King Arthur (2004)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Drama


King Arthur (2004) Poster

A demystified take on the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.


6.3/10
152,324

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  • Clive Owen in King Arthur (2004)
  • Antoine Fuqua in King Arthur (2004)
  • Keira Knightley and Clive Owen in King Arthur (2004)
  • Stephen Dillane in King Arthur (2004)
  • Clive Owen at an event for King Arthur (2004)
  • Clive Owen in King Arthur (2004)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


31 December 2004 | marston
7
| The realism behind the magic
In recent movies coming out of Hollywood there seems to be a trend towards attempting to unveil the true character behind some of history's most mysterious individuals. With most of us having been brought up on tales of a medieval King Arthur and the magic of Camelot, it was a risk for those who initiated this movie to attempt to expose the man behind the myth, so to speak. In my opinion, through a combination of realistic battle scenes, stunning cinematography and well rounded characters this movie is successful.

This tale takes us on a journey with King Arthur's knights as they embark on a final quest for Rome. The issue of religious persecution is raised on numerous occasions in the duration of this movie and relates to contemporary circumstances where religious belief can be used as a form of power and means of superiority. Themes such as this raise the film above the average Bruckheimer production. However, the dialogue is still cliché in places, and mid-battle jokes can fall flat on audiences that have grown weary of them in films such as LORD OF THE RINGS and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. Fortunately, the battle scenes are realistic and don't bombard us with Jackie Chan like maneuvers that the knights have suddenly and inexplicably learned.

The movie is beautifully shot with a variety of landscapes ranging from Hadrian's Wall to icy snow-covered hills and peasant villages. This ensures that the audience always has something new to look at, but also paints a realistic picture of the poverty and harsh environment of the time.

My only complaint about this film would have to be that some of the acting and characterisation was a little disappointing. Clive Owen's 'Arthur' was a little internalised and predictable. While other characters, such as Lancelot (Ioan Gruffud), are fabulously flawed, Arthur is always thinking of others and making the right decisions. His humanity never falters. Owen delivers his lines woodenly and without the passion one wishes to see from such a great warrior and humanitarian. Whilst the writers have dared to put a different spin on the characters of Lancelot and Guinevere (Keira Knightly), they seem to have stuck with the Arthur of legend. Knightly's performance was certainly nothing special. Her role in the movie was unclear as she seemed to only be there to run around in skimpy outfits, although I'm sure the intention was to create a strong female character. I thought her survival in battle was unrealistic as she was much smaller and weaker than the thousands of large trained warriors she was fighting, particularly since she had apparently nearly starved to death after being walled up in a tomb for her Pagan beliefs. Although Knightly is beautiful, her performances in movies thus far have yet to convince me of her acting abilities.

Overall, I thought this movie was unique in that it depicted a time not often portrayed in modern cinema. It had strong themes with a good mix of humour, romance and action. Although the film had its flaws, I would definitely recommend it as I believe it would appeal to a wide audience.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Clive Owen got the the role of King Arthur after Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson and Hugh Jackman turned it down, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer vetoed the director's choice of a then comparatively unknown Daniel Craig because he was convinced Owen was going to be the next James Bond.


Quotes

Lancelot: By 300 AD, the Roman Empire extended from Arabia to Britain. But they wanted more. More land. More peoples loyal and subservient to Rome. But no people so important as the powerful Sarmatians to the east. Thousands died on that field. And when the ...


Goofs

When Arthur and Guinevere are standing together and Arthur is grieving over Dagonet's death, Guinevere puts her hand on Arthur's face under his left ear but in the next shot her hand is in a different position.


Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits, not even the production company and studio bumpers, only the title.


Alternate Versions

The film was originally envisioned and shot as an R-rated piece with corresponding graphic violence. However, after the picture had been edited, Disney executives demanded it be changed to a PG-13, hence necessitating a lot of effects work to remove the blood from the battle scenes. Additionally, a number of scenes were removed and rearranged, and some new scenes were added. In total, the Director's Cut runs roughly 15 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. These additions include:

