King Arthur: Legend of The Sword (Review)

King Arthur:

Legend of The Sword

Theatrical Poster

Word Count: 839

King Arthur: Legend of The Sword, is a New Release, the brain-child of Guy Ritchie, Director/Producer, with much help from Screenwriters Joby Harold (Producer), and Lionel Wigram (Producer).

Production Companies1

Story By:

David Dobkin, and Joby Harold.

This is the First Installment, of a Six-Part Production.

Based loosely (very loosely) on the ‘Arthurian Legends’, one is hard presssed, at the outset, to actually fix, intellectually or historically, just what Myth or Legend this Movie was based on.

All three of the above listed men, have a long and fairly bright career in Movie writing and production.

I saw this Movie, May 12th, Opening night. I saw it at the 7:15 Showing in my area. It was poorly populated.

From the outset, like all Guy Ritchie films, one was immediately drawn in by the spectacle, the beautiful Cinematography of John Mathieson, and the tell-tale signs of Magick in the Scenery, make for brilliant Art.

The collective mind-trust, one would think, all coming from the British Isles, and no doubt raised with the Legend of Arthur, would have yielded a stunning story-line, imbued with childhood visions of magick, betrayal, love and Honour. None of this, however, presents itself in a coherent fashion.

This presentation is, truly, a bastardization of the cult of European Myth.

The Movie is replete with Asian Elephants early on, Oriental Masters of martial arts (on the Island of Britain), a African Knight (Sir Bedivere), and another African, playing Tristam, beckons one to seek deeply into his knowledge of British Folklore, if not accessing the race-memory, to come to grips with the truly inescapable realization, that this is a Story from another Mother.

The young Arthur is severed from Uther (played by Eric Bana), his Father, after a fateful encounter with a Demon, Vortigern (played by Jude Law) by another name, the Brother of Uther, the King. Eric Bana was superb.

The now orphaned Arthur shows up in a small boat, covered in furs at, one assumes, is a distant village, not immediately in the thrall of the ‘Black Legs’, a euphemism for the Army of Vortigern. He is taken in by prostitutes, and raised there. While growing up, seen in sequence, the young lad, heir to the Kingdom, becomes the butt of bullies, learns to fight, steal and, presumably, to lie. He deals with the Vikings from the far North, as there is a rich connection with trade and weapons from these tall and burly ‘northmen’. The under-current of inter-tribal power is felt clearly, yet it is a workable relationship based on power, such is reality.

There is no Merlin, no ubiquitous humor from that wizened archetype of knowledge and magic. Replacing him, is the Mage (played by Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), a female magician, who has learned her skills from Merlin. In my opinion, the introduction of this character does not detract fropm the original Myth, yet colours it with yet another change, which reduces further the tenor of the production, of not the essence of the myth.

From the first Scene, we are also introduced to Bedivere, later to become Sir Bedivere (played by Djimon Hounsou), who played a good role in Gladiator. He is also the first major separation from reality…and is to be considered a full-on Cultural appropriation by the Producers and Writers of this Movie, against the root and stock of the Myth, as well as deliberately falsifying the integrity of a true ‘folk-tale’. Self-aggrandizement is the only possible reason for this display; not to mention the personal disrespect for the very Wombs of which these ‘artistic’ men sprung.

Jude Law, in my opinion, gives the absolutely best performance of the entire Production. One feels the visceral jealousy and hatred Vortigern bears against, firstly, Uther, then to Arthur. He murders is own lovely Wife, to satiate the demon-spawn female denizens of the deep underbelly of his castle. This, however, is just the beginning of what he must do, to achieve Power.

The Cinematography is brilliant.

I felt that the CG was a little too much, but was nicely merged with its human counterparts.

This Movie is a shame on many levels, yet is brilliantly done (if you like GR’s style), the Budget of 175m not withstanding. If the plan to create 5 more Movies in this Franchise is to be believed or, indeed, attended, they will have to do much streamlining.

All in all, upon leaving the Theater, I was left quite alone in my thoughts, and none too happy or overpowering. There was no sense of Honour, nor of legacy. This was a movie bereft of Soul.

On another level, the sheer audacity of the constriction of form, that is, from the prime sources available to these Writers, is nothing short of cultural destruction, if not simple deconstruction. Since visuals can and do last a ‘lifetime’, one wonders what the purpose is, really, to introduce a full new generation to the fraud, which is King Arthur: Legend of The Sword?

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Notes:

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