Director John Boorman brings this version of the retelling of the Arthurian
legend to life with excellent use of imagery and classical music. Both succeed
in adding to the mysticism and wonder of the story. The acting is good and the
appearance of the aging of Arthur is believable (except the "teenage" years).
Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson can be found in supporting roles in Excalibur
when they were unknowns to the big screen. Merlin is portrayed grandiosely by
Williamson in every scene. Merlin is a larger-than-life figure, but is not overused
in the movie.
The underlying theme of Merlin's Druid magic fading away as England is being
Christianized is an interesting accent to the movie, especially since the latter
part of the movie involves a quest for the Holy Grail, a significant symbol
of Christianity. The second half of the movie does not contain much dialog,
but rather heavily relies on imagery. This is, at times, disturbing and confusing,
but works for me since legends and myths rely heavily on symbolism.