What is Camelot?

What is Camelot? Is it an idea or a shining castle on the hillside - is it a movie or a Starz series or perhaps a Monty Python skit? Camelot is a central theme of the Arthur legend - it is that place from which a just ruler becomes one with the land and brings peace and prosperity to the people. Camelot is where there is a grand conference room with a giant round table wherein all the knights of the realm can meet and discuss the virtues of being chivalrous.  

Richard Harris had some ideas about Camelot...

The story of Arthur seems ingrained in our culture for some reason - we just can't help returning to it. Arthur is the royal Robin Hood - a man who brings justice along with his god-given or Merlin-procured birthright. Last year Starz decide to reignite the Arthur legend once more, unfortunately despite a promising start the series wasn't picked up for a second season. Will Arthur return on Starz again ? Will a young squire locate the sword and pull it from the stone once more to become king? Will Guinevere play Yoko to the Round Table Knights again - leading them all into ruin?

The Stars of Starz shortlived series, Camelot
Camelot by Monty Python on Grooveshark

Maybe it is a silly tale, perhaps the Python boys got it right. Can it be retold without conjuring visions of the profoundly bad First Knight from the early 90's or the hopelessly outdated broadway musical from the 1960's? Most readers don't recall that Camelot was 'the' show on Broadway when JFK became President and partly for that reason the popular media began referring to the White House as Camelot (and like Arthur, Kennedy strayed from his queen). 

Who knew that this month had such unique powers

We like the Starz series Camelot with two major exceptions. First, the actor Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower) was miscast. Bower appears far too feminine and looks hopelessly childlike (and often downright goofy). It strains the whole credibility of the show with him at the helm. The second major issue was the lack of budget. It seems as though Starz had directed all their resources into buying new loincloths for slaves on Spartacus. Camelot deserves some epic touches, a bit of grandeur. 

There was one movie which did give Camelot and the Arthur legend the epic setting it deserved and while it was relatively low budget it managed to hide that fact cleverly. We're talking about John Boorman's classic, Excalibur.  

Excalibur had an Arthur we could believe in, an unforgettable Merlin and the sexiest Morgana ever. It even had Liam Neeson in one of his first movies as the knight who accuses Guinevere of lusting after Lancelot. Granted, both Ralph Fiennes and Eva Green provide fantastic performances as Merlin and Morgana in the Starz version of Camelot, but it's hard to compete with the 1981 classic. Some of you might be saying, "everyone in the 1981 film was wearing armor the whole time, armor that hadn't been invented yet, they even wore it while having sex." So maybe they took safe sex too far in the 80's - Excalibur was still a great show.

Starz might want to try Camelot again, but this time add some more pizzazz and some armor and get rid of Denis the Menace as Arthur and pick a real king. One of the reasons that the show wasn't picked up was because Bower was busy working both Breaking Dawn films. That should be evidence enough that is not the chosen one...

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