King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

  • Time: 126 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Drama
  • Director: Guy Ritchie
  • Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Aidan Gillen, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana

Storyline:

Harrelson stars as Wilson, a lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged misanthrope who reunites with his estranged wife (Laura Dern) and gets a shot at happiness when he learns he has a teenage daughter (Isabella Amara) he has never met. In his uniquely outrageous and slightly twisted way, he sets out to connect with her.

2 reviews

  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is not a re-telling of the classic myth per se, though it does use the tale as a thinly skinned narrative. What it is, first and foremost, is a Guy Ritchie film and, when it adheres to that mindset, it serves as a fairly enjoyable piece of entertainment for nearly two-thirds of its 125-minute running time. Unfortunately, it’s done in by a CGI-laden, bombastic finale that seems more apropos for a Warcraft flick than for the rough and tumble, the lads are all here story that precedes it.

    Ritchie does not possess an expert hand with CGI-driven spectacles, at least not in the manner that CGI is deployed in this work. The flash of his films have always derived from the style of his storytelling – the rhythms of his dialogue and the beats of his editing resembling pugilist’s blows mixed with the legerdemain of a conjurer – and if there’s CGI or special effects involved, there’s an organic quality to them that enhances rather than overpowers. The balance is already off in King Arthur’s prologue as corrupt mage Mordred unleashes gigantic, wrecking ball-wielding elephants and a swarm of soldiers to lay siege on Camelot. The pageant is too much, almost deflecting from the real focus of this section, which is to establish the betrayal of good king Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) by his throne-hungry brother Vortigen (Jude Law). Uther and his queen are dead by prologue’s end, their murders witnessed by their son who, like Moses, drifts away in a boat to be found by prostitutes and raised in the mean streets of Londinium.

    Believing himself the bastard son of a prostitute, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up to be a strapping and resourceful man, as skilled with his fists as with a sword, and the de facto leader of a group that includes best friends Wetstick (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and Backlack (Neil Maskell). A confrontation with the Vikings forces Arthur to escape from the city, though he ends up being rounded up along with thousands of other men of similar age and taken to Vortigen’s castle where they must try to pull a mysterious sword out of a stone to prove that they are not the boy king who threatens Vortigen’s reign. Much to his shock, Arthur not only succeeds but learns of his true birthright as well as the identity of the man behind his parents’ death. From thereon in, it’s a race against the clock as Vortigen and his minions hunt down Arthur and his comrades, with Vortigen and Arthur both determined to take the other down.

    With the charismatic Hunnam in the lead and the tempest of swaggering machismo on hand, King Arthur often resembles a medieval-set episode of FX’s Sons of Anarchy in which Hunnam’s Jax Teller spent nearly seven seasons similarly refusing to accept his destiny. As with that television show, King Arthur is populated with brutal unsentimentality and violence and a rambunctious energy that’s best exemplified by the chaos that erupts following a failed assassination attempt by Arthur and his gang, who race through the narrow and labyrinthine streets. The thrill is lusty and infectious and, like with so many things in this movie, stopped cold by the CGI-riven moment that doesn’t so much punctuate as puncture.

    Excepting last summer’s underappreciated The Man from U.N.C.LE., which featured two cracking female leads in Alicia Vikander and Elizabeth Debicki, King Arthur continues Ritchie’s streak of underdeveloped and frankly uninteresting female characters. As always, this is very much a testosterone parade with a bevy of magnetic males like Djimon Hounsou and Hunnam’s Queer as Folk paramour Aiden Gillen making the most of their supporting roles. Also maximising his presence is Law, who not only gives good glower but conveys the torment that lives side-by-side with Vortigen’s hunger for power. Not to go unmentioned are Gemma Jackson’s finely detailed production design and Annie Symons’ stylish costuming.

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  • “How’d you get money from a Viking? I feel a joke coming on here.”

    Ever seen me excited before? Then you should have been there, when I was watching this movie. Perhaps because it’s a movie that’s being razed to the ground by the most appreciated film critics. How do they actually evaluate a movie? Do they use a minutely compiled questionnaire with a precise step-by-step plan to evaluate a movie? Armed with a decibel meter, lux meter and a comprehensive Wikipedia reference about the subject, so technical and substantive negligence can be spotted right away? I know, I know. Smart readers will of course immediately ask me the following obvious question: “Say wiseguy. What’s the base of your judgement of a movie?”. To be honest, I don’t know. Is it a gut feeling? Or temporary insanity? Believe me, I don’t know but read on and I’ll tell you everything you need to know.

    Lets start with the proclaimed criticisms which were excessively exaggerated in my opinion. Some claim that this was an outright disgrace to the great legend about King Arthur. At first I don’t think that was the intention of the creators. And by the way, had they done this (which means that all involved characters who played an important role in this legend, probably also would have gotten a spot in this movie) then others whiners would say this flick is just a copy of a previously made movie. In my opinion, if you want to experience a historically accurate story, follow evening lessons about medieval history. These are accurate enough. No, this was a pimped, modernist version of a medieval legend.

    Next point that gets on my nerves is the whole fuss about Beckham. I’ve read that he got the part thanks to his friendship with one of the leading players, but that he’s better in juggling with a ball than in acting. Give me a break. That bloke was only a few minutes on screen. A rather limited contribution to judge someone about his acting capabilities (Although I’m not waiting for a movie with Beckham playing an important part).

    And finally, the style of this film by the hand of Guy Ritchie. Frankly, I had to get used to it myself. Strangely enough, I have never seen a movie directed by him before. But after seeing this movie, I plan to fill up this cultural gap because this tastes like more. In other words, you can call me a real Guy Ritchie fan from now on. That driven, flashy and hyper-kinetic narrative style was quite confusing at first, but once I got in the flow of the movie, I began to appreciate that style. Not only is it a fascinating style, it also makes for subtle and raging scenes. Even conversations were filled with humor because of the style.

    “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is a mix of different types of movies. From “Lord of the rings” and “The Hobbit”, to “Fast & furious” or any other slick action movie, making it a medieval story with a modern jargon being used. The action filled scenes, especially those where Arthur suddenly holds Excalibur with both hands, are breathtaking. It looked like “The matrix” with a bunch of knights. And then there’s the magic. “TLOTR” was magical and full of fantasy. But also this movie contains a considerable amount of magical elements, even though the illustrious Merlin is just in it for a split second. The Darklands with its unworldly creatures. The Mage (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) who, by means of telekinetic powers, can summon the animal kingdom to intervene and also has alchemical wisdom about herbs. The sea witches helping Vortigern (Jude “Gigolo Joe” Law) to gain power. Mordred, a sort of Lord Sauron, who attacks Camelot with an army of monstrous-looking elephants. And all this is shrouded in a fabulous and dark atmosphere.

    Even the cast was interesting enough. Charlie Hunnam played the role of Arthur with bravura. Not the Arthur we know from the legends, but a born fighter who grew up in a brothel and along with his companions Wet Stick (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and Back Lack (Neil Maskell) earns his money in a not so honest way. You can hardly call him a noble and righteous man. Frankly, I didn’t recognize Astrid Bergès-Frisbey immediately, even though she played a fascinating role in “I origins”. The acting wasn’t her main concern here but the mysterious nature of her character was, which she played in a convincing way. But also the less important secondary persons were of a valuable addition.

    Well, apparently I’m swimming against the grain again with my opinion. To be honest, this was one of the most energetic and entertaining movies I’ve seen this year. “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is a hell of a roller-coaster raging over you like a bulldozer. For those who haven’t seen this modern King Arthur interpretation yet, just one advice : ignore the negativism about this movie, go see it and get overwhelmed by this movie.

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