  • the scene where young Lancelot (Elliot Henderson-Boyle) leaves his village in longer.
  • a scene of young Arthur (Shane Murray-Corcoran) with his mother (Stephanie Putson), and then a scene where he discusses freedom with Pelagius (Owen Teale) whilst he watches the young Lancelot arrive on the hilltop.
  • during the first battle, aside from the additional blood that was digitally removed from the theatrical version, numerous quick shots have been added. These include: Picts dragging Romans off their horses and killing them; a Pict slashing at a horse with his sword, causing it to fall; a Pict decapitating a soldier and holding his head aloft, only to be beheaded himself from behind; a Pict hit with an arrow; a Pict impaled on a spear; a Pict hit in the back with an arrow whilst trying to get to the Bishop; a scene of a Pict being hit in the eye with an arrow; a scene of Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) decapitating a Pict by using his swords like a scissors; a scene of Bors (Ray Winstone) fighting with his 'gloved knives'; a scene of Bors stabbing a Pict in the throat.
  • after the battle, in the theatrical version, the fake bishop (Bosco Hogan) has an arrow in his chest; in the Director's Cut, it is in his head.
  • a scene where the knights approach the real Germanius (Ivano Marescotti) with their weapons drawn, before realizing that all is well and sheathing them.
  • the conversation between Germanius and Arthur (Clive Owen) is longer.
  • a scene of the knights toasting their fallen comrades at the Round Table.
  • a scene where Germanius visits the knights as they prepare to leave, and they show him their disapproval of the mission.
  • the Director's Cut does not contain the scene where the knights sit around a camp fire talking about their prospective lives in Sarmatia.
  • a scene where some dead soldiers are found on the side of the road.
  • a conversation between Lancelot and Guinevere (Keira Knightley) about England and the weather.
  • another conversation between Lancelot and Guinevere, this time at night, where they discuss family and faith. The scene ends with Lancelot telling her he would have left her in the dungeon.
  • the first conversation between Merlin (Stephen Dillane) and Arthur has been edited differently with different takes used.
  • an aerial shot of Hadrian's Wall
  • a scene where Dagonet (Ray Stevenson) is buried.
  • a scene of Bors sitting at Dagonet's grave, getting drunk.
  • the sex scene between Guinevere and Arthur is in a different place in both versions of the film. In the theatrical version, Arthur is seen in full battle armor, examining the broken image of Pelagius, when he is alerted that the Saxons are heading towards Hadrian's Wall. He runs outside, but when he appears, he is hastily putting on his shirt, and his hair is disheveled, thus creating something of a continuity error. The sex scene follows this scene. In the Director's Cut however, after the conversation between Arthur and Guinevere where they discuss his morality, they begin to have sex only to be interrupted with the news of the Saxons. The scene then cuts to Arthur appearing on the wall, putting on his shirt. As such, the scene where he is examining Pelagius's image is absent from the Director's Cut. The scenes have been edited together differently as well, with the sex scene in the Director's Cut being slightly longer than the theatrical version.
  • a scene where Cynric (Til Schweiger) is demoted for his failure during the ice battle. His frustration is much to Cerdic's (Stellan Skarsgård) amusement.
  • a scene of the knights leaving Hadrian's Wall amidst hundreds of small fires set by the Saxons.
  • the scene of the confused Saxons in the fog is longer, with more Saxons being chopped down, including one having his arm severed.
  • the scene of the sole Saxon survivor (Joe McKinney) running back to the Saxons is longer.
  • during the final battle, aside from the additional blood that was digitally removed from the theatrical version, numerous quick shots have been added. These include: a scene of a Saxon impaled by an ax in his chest; a scene of Guinevere stabbing a fallen adversary; a scene of a Saxon being stabbed in the throat; a scene of Guinevere stabbing a Saxon in his crotch; a scene of Arthur ramming his sword into a Saxon's throat; a scene of Gawain (Joel Edgerton) being shot in the chest with an arrow and pulling it out; the scene of several female warriors overpowering a Saxon is much longer and more violent as the women begin to literally tear him to pieces; a scene of Tristan (Mads Mikkelsen) slowly approaching Cerdic; a scene of Bors being stabbed in the back but continuing to fight; a scene of Ganis (Charlie Creed-Miles) fighting a Saxon inside the Wall; a scene where a Saxon is stabbed in the face; the battle between Tristan and Cerdic is longer and more graphic; the scene of Lancelot being wounded is in slow motion; the scene of Cerdic's death is longer and includes a new conclusion where he and Lancelot crawl towards one another and Lancelot stabs him through the throat; the fight between Cerdic and Arthur is slightly longer, with Arthur stabbing Cerdic a final time after Cerdic has whispered Arthur's name.


Soundtracks

Song of the Exile
Lyrics and Arrangement by Caitlin Matthews

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Adventure | Drama | History | War

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