Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995)

Merlin’s Reds

The magic of the legend is that it is presented through the prism of Merlin’s magic. It is the English thread of self-referential literature that balances the Spanish Don Quixote. In this thread, the teller is a magician and all of the “reality” we see is fabricated as the illusion, some of which sometimes exceeds the control of the teller.

Disney on the other hand is the great flattener, someone who squeezes all the subtleties and depth out of a story in order to appear to the lowbrow as lowbrow.

In between, we have the illustrious Mark Twain. I say Illustrious because his talent was in taking all sorts of literary devices and recasting them as scenes that have commonplace reality.

Here we have the magic of the legend (and the very root of English narrative) transformed into American vision by Twain and then flattened to cartoon by Walt’s zombies. It is interesting if for no other reason than as a lesson in how the narrative form gets shaped.

But for me, there are two other features. This has Kate Winslet as the focus. She had just done “Heavenly Creatures,” a project based on exposing the plastic nature of film reality. With that, she started a brilliant career. After this, she would be introduced to Americans through “Sense and Sensibilities” which tackles to other side of invented reality. Here, she figures in a odd way as the manipulator of events.

The other notable thing is the influence of Disney’s fabled Character Lab. This is the lab that is — among other things — reinventing what it means to see redheads. Every female in this is a redhead of some sort: Calvin’s Mom and sister: his girlfriend and HER sister (Kate).

Posted in 2003

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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