Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lock Me Up!: Merlin & The War of the Dragons

Welcome to a double-dose of Dragon dung.  Today's film is Merlin (&) The War of the Dragons, brought to you by The Asylum.  I've already covered Dragon (aka The Asylum's Eragon), so this one was long overdue.  Released in conjunction with the Merlin show, this film preports to tell the earliest exploits of the world's third most-famous Wizard (behind Gandalf and the '80s film The Wizard).  How is it?  It's an Asylum film- you figure it out!  To date, the most feasibly-assembled film of theirs has been Ballistica, which they actually just bought and re-titled.  They can make films that are funny- for less-than-intended reasons- but they are usually still not good.  This one is no exception, of course.  Does it do the source material- which is admittedly somewhat-false already- justice?  Can this be as good as the time that MacGuyver met Merlin?  To find out, read on...
Nice of you to throw some 'historical authenticity' in here, guys.  Any Nerds greater than I want to check that date and see how it holds up?
The crux of the plot involves Merlin and another young man learning magic from a vaguely-Russian guy- Jurgen Prochnow. You're supposed to be Romans, aren't you?  Bonus points for just calling him 'The Mage.'
As if life wasn't hard enough in those days- see Terry Jones' Medieval Lives-, Dragons and evil raiders attack the land.  I just paid off my filthy, mud shack too!!!
While Merlin's buddy is off being evil and such, Merlin must decipher the secrets of The Mage's magic book.  Did I mention that he's dead?  Well, he is.

The whole point of this sub-plot is to keep Merlin busy and push the 'which magical Maiden is evil' story.  Guess how important that is?
Merlin emerges from faux-Limbo and helps out his people against the raiders, their dragon army and his old friend.  Merlin's secret plan- turn their soldiers into Dragons too!
While the others fight, it all comes down to Merlin and his friend.  Which Wizard will win?
I guess there are some Dragons fighting too.  If you've seen any Asylum film, you'll know that this is pretty ho-hum when they do it.  Joy.
Merlin seems like he's going to use, especially since his former-friend has stock lightning effects at his disposal!  Damn Sith!

Merlin wins- I shit you not- by tricking the other Wizard into picking up Excalibur, which deems him not worthy and kills him.  Lame.  Grow up and start being cool already.  The End.
It's a kind of magic- a lame one!  What can I say about this movie?  The plot is pretty lackluster, the acting is not all that great and the overall feel is the usual form of 'Asylum cheap.'  They're so cheap that even they make fun of how stock their Opening Credits Sequences get!  It's not funny if you're still hacks!  I feel weird saying that this tale of Merlin the Wizard is not historically-accurate, but it doesn't feel right.  In this one, Merlin learns magic from 'Qui-Gon.'  He removes Excalibur and has many scenes with the TWO Ladies of the Lake.  I should also mention that he's the bastard child of a Demon and a Woman too!  Yeah, that's a plot point!  While this plot thread is apparently accurate (to the lore, mind you), it adds nothing, save for some filler bits, and manages to just waste time.  All it really does is set up one guy to say that he's evil, try to use Excalibur and get killed by it.  This silly Plot Point only serves to set-up an equally-silly Chekhov's Gun!  Here's another one for you: the Scabard for Excalibur makes you immune to long falls or most damage.  It's not totally clear whether this is made-up or not, but it sure feels goofy here.  Merlin falls off of a Dragon, sees that he's unharmed and Narration explains why he's alive.  Joy.  As a whole, the film has some good moments, but really just feels like one of those silly, stupid Asylum films.  Hell, even in this dramatic close-up, all I can focus on are the Actor's crooked front teeth!
Next up, the second part of The Asylum's Dragon Double-Feature.  If you like deceptive titling, familiar faces and a goofy plot, you're in luck!

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