Director: Guy Ritchie
Making a movie that people want to see is very hard work. I can only imagine all the pitches that must take place for every conceivable of by people looking to leave their mark and impress audiences whilst making a buck or two in the process. Although predicting what the people want can be difficult, there are always certain ideas and concepts that make no sense. Ideas so bad, that you can’t fathom a reason as to why a production company would greenlight them to begin with. Such an idea is King Arthur, not simply because it is a not a good movie, but because no one asked for or wanted another King Arthur film of any kind.
Arthur Pendragon (Charlie Hunnam), son of Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana), bares witness to a traumatic event, the death of his father at the hands of his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law). Arthur manages to escape with his life and is ultimately found by prostitutes and raised in a brothel, apparently forgetting everything he saw. The film picks up years later where Arthur is now a street-wise adult and, after a series of events, is confronted with the enemies of his past. Arthur must stand up to villainy and take his rightful place as the one and true King.
There was this film I saw as a teenager called Ravenous, about a group of soldiers who think that the cure of all ailments lies within the act of cannibalism. It sounds like a cheesy horror movie, but really it isn’t and is actually a pretty good movie. But do you know what I remember most about that film? Not Guy Pierce or Jeffrey Jones or the odd yet interesting plot, no, what I remember was the soundtrack. The soundtrack to the film is awful beyond words, I remember a lot of banjo music, it didn’t fit the film and ultimately made the movie difficult to watch. You see the banjos conflicted with the style of the film, it just didn’t make sense and basically ruined the movie. Guy Ritchie is the banjo in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, his frantic camera shots and constant flashbacks or flash forwards or flash sideways, lots of flashing, worked wonderfully for some of his early films, but here it serves only to distract the viewer. This is not to say that the plot didn’t have many, many issues or that the acting was subpar, but most prominent in the list of problems for this movie is the clash of the source material with the vision of the Director.
The film has a running time of just over 2 hours and yet it felt so much longer, the plot was so drawn out, dialogue so full of exposition that the film just dragged horribly in numerous parts. Ritchie also employed multiple uses of montages in the film to explain some pretty important parts, namely his upbringing and his important quest to unlock the power of Excalibur. It is very odd to say a film drags and yet tell you some parts move too fast, but that is the kind of film this is, it struggles with its tempo. The film had a budget of $175 million, yet many scenes, specifically those involving the power of the sword, seemed like it came from television series rather than a blockbuster movie.
Although I do not think King Arthur was an atrocious movie, I certainly do not think it is a very good movie as this is one of the biggest bombs of the year and it only took about 30 minutes of screen time to see why. If you are a Guy Ritchie fanatic and come to love his style of movie, you may want to give it a go, honestly to anyone else, which is most of you, I would skip it.