Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he li... Read allRobbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.
Before I expound further, let me say this: if you like the movie's trailers, like a fair bit of action but don't particularly care about how every bit of it fits into a story, don't particularly care about the traditional legend(s) of King Arthur, like a bunch of fantasy mixed in, and plenty of (now run-of-the-mill) CGI, you might like this movie. Reading further may unnecessarily dissuade you from watching it.
Of course, if you've seen the trailers, you know that there really are (ridiculously large, CGI) elephants in the film. The other, proverbial, elephants in the room are how far the movie strays from the legendary King Arthur story.
Now, in fairness, legends (King Arthur, in this case) being what they are, it is difficult to know where reality ends and fantasy begins. Nonetheless, even though the legend has changed somewhat over the years (as legends are wont to do), this movie bears little resemblance to the story that moviegoers familiar with Arthur will expect.
Merlin? Rendered unimportant and replaced by a (gender-PC?) beautiful female mage, who remains nameless. (I suppose the lack of a name was supposed to lend some air of irresistible mystery to her. It failed, miserably.) (sigh)
Bedivere, the handsomest of Arthur's knights (almost in the entire land), one-handed, he of the muscular build? Well, at least he had the build. Some, including Bedivere, were obviously cast in a fit of PC multiculturalism. Please. Save it for where it makes sense.
Guinevere? Lancelot? Missing. David Beckham managed to land a spot, though. Go figure.
I read Ritchie's bio here on IMDb. It's stated there that Ritchie thought film school graduates made "boring and unwatchable" films. His disdain for the work of others seems to go beyond those who've studied film art. Huh. That doesn't stop Ritchie from leaning on the creations of others to sell a flick.
Ritchie has a flashy -- often manic -- presentation style. I'll give him some benefit of doubt in presuming that he does so in an effort to create a sense of action. Unfortunately, it often serves more to make stories incoherent.
In watching Richie's Sherlock Holmes re-imaginings, I couldn't shake a feeling of Ritchie's lack of respect for Doyles' Holmes. I get the same sense of lack of respect for traditional tales of King Arthur.
I could go on and on, picking the film apart, but all of it boils down to the simple appearance that Ritchie is simply capitalizing on the popularity of someone else' story -- King Arthur and the legend of Excalibur -- by using the name in the title, then remaking the entire story to suit a flight of his fancy.
Ritchie might as well have just left the sword out of the story and dropped the name of Arthur from the story -- and title. Then he could have gone anywhere he wanted with the story without disappointing moviegoers drawn in by the title. It might have stood on its own as a fair (by no means great) action/fantasy film. As a retelling of the King Arthur legend, it is a disappointment.
On second thought, considering Richie sold the idea to the movie studio as King-Arthur-meets-The-Lord-of-the-Rings, perhaps he should have just named the movie accordingly. Then the Tolkien influence (and the use of Tolkien's oliphants) would make much more sense. Then, too, moviegoers would know better than to expect a movie simply about the King Arthur legend, which the current title implies.
- May 24, 2017