


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It is a performances centric movie


Best movie of this year hands down!


A lot more amusing than I thought it would be.


Simple and well acted, it has tension enough to knot the stomach.


The year is 420 AD. The Romans are gone from Britain and the locals have been left to the ravages of the Saxons and fire breathing dragons. A young Merlin must over come various threats and challenges to help Uther defeat the Saxons. Swords, ladies of the lake, ruined castles, peasants in coarse home spun garments. You get the picture. I thought the movie tried, but there were the obvious things like non- bloody swords, remarkable clean clothes and the tiniest British army in history that have been pointed out by other reviewers.My biggest problem and the biggest unintentional laugh that I got occurred when the Mage is being attacked by the evil Verdiger. Watch the background carefully after the Mage has been shot with a crossbow bolt and is confronted by Verdiger. In that background is a lovely little cannon! Let me repeat the year is supposed to be 420 AD. I'm pretty sure the Brits wouldn't get their hands on cannons for another 800 or 900 years. I felt a little sorry for Jurgen Prochnow, but maybe he needed the money. Four stars


I really don't understand what people see in this production, my wife watches it religiously, and I have seen several episodes, but never at any point have I reached the point where my disbelief is suspended.How can anyone reconcile this low budget, poorly written, show with the Legend of Arthur, nothing is big enough, nobody is heroic enough.I can't lose the feeling that I'm watching inexperienced actors trying to fill boots way bigger than they are.I love the Arthurian legends, I've read Mallory and many others since, but this is like watching a college production, just doesn't do it justice in my opinion.I do understand that it's a low budget production, but surely that allows for a little bit of more impressive scenery? the closed shots suggest it's filmed in some council estate woods, open up show us some of the awe of the Welsh mountains and forests.


Clearly inspired by Shine's TV show Merlin (there's even an opening voice-over by a John Hurt sound-alike) which has become the first British series to be sold to one of the major American networks for several years, Merlin and the War of the Dragons (retitled Merlin and the War of the Dragon Empire on it's Region 2 release) is one of the better efforts from shameless rip-off merchants The Asylum. Fittingly, apart from the American financing this is very much a British film - it was shot entirely on location in Wales in just two weeks, with a cast of almost entirely Welsh and English actors. In fact, the only non-British thespian involved is legendary German character actor Jurgen Prochnow (always welcome), playing the mage who is the young Merlin's mentor and surrogate father.The script throws in various elements from the Arthurian myths: Merlin's first meeting with Uther Pendragon and Ingraine, who will become Arthur's parents; Uther's ascent to the throne; and not one, but two Ladies of the Lake – Nimue and her sister Vivianne. Excalibur also makes an appearance, but despite everyone treating the sword as though it's of major importance, within the story of this film it's just a MacGuffin. And some body-painted Pict warriors turn up in one scene, for no apparent reason other than the producers having clearly seen King Arthur (2004). There's also one key aspect of the Arthurian legends that the Shine series has (so far) ignored, but which this movie openly embraces – the notion that Merlin is the Devil's son.Merlin and the War of the Dragons was made with a budget that wouldn't pay for the catering on an average Hollywood production, but it's still a good-looking film, provided you realistically lower your expectations. The Welsh landscapes give the movie an atmosphere of both gritty realism and majestic mysticism, with constantly overcast and forbidding-looking skies. The CGI dragons are actually very impressive when seen in the air, although less so when they land and we get a better look at them. And unfortunately, when Uther gives his soldiers a blatant copied-from-Braveheart battlefield speech, despite the clever camera angles used by the director there's no hiding the fact that Uther's mighty army consists of just over a dozen men.But despite these limitations, this is still a highly watchable film. Prochnow is his usual reliable self, while the rest of the cast – a collection of newcomers and unknowns – don't disgrace themselves, and give solid performances. Special mention must go to Nia Ann and Carys Eleri who play Nimue and Vivianne respectively, and succeed in giving the characters an unsettling, otherworldly quality. The sight of Nimue tending to a wounded and unconscious Merlin by trickling blood from her mouth into his is genuinely unnerving.The last scene of the film raises the possibility of a sequel. Provided the same quality can be maintained, that's a very welcome prospect.


I hope this films budget was so low they could not even pay their actors. There is absolutely nothing good with this film. The actors cannot act and most of them seriously needs some tweezing. The "special" effects are outdated. The plot is more predictable then an episode of Murder she wrote. This film could have been entertaining if the people making it at least would know they were producing something so bad it dos not even warrant a straight-to-DVD release. But doing slow motion fight scenes to hide the lack of choreography and blurring the screen when the dragons are shown to hide your lack of a special effects budget is just really pathetic. If you want to watch a decent Merlin film, get the mini-series from 1998. Not only has it a better plot and actors, but it seems that special effects were better 10 years ago.If they make this into a trilogy I will resign from mankind and go live with the two horrible, but kind of cute, Lady of the lake actors in their cave.