Remember Excalibur (1980)? John Boorman’s superb retelling of the Arthur legend in which he kept costs down using graduates from the National Theatre Scool in lead roles. Nigel Terry, who passed away a year ago, was a magnificent, regal Arthur, first seen as a wide-eyed, awkward square, but then he pulls the sword from the stone to become King. Rather than an immediate change, we watch him grow into the decent, good King he becomes, beloved by his knights and subjects. He evolves before our eyes into a fine and good, thoughtful King, betrayed by his best friend Lancelot and wife, Guinevere, sending Camelot into famine and despair. But he rises, one last time to go to war and return the kingdom to wealth and prosperity.
Excalibur (1980) was a rousingly good adventure film, with its knights in chrome suits that sparkled, and a huge round table that the knights sat around to give their young king counsel. There’s more than a bit of awe and wonder with John Boormans ‘ fine film.
The new film, ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’, which owes a great deal to HBO’s Game of Thrones is a bust. Already a box office disaster, it could be the biggest bust of the year.
Yes, it is gritty and looks real, heavily influenced (obviously) by Game of Thrones, but lacking any of the HBO series artistry, passion or excitement, this film is dead on arrival. Stillborn!
Guy Ritchie, in my book, hasn’t proven his mettle yet. How can one forget his collaboration with Madonna, the remake of Swept Away (2002). A terrible film, that is.
The story is close to the previous film, Excalibur (1980) until Arthur pulls the sword from the stone, at which point the film becomes confusing, unfamiliar, even ridiculous with its CGI battles so obviously pixels. Ritchie does love warfare and there are lots of it here, metal clashing and smashing, limbs being hacked off, blood-letting, but not one realistic character. All of this done to fast cut editing, a roaring score, deafening sound effects that drown the dialogue and screams of agony. It is overkill, far beyond what is even acceptable.
The film is populated by all sorts of giant, obviously CGI creatures, the most asinine being the giant elephants that have made their way to merry old England….Geez Louise.
King Arthur as a superhero is what they are going for and what they never some close to achieving. Nigel Terry portrayed him with dignity, grace, and realism.
Charlie Hannan, has zero screen presence as Arthur, like none, so how can we become the least bit interested? He moves through the film like an invisible ghost, barely there at all. He simply lacks the skill to pull off what needs a charismatic actor, someone interesting, exciting.
When I left the theater I felt like I had just experienced the world’s worst video game. It is awful but more than anything else, wasted my time, and that I never get back.