“Why is there so much hate in the world?” I thought as I watched Netflix’s latest original, Cursed and its zealots wearing the mask of faith. Starring Katherine Langford, Devon Terrell, Gustaf Skarsgård, and Peter Mullan in prominent roles, the series explores the various issues we face in our world through the lens of Arthurian legends.
Cursed is a reimagination of the Arthurian legends from the perspective of its female characters. The series follows a teenage Fey girl, Nimue, who is ostracised by her villagers for her powers and runs away from home when she is chosen to lead her people. She returns to find her mother dying, who instructed her to give a magical sword to Merlin. On her quest, she befriends a young mercenary and aspiring knight, Arthur and his sister, Morgana.
Catch Cursed trailer here:
Cursed Review: Reimagined Legend and Old Formula
Who hasn’t heard of King Arthur, Camelot, Sir Lancelot, and Guinevere? There are simply too many adaptations of this ever-changing legend to ignore. Cursed, in terms of the adaptations, is a bit different for a few things.
Casting that just fit
Katherine Langford, whom we last saw in 13 Reasons Why, was a delight to watch in Cursed. She was perfect as Nimue, capturing the turmoil the teenage Fey had to undergo. Yet another example of the brilliant cast that Cursed is blessed with is Gustaf Skarsgård as the tricky magician Merlin. Skarsgård brought the fictional character to life with all its glory. TRB’s Cursed review, certainly, cannot miss out on mentioning Peter Mullan’s outstanding performance as Father Carden. For a man who was brutally exterminating an entire race, not unlike the Nazis, Mullan’s Carden had the air of the practical man.
Refreshing reimagination of a legend
The legends of Arthur is famous for the many versions it has. Yet, all of them have one thing in common– female characters are, for the most part, defined through their role in a man’s story. Cursed, on the other hand, has given characters like Nimue (hinted to be the Lady of the Lake), Morgana, and Red Spear (hinted as Guinevere) a voice outside the men. The crux of the story is one question, “What if the sword belonging to one true king chose a queen first?”
The same old formula
Now, I don’t know about you, but I find the epic fantasy genre a bit tiring these days, especially the ones not set in modern times. Let me explain why. Netflix’s Cursed has a cursed object, a need to get rid of it, a quest to pass it over (or destroy it), and greedy people seeking it. Sounds familiar, anyone? Yup, you got that right, The Lord of the Rings. Add to the mix, Nazi-like “land cleansing” and human political wars, and you will have Cursed. I found it a child’s play to guess what will happen next.
Underlying themes and messages
The themes explored by Cursed through the lens of fantasy is perhaps the show’s highlight. Through Carden and his ilk, we see blind hatred towards something different and greed for power. Furthermore, Cursed highlights how humans have, and still are, taking over nature brutally, without forethought.
Nimue’s villagers show us how society shuns anything they fear or do not understand. We live in a time when discrimination, hatred, brutality, and greed seem to be as prevalent as it was a few hundred years ago. Cursed, like many shows and movies, tries to encourage active discussions on the issues that plague us.
So, should you or shouldn’t you watch Cursed? Well, the answer depends on you. If you don’t mind an age-old formula rehashed with some tweaks, you shouldn’t have a problem watching Cursed. However, despite its flaws, TRB does recommend it for a one-time watch because it is quite entertaining. At the very least, you will enjoy Katherine Langford and the visuals.
If you breezed through Cursed, like me, it is time for you to find your next entertainment fix. And TRB and I are here to help! Here is what you can do next:
Read up on the Arthurian Legends: Cursed is based on an illustrated YA novel of the same novel by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler (who are also the producers of the show). If you didn’t enough of Cursed storyline, reading up on them is a great idea. However, you can also check out other adaptations of the Arthurian Legends like Meg Cabot’s Avalon High series, Walter Scott’s poem Lady of the Lake, Alfred Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, Mary Stewart’s The Last Enchantment, and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon.
Shows to watch: Television series Merlin is recommended one for those who love the wicked magician. Other series recommendations would include Viking, Westworld (both starring Skarsgård), and The Kingdom.
Movies you cannot miss: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Arthur and Merlin, Excalibur, Knights of the Round Table, Camelot, and The Green Knight are some of the movies you cannot miss if you love the Arthurian Legends. For those wanting a change of scenes can watch Old Guard, Fatal Affair, and Kissing Game.
Have you watched Cursed yet? What did you think of the Netflix original? Are there any shows or movies you would have TRB review? Let us know in the comments below!