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Merlin, modernised for the big screen

Merlin.jpgThere are two trends that can so often go wrong in television and film, and sometimes just shouldn't be allowed, one is the rewriting of the accepted history of characters and stories, often with younger versions of characters - see Smallville and Merlin on television as examples - and the other is the modernisation of a tale that is firmly rooted in the past.

Right now details for the film version of Merlin are being kept a closely guarded secret, but we do know that a screenwriter is hard at work taking Merlin into the modern age, but hopefully not casting him in The Adventures of Young Merlin XVI or some such ploy to get a young actor in the role.

Right now there's really nothing more to go on, but the idea of a Merlin film is a good one, I just don't know if we really are ready for another magician in the modern day. Of course The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Filmstalker review) wasn't a bad film because of the magic and the magician character, indeed I thought Nicolas Cage was giving an all right performance in it and had a fun character with some well conceived scenes, but bringing an old story into modern times can bring with it so many problems.

Often it's another way to retell the same story but running the ongoing joke of the character either struggling with modern times, or continuously fighting to keep the old away from the new, in this case magic away from the general population.

Mind you the track record of modernising stories isn't nearly as bad as just retelling them with younger characters from the beginning, and some television shows and films are really destroying mythologies of well established characters through existing films and shows, and really shouldn't be allowed on screen.

The Hollywood Reporter Heat Vision has the story of the new Merlin film and say that Jay Basu is the man who pitched the idea and is writing the script now. He's also writing an adaptation of the British novel Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) which tells of a corrupt Chinese Inspector who travels to the UK to find his kidnapped daughter, teams up with an illegal immigrant who acts as a guide and interpretor, and sets out through the world of human trafficking and Chinese gangsters to save her. Mmmm, Taken (Filmstalker review) anyone?

Back to Merlin though. Will a film about him in the modern world really work?



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