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An almost mythical great English character re-interpreted
King Arthur (DVD)
Member Name: julwhite
King Arthur (DVD)
Advantages: Well-made film, made me interested in learning more about Arthur
Disadvantages: No audio commentary on DVD, I personally found the battle scenes too long
King Arthur is a film made in 2004 based on the historical character who lived in around 500AD. It is around 135 minutes long, so prepare to watch a long film!
The main character of Arthur is played by Clive Owen, with Ioan Gruffudd playing Lancelot, Joel Edgerton playing Gawain and Hugh Dancy playing Galahad. Although I found Clive Owen a convincing choice for this role, I thought that the two strongest performances in the film were from Ray Stevenson as Dagonet and Keira Knightley who played Guinevere.
I found the film entertaining, the first hour of the film especially held my interest. The second half of the film has a very long battle sequence, which for me personally did drag on for quite a while. There was only so much stabbing with swords that I can take, but it would be unfair to complain about the effort put into these battle sequences, they do look superb.
I personally found that film was well produced, and as I've mentioned in other reviews, I don't normally like long films, but this didn't seem to drag and was well worth expending the effort to watch it.
I was very pleased to see that the film didn't spend too much time with the romance between King Arthur and Guinevere. There are a only a few scenes where this is featured, and I personally thought this made the film better as it would have been too easy to pad out the film with long and possibly quite dull scenes where their relationship developed.
If I had to find fault, I did have a problem with the geographical backdrop that has been used in the film, where King Arthur is trying to defend the area near Hadrian's Wall from the invading Saxons. It appears not just that the historical groups, such as the Sarmatians, the Celts and Saxons are all historically in the wrong place for the time this film was made, but that King Arthur is much more associated with more southern locations.
There also seems to be an exaggeration of the religious power which the Church held at that time within the Roman Empire. So although I know that this film is covering a subject who is almost mythical, it does seem to reduce the whole genuineness of the film.
One advantage of the film for me though was that I found it interested enough to want to go and find out a little more about Arthur. It's nice to feel involved in a film in this way and then want to learn more, and it was only because the film was well made that evoked such an interest in me in finding out more about Old England.
On the DVD I watched, there were a few bonus features, but no commentary. There was a "making of King Arthur", an alternate ending and producer's photo gallery. The alternate ending does have a commentary, but the main film doesn't.
Whilst researching this review, I did find however that the US version of the film does have an audio commentary, so the omission of a commentary on the UK edition seems bizarre. I personally like commentaries, as they add something extra to the film and I find it interesting to hear how the film was made or ways those close to the film feel looking back on how it could have been improved.
At the time of writing the DVD can be obtained for the price of 6 pounds from Amazon, which is good value for a film certainly in my opinion worth a look.
Summary: Worth a look for the historical interest alone