Book vs. TV Show: Cursed

Hello, my darling readers!
It took me a hot minute to finally get started with Cursed after it was the talk of the town last year. Well, after I read The Guinenevere Deception I had an Arthurian myth shaped hole in my heart. Cursed seemed like the perfect choice to fill it. But was it, though?

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade. 

Book vs. Movie:

Normally, I try to sit down and write my posts in a timely manner after watching the movie/TV show and/or reading the book. However, I just really didn’t know what to do with Cursed. It took me forever and 15 days to finally sit down to write this, but here we are!

Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with either the book or the Netflix adaptation. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The novel first. This was a weird read and I think I know why. Tom Wheeler, the author, usually writes for TV and film. That shows! Several times throughout the book and especially during the final chapters this felt like a weird in-between of a novel and a script. Neither here nor there. Oftentimes, descriptions or scenes in the chapters were not fleshed out enough and seemed shallow and pale. Something was missing.

On top of that, most of the characters were downright annoying and I just kept rolling my eyes. I wouldn’t want to be lead by any of them, especially not Nimue who at times seemed as dense as a brick. Merlin is always drunk and disgusting, and somewhat of a deadbeat. Then we have Uther who is a petulant stupid child. I just wanted to smack him straight across his face. You can see, none of this bodes well for the novel.

I was really looking forward to Frank Miller’s art. He provided illustrations for the book but even those were mostly irritating. All in all, things were hard to decipher in his drawings, and every single time I was confused about who he’s actually depicting. I could swear the same character looked rather different in each picture.

Long story short, I was very annoyed with the book. I could see a lot of potential but the execution was flawed. However, since the author is a TV writer and many of the chapters felt script-adjacent, I hoped that the adaptation would be better.

Alas, I was wrong. I mean, the show wasn’t awful but I certainly wouldn’t watch it a second time. The weird thing is, all the moments from the novel that I expected to work well on-screen were altered in some way shape, or form – and not for the better. The way the show depicts some stuff (eg. Arthur and Gawain interacting, or Nimue and Arthur *ahem* flirting) felt extremely cringy. If they had to change things, why not make it better???

As much as I love seeing Gustaf Skarsgard again after Vikings, I was irritated that he got cast as Merlin. The wizard is supposed to be old. And the way I understood it in the novel, he also looks old (and somewhat disgusting). So, Skarsgard strayed really far from how I had imagined Merlin and from how he was described in the novel. Furthermore, we get many fay-folk characters. While the make-up department tried really hard to make those look dope, it just didn’t work for me. I can’t put my finger on what exactly it was that seemed off, but what we got just wasn’t it.

I did enjoy the change of plot when it comes to Pym. No spoilers, but at least there was an attempt to provide more depth. That being said, it wasn’t fully successful and I was kind of mad at the end of that particular storyline. The same goes for Iris and Morgana!
Finally, I was almost ready to throw a fit after the first episode when I saw the CGI. There is a scene where Nimue fights off some wolves and boy, this is bad. This is among the top 5 of the worst CGI effects I have ever seen. Thankfully, things look a bit better during the rest of the season, but still, that almost was enough to make me want to quit.

As you can see, there are many things I have to complain about both for the novel and the adaptation. There are so many other shows and books out there inspired by Arthurian mythology, so let’s just focus on those and forget about Cursed. So much potential but all of it squandered.

Did you prefer the book or the show? Let me know in the comments!

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The Sword in the Stone

Hey guys!
Today I bring you one of my all-time favorite Disney movies. After reading The Guinevere Deception a while ago, I was in the mood for some more Arthurian stuff. My go-to movie on that front is The Sword in the Stone!

The Plot (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):

Another of the fantastic animated creations from the Disney studios, this is the animated version of The Once and Future King, a T. H. White story. This is the story of King Arthur in childhood as he is being instructed by the magician Merlin and his owl, Archimedes. Although it doesn’t stick to the original story and something of the quality of myth is lost, the animation is superior and the tale intriguing and amusing. A delight for the whole family.

The Rating:

I may be a little biased as this is a movie I watched as a kid and loved it so much then.

Well, even after years, this film still holds up. Although it’s not the best Disney flick out there it is so much fun to watch and just all around enjoyable. Also, it features one of my all-time favorite Disney characters!

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Merlin: Season 5

Hey guys!
This is white we finally reached the end of the line with Merlin. I finished binging the fifth and final season, so let’s dive right in and let’s get talking!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

The fifth series of “Merlin” finds King Arthur (Bradley James) reveling in the success of his kingdom. But even as he and his trusted servant Merlin (Colin Morgan) prepare for a golden age of prosperity, destruction brews behind the scenes as the sorceress Morgana (Katie McGrath) plots to plunge Camelot into darkness.

