Not even three Aussies in a woke Camelot tale can quite rescue Netflix's teen action tale.
Move over Arthur. Nimuë, aka The Lady of the Lake, is getting her own series.
Attempting a very modern origin spin on a classic tale, Cursed is a teen-action-fantasy led by Aussie Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why).
In this lush green Camelot, Nimuë is both sorceress & saviour, adept at everything from brash young men to horse chases and battle scenes. Her skillsets are just shy of Arya Stark, even if she looks more like Sansa.
A descendant of a good folk with supernatural powers, she is also reluctant heroine, declining powers bestowed upon her and taking off with best friend Pym (Lily Newmark) for a nearby port where she meets dashing lad Arthur (Aussie Devon Terrell).
But Nimuë is always one step ahead of the boys, until they are run out of town while the villainous Father Carden (Peter Mullan) is ethnic cleansing the land of her kind, and resident King Uther Pendragon (Sebastian Armesto) is pressuring drunken magician Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård) to rid his kingdom of a drought …we know the feeling.
Despite ambitions for a woke Arthurian tale, there are tropes a-plenty in the storytelling with CGI to fill in around the cracks. The costumes are spotless and the rich production design would look right at home in any Myer Christmas window.
Thankfully the exquisite Langford makes it broadly entertaining and the pacing rises and falls with some drive. The dialogue by Tom Wheeler (The Cape) also slips into contemporary with such lines as “Is he the real deal?” and “Did he have onion breath?” but it shouldn’t bother its target audience. The end result is too much Shrek meets Game of Thrones for my liking, without an arrow on target, or Excalibur in rock.
Devon Terrell (better known as a young Barack Obama in Barry) proves versatile as a blind-casting Arthur while another Aussie, Shalom Brune-Franklin (Doctor Doctor, Bad Mothers, Our Girl) will make an appearance as Igraine if you are after some light action.
Cursed is now screening on Netflix.