I have a hard time believing that any movie reviewer could have liked “King Arthur”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0349683/. A truly awful movie, this picture can be added to the list of self-conscious pseudo-epics that will be remembered by history only for how much they cost and how little money they made.
It’s almost difficult to think of all the ways in which King Arthur was awful. However, since this is my blog, I’ll do it. The first error was in the basic concept. Most people know the story of Arthur and his knights, so retellings of that story have a built-in audience. The success of The Lord Of The Rings also suggests that, culturally, there are enough people who like the idea of knights running around and accomplishing great quests to justify making a movie about it. So a fairy tale is a great idea. But _King Arthur_ is no fairy tale. This movie is billed as “The untold true story that inspired the legend,” and, when legend is inovlved, telling the truth is rarely a good idea. In this case, the truth takes us too far from the legend to allow any connection between the two. Arthur the Roman? Lancelot the nomadic Eastern European? Guinevere the blue-painted Celtic warrior woman? Merlin the almost entirely absent from the plot? That doesn’t work. Apart from a sword called, for no particular reason, Excalibur, and a table that is, also for no particular reason, round, there’s no connection between the story told here and any legend with which anybody but a Ph.D. in history is familar. So the value of the legend is lost, but the script does not recognize that it is so. Little introduction is provided for most characters, little do we learn about them; the script expects us to care about Gawain and Galahad even though their names are spoken only once and their identities are established not at all. Call the King Jim, call his retainers Alonso, Raul, Bitsy and O’Flaherty, it would have made no difference at all in how the movie worked.
The next big error was in the script. All of the script. Lacking conversation, all interaction between characters was carried out through weighty declamations. Not only was each speech more absurd than the last, none gave us any insight into the characters’ motivation, apart from the desire of our Knights of the Round Table to go home to Sarmatia, which is somewhere in Eastern Europe who cares.
Thanks to this horrible, impersonal script, the movie appears to plod along at all but the very most exciting moments. There’s no suspense at any time, and many side plots that should serve to add interest seem to proceed for no reason, filled with characters who behave with no noticeable motivation. While the movie is only slightly more than two hours, it seems like four.
The cinematography is no better; clearly, the prerequisite for shooting this movie was to watch Braveheart about 470 times. But watching the same, derivative shots over and over again gets boring quickly, and the incessant slo-mo hero shots simply serve to make somewhat entertaining events seem absurd and overblown.
So: overblown, senseless, plodding bad movie. No worse than _The Patriot_, right? Well, there were a couple of good fight scenes, it’s true. But this movie made the biggest summer movie error possible: it destroyed the prospect for a sequel. Yes, (highlight to see the spoiler) they killed Lancelot. How do you have a sequel without the number two character? Of course you don’t.. So, sadly, sequel forsaken.
Disney appears to be taking a bath on this picture. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer may well survive this fiasco; but you shouldn’t waste your time on it.