What: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Where: At a cinema near you
Who: Guy Ritchie’s very expensive telling of the legend that is King Arthur
When: Opens nationwide today
Why: Go to see the special effects, ignore the stiff acting and bad accents
‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ is Guy Ritchie’s telling of the story of the legendary and some would say mythical life of Arthur who was orphaned at a young age but who became a King and the man who would become synonymous with the Excalibur myth. Charlie Hunnam plays King Arthur in this film which is visually spectacular yet leaves a lot to be desired for it’s silly plot and poor casting choices.
When Arthur’s father the King (Eric Bana) is murdered (in a scene played over and over and over again), his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law in a very meaty role) seizes the crown. But the very young Arthur, who was cast adrift on a boat during the murder, has to grow up the hard way, and from the very beginning is unaware that he is the son of a murdered King. As he grows up, he is helped along the way by a band of warriors, but it’s when he pulls the sword from the stone is his mission clear – he needs to get back the crown from his uncle, no matter at what cost.
No expense was sparred in this film, which cost $200 million to make, and it shows in every clip. From the most amazing costumes to the glorious scenery to the spectacular special effects, and even down to the monsters and serpents that provide this film an amazingly dark and scary and fun tone. We even get to see an old Londonium – shown to great effect. But there are some distractions and poor choices that take you out of the story (and will make you unintentionally laugh). David Beckham’s two minute scene as a soldier who prompts Arthur to pull the sword is disastrous because Beckham can’t act and his voice too soft for the part. Another bit of bad casting are most of the men who make up Arthur’s coterie – they all have geezer accents! It must be a case of Ritchie casting all of his friends to be in the film, and while these men can act, their accents are all alike! And Hunnam, while nice to look at, is a very wooden King Arthur.
But don’t worry about all of this. It will only cost you £15 to watch this film – it’s worthy because it’s a film fully of fantasy and mythology that while doesn’t quite live up to its hype, it is, for the most part, entertaining and escapist – and that’s the experience we all want when we to go the cinema.
All photos provided by Warner Bros.