Thursday, 18 May 2017

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword Film Review

I caught King Arthur, directed by Guy Ritchie today. A tale of myth and mystery, sword and sorcery. And I really enjoyed it. The special effects and cinematography were terrific, the editing was excellent, and the whole film rattled along. I feel it has been very unfairly reviewed by the critics.

Eric Bana is the gorgeous, noble and beloved King Uther Pendragon of Camelot. He is killed in a coup which sees his brother take the crown. Jude Law giving his best Richard III impression as the power hungry Vortigern, and even sacrificing his loved ones to attain more power.

King Uther, while fighting a fiery monster, manages to save young Arthur by getting him out onto the river to escape. Found on the banks of the Thames, Arthur grows up in a brothel, under the care of the working ladies who saved him. It's a hard life in Londonium, but Arthur is trained in martial arts by George, played by Tom Wu, and Charlie Hunnam's Arthur is a good student of life. Saving his coins for a future he doesn't know. And dreaming dreams he doesn't understand.

Meanwhile the water surrounding Camelot subsides, and reveals Uther's sword Excalibar in a rock. But who put it there? A very clever theory is put forward by Guy Ritchie in the movie. Meanwhile, feeling very uneasy in his crown, King Vortigern, in his Saruman style tower, hears talk of the born king returning. The one who can wield Excalibar.

Back in Londonium, in a clever piece of editing, Arthur and his friends describe how they came to get a year's money from some Vikings who had treated one of the girls badly. But it turns out the Vikings are friends of the King, and have his protection. And Arthur, while trying to escape the Black Legs of the Kings guard for this slight, is carted off to Camelot to join the other men lined up to try and pull Excalibar out of the stone.

And here I'm sad to say the only bad thing in the film was David Beckham. And I know he's not an actor, but him employing both an acting and voice coach, for his little scene were really unnecessary. As was the whole scene.

Of course Arthur pulls the sword out of the stone, and is brought before Vortigern who reveals he is of Uther's line; the Pendragons. The girls from the brothel are then used as leverage against Arthur renouncing his birthright.

But the forces of good are with Arthur. King Uther's former General, Bedivere, played by Djimon Hounsou, who will guide the rightful King, a Mage played by the ethereal Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, who will help Arthur use the power of Excalibar, and whose magic will help counteract Vortigern's evil. And the terrific Aidan Gillen's Bill who is a superb bowman.

The film was whip fast, very entertaining and filled with Guy Ritchie's family and friends. Some worked and some didn't. Wife Jacqui Ainsley played the lovely Lady of The Lake.

The film sets up the sequel with the Round Table and I hope that there is a follow-up. Arthur is a role Charlie Hunnam can really grow into. I've seen him in Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, The Lost City of Z and now King Arthur. It would be a shame if this is his last outing to Camelot.

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