KING ARTHUR – LEGEND of the SWORD [Review]: Son of Anarchy.
“MONSIGNOR” TRAVIS MOODY: Bottom line — Guy Ritchie (Snatch) turns what most know as an intimate, medieval classic into a hyper-realized, CGI-swarming war of attrition. No, this isn’t your daddy’s Excalibur. More unfortunately, Ritchie’s hyper-stylized filmmaking tools are actually put into good use in King Arthur‘s second act. The future Round Table Knight’s “gameplan” to bring down the tyranny of Vortigern (another excellent, almost chameleonesque performance from Jude Law) goes through a series of humorous, well-played jump cuts and flash-forwards — signature Guy Ritchie stuff. Remember, where the director typically excels is with his signature hyper-stylized ensemble strategies–especially with that of a ragtag bunch who enjoy ribbing as much as killing (see: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Really, go see it!). Here, Djimon Houston‘s reaction shots are the stand-out.
It’s also in this middle portion of the film where both Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) and the film find their footing, before Jax’s plausible camera comfort and Ritchie’s comrade banter excellence all come to an overblown CGI-crashing, deus ex magechina straining hault. In addition to a smorgasbord of fantastical ridiculousness–that goes far more hand-in-hand with that of a J.R.R. Tolkien tale and not, say, T.H. White–King Arthur fails through Ritchie’s roller coaster choice of a video game-infused hyper-realistic shooting style over his arguably far more enjoyably hip and deliberate hyper-style. But hey, at least the film somehow managed the impossible: David Beckham looks ugly. 2.5/5 Arthurian Bibles.
“TRAVELING NERD” LANCE PAUL: The bottom bottom line — I couldn’t agree more. Ritchie’s hyper-realized feel had me, at times, hyper-nauseated. King Arthur had more jump cuts and out-of-place directorial choices than an adderall’d out, Red Bull drunken preteen. Couple that, with Dungeons and Dragons monsters ripped from the pages of a b-level fantasy novel. No heavy spoilers, but once the heavy, 5-story sized elephants attack Camelot within the first 10 mins, even blind townselders could see this LOTR ripoff coming. This is a movie that rides on the middle act — a place where the actors and actresses shines most, and Guy’s knack for flair also melds well with the storytelling; a nifyy cross between Robin Hood and Ocean’s Eleven, if you will.
But that isn’t Arthur. That notion is clearly the most glaring issue with this retelling. How Arthurian can a film be without Merlin? I mean sure, we could have made Star Wars with out Obi-Wan or Yoda; but that’s not freakin’ Star Wars. Ritchie does try to placate us with a, though beautiful, stilted-acted replacement for Merlin in the form of a mysterious mage (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey.) Her wooden on-screen moments and near zero chemistry with Charlie Hunnam hurt every scene she was involves in. Was she “Mage” Marian? We may never know. 2/5 Where’s Merlin Books.