In the film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword the world of wizards, mages, knights, and kings form the legend of the sword Excalibur. With a different perspective than I had originally thought, Guy Ritchie’s world has Mordred as the enemy wizard in the midst of destroying King Uther Pendragon’s kingdom and his brother in-law Vortigern waiting for his chance at the crown. The film has merit and a strong supposition, but be forewarned it’s not consistent with early legends.
To set up the film’s storyline; after the death of his father, Uther (Eric Bana), young Arthur Pendragon (Yannik Baker) escapes the clutches of his Uncle Vortigern (Jude Law). He is taken in by three women who happen to live at a brothel. Raised in that environment young Arthur learns the ways of the streets. When he reaches adult years, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) gets a chance to pull the sword from the stone where it has been since being dashed into the ground. As the legend goes this is where he is discovered to the true king and must find a way to win back the throne from his nemesis Vortigren who now possesses it.
So begins a tale of revenge and retribution with many key figures brought to light. Director, Guy Ritchie does a great job with the special effects, establishing the scenery, setting, and action scenes. He and his team went further with the use of CGI and special effects detailing the fortresses, battles, giant elephants and the locations that makes the story bold and exciting. However, Ritchie’s different perspective of the story gives another viewpoint of King Arthur’s origin, but lacks the details from the original legend to truly convince the dedicated Excalibur fantasy fan.
If you are familiar with Richie’s Sherlock Holmes movies, you’ll see one of his iconic filmmaking techniques by revealing key scenes before they happen. I liked the way he used it in Sherlock Holmes because he was a detective and deducing how a situation would go, but here it’s more of a distraction especially given the era and classic story being shown on the screen. Your comments are always welcome.
Charlie Hunnam takes on the challenge of showing the strength and power of Arthur and does a good job. I like him in this role as he carries some of the angst that he developed in the role of Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy. He uses it to show brute strength and sword fighting skills. Next for him is the remake of the classic film Papillon. I don’t know if he can overshadow movie greats Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, but I’m anxious to see the film when it gets released.
Astrid Bergès-Frisbey plays a Mage that helps Arthur learn and understand Excalibur’s power. She does a convincing job of bringing her character to the screen. Along with Arthur’s friends Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou), Percival (Craig McGinlay), George (Tom Wu), Wet Stick (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Bill (Aidan Gillen), Rubio (Freddie Fox), and Back Lack (Neil Maskell), the cast makes the film work.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content and brief strong language. The special effects are fantastic, acting terrific, yet the storyline is only interesting at best. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have some scenes that are inappropriate for youngsters.
CRITIC’S FINAL THOUGHTS: The creative story is best for its special effects and action sequences.
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen, Freddie Fox, Craig McGinlay, Tom Wu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Annabelle Wallis.
Directed and screenplay co-written by: Guy Ritchie
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Action
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content and brief strong language
Running Time: 2 hrs. 6 min.
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Released in: 2D and 3D