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Not Arthurs good as it would like to be....(altogether now...GROAN!)
King Arthur (DVD)
Member Name: sparkymarky1973
King Arthur (DVD)
Advantages: Kiera Knightley, Ray Winstone and Ray Stephenson have the best roles here
Disadvantages: Owen fails to impress, story-line begins to bore
Arthur is the reinvention, reimagining and recreation of a well-known and much told legend. But if one thing is for certain, I am betting you have never seen it told like this before.....
Clive Owen stars in the title role of what is purported to be the most historically accurate version of events according to director, Antoine Fuqua. (No sniggering at the back there!). Arthur here is portrayed as being a British-born Roman Legionaire leading an elite group of Sumatran Knights, forced into the servitude of the Roman Empire for fifteen years, against the enemies of the Empire which include The Saxons and the pagan tribes known as The Woad. The film begins on the last day of servitude for Arthur's Knights Of The Realm escorting a Bishop to the safety of a Roman Garrison. But once there, the Bishop greets them with troubling news. Before he will sign their papers of release which ensure their freedom and will allow The Knights to return to their native country, they must first escort an important family to safety who currently inhabit an area on the other side of Hadrian's Wall in Enemy territory. The Romans are abandoning Britain to it's own devices and withdrawing all troops and this family are important people whose presence will be required back in Rome. Realising they have no choice, The Knights, who include Ray Winstone and Ray Stevenson who would later star in the HBO series Rome aired on the BBC, reluctantly set off to complete their final mission which will ensure they return as free men. But there is more to the over-zealous family they have been assigned to escort than meets the eye and it is here that Arthur first meets his one true love, Guinevere. and forms an uneasy truce with The Woad and their leader, a sorcerer named Merlin.
All the basic components of any Arturian legend are here; his Knights remain Lancelot, Gwain and Galahad respectively and his sword is still called Excalibur. This sword also still comes to Arthur when he pulls it out of a stone though in this instance the stone is his father's burial mound and the instance that provokes his drawing of Excalibur is the murder of his mother by Merlin's forces. Even the Round table is present though Camelot has ben replaced by the Roman Garrison which is The Knight's base camp and as close to home as any of them can ever get. Over the space of two hours, the main brunt of the movie is taken up by Artur's defence of Britain against the mighty Saxon forces in the wake of the Roman abandonment of the isle and the end result is an impressive and mighty battle that sees every last man fighting for himself!
And yet, for some reason the whole film never quite pulls together; maybe it is Clive Owen in part, who has never been one of my favourite actors, or maybe it is because every man and his dog is familiar with the Arturian legend and to mess with established myth is a dangerous and risky path to take. Or maybe it's just a combination of both these factors added to the fact that actually the movie just isn't all that its cracked up to me.
Certainly I found myself beginning to bore around the half-way point and only a battle against the Saxons on a lake of frozen ice caught my interest again- which sadly slowly started to wane again as soon as The Knights and their foes tucked away their swords. I really wanted to like this- not least because Kiera Knightley plays Guinevere though she looks more like the opera singer from The Fifth Element in her scenes where she is dyed blue (don't ask!)- but unfortunately Owen just didn't convince me of his divine ancestry one little bit and Winstone and Stevenson (the two Rays) stole every scene they shared with him.
The end result is a bit of a mess in a film that tries valiantly but doesn't really succeed! It's an okay watch if theres nothing else on and you have not seen it before but don't go expecting some epic tale as this is not what you will get. Instead we get a slightly lacklustre attempt at a re-telling of a legend with some great battle scenes but very little else to reccommend it....
Summary: The best parts are the well-imagined battle scenes....