King Arthur (2004)

King Arthur (2004)
  • Time: 126 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Drama
  • Director: Antoine Fuqua
  • Cast: Clive Owen, Keira Knightley, Ioan Gruffudd, Stephen Dillane


Based on a more realistic portrayal of “Arthur” than has ever been presented onscreen. The film will focus on the history and politics of the period during which Arthur ruled — when the Roman empire collapsed and skirmishes over power broke out in outlying countries — as opposed to the mystical elements of the tale on which past Arthur films have focused.

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  • There have been several famous stories that take place in medieval times. Much of these legends are based on some sort of fact or documentation, and then there are also the ones that don’t and have been a mystery since they surfaced. Apparently, this film clearly states in its intro that there was newly found evidence of King Arthur that shed light on his life. Ok well that’s pretty cool, viewers should have no problem with that. In fact, people should be excited to see exactly what the evidence was that brought this film to fruition. Sadly even with this grab (that isn’t clarified) the film has a number of issues that don’t make it as entertaining as it could’ve been.

    The big problem among all things is that the writing covers several different themes and subplots but doesn’t complete many of them. Thankfully, the story wastes no time jumping from Arthur’s youth to when he is leader of the round table. With that however, comes a sacrifice of the majority of other knights that Arthur is associated with. The audience is given a back-story to how the other nights came to be, like Lancelot, but no one else but those two characters are given a scene dedicated to their youth. It’s harder for a viewer to come to accept and appreciate its main characters when you don’t know much about them as they grow up. There are various places of character development but most of it centers around Arthur and his beliefs in what he is doing. The different angle at which Merlin is portrayed is different but he too is left under developed.

    Merlin is in charge of what seems to be a barbaric tribal cult that resembles that of pre-conceptual ideas for James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). What’s their purpose? Beats me, it’s never explained. There’s just so many ideas but all them feel underwritten. The actors who play the knights are fun to watch nonetheless. Clive Owen could surely pass as King Arthur and since his cast members are for the most part from UK vicinity, they too sound and look like they could be knights. Along Owen there’s Ioan Gruffudd, Joel Edgerton and Ray Stevenson to name a few. Playing the main antagonist is Cedric (Stellan Skarsgård), a Saxon who shows no mercy in his purpose. Yet he too is underplayed – with very few tone raises. Just monotone whispering and mumbling.

    The rest stills keeps the attention of its viewer. The director’s cut has much heavier violence and feels more realistic. Plus, sword fights are always entertaining. It’s combat that isn’t use practically at all now so it’s a different viewing experience. The best action scene possibly belonged to the frozen lake fight. There was high tension in that scene. The camera work by Slawomir Idziak has wonderful pictures of the England grasslands and mountaintops. Very beautiful. Hans Zimmer’s music was enjoyable too. It had a theme that sounded almost like Steve Jablonsky’s Transformers theme (2007). Either way, it is respective to the time and sounds very noble. It also doesn’t contain as many deep bass tones which is the usual Zimmer technique. It’s fun but it requires not looking at it too deeply.

    The actors cast for the roles do a good job along with fun action and music. The writing however is too muddled with numerous subplots and little exposition. You think for a 2 hour long movie, it would clear up something.

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