The Mists Of Avalon

The Mists Of Avalon (2001)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Anjelica Huston, Julianna Margulies, Joan Allen
Extras: Additional Scenes, Photo Gallery, Storyboards, Costume Designs

Despite its enormous popularity Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fantasy novel ’The Mists Of Avalon’ has never been turned into a film before until director Uli Edel took care of the project for this 3-hour television production.

’The Mists Of Avalon’ is a variation of the Arthurian legend, told from the perspective of the women in the legend, who shaped the events with their own spiritual powers. The result is a tale that is no less thrilling and exciting than the real story about Arthur, Excalibur and the knights of the roundtable. Featuring a stellar cast, this production is without a doubt one of the finest television productions yet to hit the screen. Boasting a $20 million budget, the film is rich and colorful, filled with little details and a lush production design. But ultimately it is the high caliber performances from the likes of Anjelica Huston and Julianna Margolies that helps put this production on the map.

Warner home Video is bringing us ’The Mists Of Avalon’ in a presentation on this DVD that far exceeds what you got to see on TV. Presented in a finely defined anamorphic widescreen presentation in the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio – as opposed to the open matte transfer seen on TV – the image now display’s the real composition of the frames, showing off the beautifully framed pictures that Edel and his crew captured. Colors are vibrant and natural, creating the fantastic but realistic look the filmmakers strived fro. Flesh tones are neutral and colors are strong without oversaturation. Blacks are deep, giving the image very good visual depth without breaking up. The compression has also been done carefully and doesn’t show any signs of pixelation of other artifacting.

On the audio side, the DVD shines with a great 5.1 channel Dolby Digital mix that far exceeds what you got out of the cable during the movie’s original broadcast. With active surrounds, a wide sound stage and an impressively wide dynamic range, the audio track finally lives up to the epic scale of the movie and creates an immersive sonic experience.

The DVD also contains a series of additional scenes that were part of the novel but didn’t make it into the final film. They are presented one after another with inter titles, explaining the scene and why it was excised from the final film. A photo gallery of the characters, the costumes and storyboards are also part of the release as well as cast & crew filmgraphies.

If you liked the movie on TV there can be no question that you will have to check out this DVD. It will expand on the experience with its dramatically improved technical values. For fans of the novel and everyone else interested in the lore, this disc also comes highly recommended. It is a great production, served up as a great DVD.