The Rating:

Oh boy, what a finale! I am very happy with how the last season turned out. We have quite a few things to dicuss here, anything that could be considered a spoiler will be below the *read more* button.

But before I get into the details, I think we can all agree that with this, Colin Morgan once more underlined what a brilliant actor he is. This season contained so many scenes that were full of emotion and he nailed every single one of them. Eventhough we still get the usual bickering between Merlin and Arthur, they did a good job incorporating serious moments as well, allowing the actors to show more range. I can tell you, they certainly didn’t disappoint.

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Merlin: Season 4 – A Review

Hey guys!
I’m almost finished with Merlin, so without further ado let’s get right down to it and talk a bit about the penultimate season. I’ve had a few minor ups and downs with the show so far, but now it seems to have found it’s groove. Can they keep it up with season 4?

The Plot (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):

When the action begins in season four, a year has passed and Arthur (Bradley James) is acting king while Uther (Anthony Head) remains in a state of depression. Morgana (Katie McGrath) aims to settle a score by summoning Callieach (Gemma Jones) to rip apart the fabric between the worlds of the living and dead, unleashing creatures that kill anyone whom they touch. Merlin (Colin Morgan) suspects someone close to Arthur is a traitor, and when he uses his alter-ego to show that magic is not a force of evil his plan backfires. Arthur takes the next step toward marriage with Gwen (Angel Coulby) but doubts her sincerity when he sees her kissing a revived Lancelot (Santiago Cabrera).

The Rating:

This was brilliant! I wasn’t too sure what to expect going into this season, but the last one was pretty good, so I had my hope up. Well, they fully delivered and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the final season now holds in store for us.
I will be discussing some things that include spoilers, so click read more at your own risk. 😉

What I can say without giving anything away is that the acting is great in this one. It made me feel all the feels and it seemed they finally found a balance between funny bickering scenes and emotionally intense ones. Although I doesn’t seem like they changed much, the show doesn’t feel as underbudgeted anymore. In my previous reviews I mentioned that it appears to suffer from a serious case of not enough money, leaving us with some costumes, props, special effects that felt cheap. Either I got used to it by now or they simply did a much better job.

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Merlin: Season 3 – A Review

Hello, y’all!
I’m slowly making my way through all the season of Merlin and just finished the third one. So, without further ado, let’s get right down to it and see if it was any good!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

The bewitching third series finds Arthur (Bradley James) and Merlin (Colin Morgan) discovering the long-missing Morgana (Katie McGrath) and returning her to Camelot. But her arrival may include a scheme against Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head) whose mental faculties are beginning to falter. As his father’s mind begins to fray, Arthur struggles to help Uther retain the throne. As their relationship continues to grow, Arthur and Gwen (Angel Coulby) decide to keep it hidden. Though Merlin is becoming more assertive and escaping the shadow of his mentor Gaius (Richard Wilson) the pair find they often have more strength together than apart.

The Rating:

This was a great season! I feel like the show has finally found it’s footing and is playing it’s strengths well. The plot becomes somewhat more daring, darker and intense.

While many familar faces make a return, they don’t just come back but get bigger parts to play. Additionally, there are a few new cast aditions that had me rather excited. I have some thoughts on that, so beware of spoilers after the cut!

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Merlin: Season 2 – A Review

Hello, lovelies!
Welcome to my review of Merlin’s second season. Even though the first one had some flaws, I was quite intrigued and excited for the second one. So, here we go!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

With the wave of a wand, season two of the mythic wizard’s youthful adventures opens with Merlin (Colin Morgan) being pushed aside as Arthur’s favored manservant by the slippery Cedric (Mackenzie Crook), turning the prince against the young warlock. Convinced Arthur (Bradley James) is being used Merlin seeks help from the Great Dragon (John Hurt), who may actually have plans for his own freedom. A romance between Arthur and Gwen (Angel Coulby) grows. Nightmares are clues to Morgana (Katie McGrath) that she may possess magical powers. And Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head) goes to greater lengths to wipe out magic in Camelot once for all.

The Rating:

What a season this was!
The story offers loads of twists and turns. While some of day do come as suprises, a great many are rather predictable. However, that’s not neccessarily a bad thing. No spoilers, but there was one absolutely heart-breaking episode. I knew right away how it would end but still found it rather impressive.

The cast is giving it their all and I’m living for the banter between Arthur and Merlin. I’m beyond curious to see what the future holds for Morgana! I’m always down for a good story about witches and her arc is rather promising. As much as I like Anthony Stewart Head, Uther is getting a bit annoying. Let’s hope he’ll be …less prominent… in the next seasons.

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