King Arthur as Envisioned by Frank Frazetta and set in Middle Earth
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Movie buffs, this fantasy movie channels Game of Thrones more than either the literary “Arthur” or to the murky history of an actual King Arthur. In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword we get few familiar names here and there and nods to mythic figures. The Lady of the Lake and the Sword in the Stone make at best a light and distant connection to what we might have thought of as the story of King Arthur.
We see our entry into the magical realm as the film opens with hundred foot tall magical elephants running amok. Magic and sword fights come every few minutes, which makes a fun film to watch. Just don’t expect to know anything about the characters except, sometimes, their names. They call the Chinese kung-fu master George, for instance, and never a word about how he came to be in England.
Star Charlie Hunnam ( TV show Sons of Anarchy) plays Arthur raised on the streets of London who manages to claim his royal rights by pulling the famous sword from the stone. Jude Law plays a shadowy historical figure named Vortigern, another Romano-British leader of the era. Here, Vortigern gets transformed into a magic-using bad guy. Eric Bana serves as Uther, known in the stories as Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s dad.
Richie casts Djimon Hounsou, a popular actor with striking looks, as Bedivere, one of the Knights of the Round Table. Barcelona born Astrid Berges-Frisbey plays the character called only Mage, a disciple of Merlin. Aidan Gillen plays Goose Fat Bill; In Game of Thrones he plays a character called “Little Finger.” Good names, the both of them.
Director Guy Ritchie made his bones with vastly entertaining films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. He has also made very large Hollywood films including the recent, successful Sherlock Holmes films. Richie fills this movie with cool Guy Richie stuff. Don’t ask, just watch and see.
Screenplay collaborators included Guy Ritchie himself along with Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram. Writers David Dobkin and Joby Harold penned the story upon which Ritchie and friends based the screenplay. Dobkin and Harold are Hollywood pros who produce and direct films and write scripts. Richie is known for his directorial efforts but also writes and produces, as well. Ditto for script writer Lionel Wigram. The writing team has a long list of professional accomplishments behind it.
Richie filmed a chunk of the movie in Wales and Scotland. Wales and Scotland have some beautiful vistas, which Richie uses to good purpose.
The PG-13 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword runs for two hours six minutes. The great direction, strong acting, great effects and well done sword fights cannot bring this movie higher than an average three stars. The characters are just too lightly drawn to make us care much about them. With a budget of $105 million this one qualifies as a strong contender for blockbuster status. Or so the producers hope.
Moreover, with tough competition and less than stellar reviews, the hopes of the producers might come to naught.
People who like the film will be happy to hear that the rumor mill suggests a total of six King Arthur films might be eventually made.
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