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The Mists Of Avalon, Part One

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Just close your eyes and think of England
King Arthur's Court and Morte, as told from the perspectives of the women involved -- interesting radical feminist conceit wearing pants and generating its own income, or sentimental romance novel in pants but still wearing uncomfortable underwear just because he'll think it's sexy? You be the judge. We begin with something of a motif: Julianna Margulies, a.ka. "Morgaine," standing in the Flashback-Flavored Canoe which will carry her to the Harvest Home Womyn's Collective (a.k.a. Avalon), surrounded by smoke or something, while the toodlings of Loreena McKennitt usher in a new age of New Age. Margulaine is getting ready to raise her arms in a gesture that recalls nothing more than third-grade recess magical realism (if you hung out with the girls I hung out with), the better to, by waving them around in a mystic manner, magically dissipate the titular Mists and gain access to Avalon itself, which is vaguely like one of those lovely New-Age lesbian nunneries one hears about from time to time, only surrounded by some magical Mists with which only a couple of characters can mess. Because everybody in this movie gets to say everything at least once, Margulaine uses this opportunity to put forth the concept that a leader should rise and lead both the Christians and the followers of the Goddess alike to victory over the Saxons. After she's done saying stuff everyone else will be saying in a few minutes, we see her dad, the one-dimensional Gerlois, getting all Braveheart on a horse, and saying, "For Christ! For Britain!" with the weirdest echo effect ever. Oh, and speaking of that...get ready for Margulaine's accent, guv'nor: "Fah I ohm Mogayne Lufay." And can we talk about the music? Now we see her totally boring mom Igraine hanging out in the dungeon at Cornwall. Add an "M" to the beginning and you will begin to understand how Caroline Goodall looks throughout, in what I hesitate to call the Piper role, because frankly I love Holly Marie Combs, and this woman is no Holly Marie Combs, and Piper serves to make Charmed watchable, while Migraine serves only to make you irritated. You say her name "Ee-GRAIN," ("EEEEEE" like you have to watch a four-hour TNT Original), although feel free, as the rest of the cast does, to say all the names -- up to and including the relatively easy (one might think) "Merlin" -- in whatever damn way you think is appropriate. Next up is Migraine's sister (although, as we will see, not sistah) Morgause (pronounced "more-GOES," the Phoebe, who is selfish and WAY on the Dark Side of the Force), played by the great and powerful Joan Allen, in possibly the most unpleasant and pointless role she's ever had. Funny that the most talented actress involved would get the lamest role, and the most painful thing about this movie -- and to say that about this movie is to say a great deal -- is watching this wonderful actor play a role that is not only skanky and creepy, but also that Evil Stepmother kind of mean mean MEAN that has no rational basis in anything at all. This is the character that moves the plot forward, in that her entire thing here is to jump in from time to time and do creepy awful things like raise illegitimate and unrecognized children to resent their birth parents, instead of raising them to say "to hell with it" and have lots of fun anyway like anybody else not growing up in feudal Europe would do.

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Mondo Extra
The Mists Of Avalon, Part One

Episode Report Card
Grade It Now!
YOU GRADE IT
Just close your eyes and think of England

King Arthur's Court and Morte, as told from the perspectives of the women involved -- interesting radical feminist conceit wearing pants and generating its own income, or sentimental romance novel in pants but still wearing uncomfortable underwear just because he'll think it's sexy? You be the judge.

We begin with something of a motif: Julianna Margulies, a.ka. "Morgaine," standing in the Flashback-Flavored Canoe which will carry her to the Harvest Home Womyn's Collective (a.k.a. Avalon), surrounded by smoke or something, while the toodlings of Loreena McKennitt usher in a new age of New Age. Margulaine is getting ready to raise her arms in a gesture that recalls nothing more than third-grade recess magical realism (if you hung out with the girls I hung out with), the better to, by waving them around in a mystic manner, magically dissipate the titular Mists and gain access to Avalon itself, which is vaguely like one of those lovely New-Age lesbian nunneries one hears about from time to time, only surrounded by some magical Mists with which only a couple of characters can mess. Because everybody in this movie gets to say everything at least once, Margulaine uses this opportunity to put forth the concept that a leader should rise and lead both the Christians and the followers of the Goddess alike to victory over the Saxons. After she's done saying stuff everyone else will be saying in a few minutes, we see her dad, the one-dimensional Gerlois, getting all Braveheart on a horse, and saying, "For Christ! For Britain!" with the weirdest echo effect ever. Oh, and speaking of that...get ready for Margulaine's accent, guv'nor: "Fah I ohm Mogayne Lufay."

And can we talk about the music?

Now we see her totally boring mom Igraine hanging out in the dungeon at Cornwall. Add an "M" to the beginning and you will begin to understand how Caroline Goodall looks throughout, in what I hesitate to call the Piper role, because frankly I love Holly Marie Combs, and this woman is no Holly Marie Combs, and Piper serves to make Charmed watchable, while Migraine serves only to make you irritated. You say her name "Ee-GRAIN," ("EEEEEE" like you have to watch a four-hour TNT Original), although feel free, as the rest of the cast does, to say all the names -- up to and including the relatively easy (one might think) "Merlin" -- in whatever damn way you think is appropriate.

Next up is Migraine's sister (although, as we will see, not sistah) Morgause (pronounced "more-GOES," the Phoebe, who is selfish and WAY on the Dark Side of the Force), played by the great and powerful Joan Allen, in possibly the most unpleasant and pointless role she's ever had. Funny that the most talented actress involved would get the lamest role, and the most painful thing about this movie -- and to say that about this movie is to say a great deal -- is watching this wonderful actor play a role that is not only skanky and creepy, but also that Evil Stepmother kind of mean mean MEAN that has no rational basis in anything at all. This is the character that moves the plot forward, in that her entire thing here is to jump in from time to time and do creepy awful things like raise illegitimate and unrecognized children to resent their birth parents, instead of raising them to say "to hell with it" and have lots of fun anyway like anybody else not growing up in feudal Europe would do.

These two ladies are sitting with the young and creepy actor who plays Young Morgaine, whom we will call Rogaine due to her Gilmore Girls-scale forehead. What happens is that Migraine -- Rogaine's mother -- is toiling at a Symbolic Spinning Wheel Of Fate when she receives a "vision." Rogaine notices, and whines to her aunt that her mother isn't acting normal. Understand that Migraine is not going to act anything approaching normal -- or interesting -- for the next four hours. Wicked aunt Morgause (in the longest, cheapest, crimpedest red wig in the whole world of hairpieces) hushes the girl and tells her to wait for the end of the vision, presumably because she wants the update on what's happening at the moment it's happening, given the two-second lag of Migraine's stupid psychic powers, and is too dumb or lazy to actually observe what is happening instead. Rogaine protests that her father doesn't like it when Migraine gets visions, and I can't blame him, because it basically seems to involve his wife gaping off into space with the thousand-yard stare of someone who's read the whole script and chooses to drool instead of acting. Migraine's eyes water.

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