Foretold by a Wizard
We’re almost a month shy of the 34th anniversary of the US release of John Boorman’s Excalibur and, oddly enough, I dreamt of this movie last night. It’s one of my favorites. Yes, I know there’s a lot wrong with it (not the least of which being its misogynistic narrative), but there are some truly great performances throughout, including Patrick Stewart, Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, and the always brilliant Helen Mirren (as Morganna) and Nicol Williamson as the definitive Merlin.
Boorman’s Excalibur was a spectacle of epic proportions and in all facets — sets, costumes, music, weaponry, armour — all of it was writ larger than life, the stuff of legends.
And, by the gods, it was everything I could have hoped for in a movie in 1981.
I guess one of the reasons the movie has been on my mind of late, hence last nights dream, is that it was one of Brent’s favorites too. He passed away five weeks ago today, and I regret not watching this one with him again.
This was a special film for us on several levels. See, in ’81, not only were we not of driving age yet, but, with the movie being Rated R, we needed adult supervision to get in to see it, and luckily for us, my dad was amicable. So, my pops, Brent, me, and our pal, Barry Bowyer set out for, I think, the Raintree Plaza (don’t hold me to that).
Barry had been 15 for several months, I had just turned, and Brent was a month shy. I’ll never forget the look on my dad’s face when Uther raped Igrayne in full plate armour. For teen age boys, this was some heady stuff, let me tell you.
But for all the sex and violence of the picture, there was some deeply moving spiritual moments as well, some things of such sublime beauty that one could not help but be captivated and intoxicated by the sheer majesty of it all.
Brent and I probably watched that film together more than a dozen times, first on the big screen on opening weekend and then through vhs, laser discs, and dvds.
Watching it now will never be quite the same, but I think I need to give it a run, for old times sake.