Excalibur – Blu-Ray Review

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Excalibur

4.5

The legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table heads to Blu-ray in the classic film Excalibur.  The enchanting film has been released in high definition to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film and gets right to the point with a beautiful presentation in glorious 1080p and minimal extras.

The beloved fantasy film is based on Sir Thomas Mallory’s classic Le Morte D’Arthur, one of the first books ever printed. All the elements from the book are featured in the film: Arthur (Nigel Terry) removing the sword Excalibur from the stone; the Round Table’s noble birth and tragic decline; the heroic attempts to recover the Holy Grail; and the shifting balance of power between wily wizard Merlin (Nicol Williamson) and evil sorceress Morgana (Helen Mirren). It also features Patrick Stewart, Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson in notable early screen roles.

It’s really a classic epic battle of good versus evil in every sense – and there’s nothing wrong with a pile of armour, horses and swords throughout. Director John Boorman, who’s known for recent works such as Tailor of Panama, Deliverance and Hope and Glory, provides one of the best presentations of the classic tale to ever take to the screen and the countless cult following will grow even more with the addition of the Blu-ray.

The only time I’ve ever seen Excalibur was on a small 19” television during a late night broadcast, so the stunning quality of the Blu-ray presented the film in a totally new light. It should be noted that Terry plays a strong and noble king and the supporting cast is exciting to see, especially Neeson and Stewart.

For multimedia lovers, you can watch it on Digital Cable, Satellite TV, and IPTV and it can also be purchased for permanent download or rented on iTunes, Cineplex.com, and Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game consoles. However, nothing can beat the full Blu-ray.

The only downfall to this collection is the lack of extras on the disc. It features the original trailer and a commentary track from Boorman. It might have been nice to see a short documentary on the legend or even the book.