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"Excalibur" {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date:
Special Features:

Commentary track by director John Boorman, theatrical trailer Rated: R (nudity, violence)


"Excalibur" remains a fun, campy, tongue-in-cheek and exciting retelling of the Arthur legend. John Boorman might not have been the first person to spring to mind when thinking about retelling the story of King Arthur, Excalibur and Merlin. After all this is the director who gave us "Point Blank" and "Deliverance". On the other hand, he also gave us "Zardoz" which shares many of the same qualities as "Excalibur" but with a bigger budget and without Sean Connery running around with a gun in a big red diaper. ***

Boorman's film takes Thomas Mallory's presentation of the Arthurian legend and makes it an entertaining almost operatic film. ---

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray transfer looks quite nice. I wouldn't call this a demo quality Blu-ray but it is a big upgrade over the previous DVD version (which came out around the time that DVDs were first introduced). The colors postively pop compared to the previous DVD but keep in mind that image quality is quite soft for a lot of the film and that was quite intentional and the way the film was shot. Detail is still a large improvement over the DVD (particularly noticeable on larger screen monitors). It appears to be the same transfer that was used for the HD-DVD released a couple of years back. The film looks quite grainy in some scenes more than others. ***

Audio sounds quite nice although most of the activity is located in the front speakers. ---

Special Features:

The big complaint is that we don't get any new extras for the film. The original extras such as John Boormann's commentary track appears here along with the theatrical trailer but we don't get anything else. It would have been nice to get an updated featurettes with some of the actors that first appeared in this film such as Patrick Stewart ("Star Trek: The Next Generation"), Helen Mirren, Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson and, of course, the scenery chewing Nicol Williamson who makes Merlin a heck of a lot of fun in this big screen version of the Arthurian legend adapted from Thomas Malory's work.

Final Words:

There is a remake in the works so perhaps we'll see a deluxe version then but in the meantime we'll have to make due with this version which fans of the film will enjoy.


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