What a rollicking ride of a film King Arthur is! It’s relentless in its pacing while the film packs into its short scenes what could be a feature film of itself in the storyline.
King Arthur is a pure fantasy adventure film. Directed by ex-Mr Madonna, Guy Ritchie, he is also the sharing the writing job with Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram.
Guy Ritchie’s signature style of heavy paced editing is in full abundance. At times, many times actually, there is a lot of style over substance, but yet there are also times of subdued moments where characters breath and interact with each other.
This King Arthur story is of a reluctant hero, growing up and living from the streets, brought up in a brothel, not knowing his true Heritage. He feels he is forced to accept his fate, but he strives to refuse it as he battles with haunting dreams.
The Excalibur sword carries a heavy Burden on Arthur. All the hallmarks of the reluctant Hero’s journey as described in the writings of Joseph Campbell book, (The Hero with A Thousand Faces), its perpetual mythology is what makes a legend; it’s a book that’s influenced many films including Star Wars.
During the action scene moments, you feel you are in another movie, but then are reminded by its juxtaposed mediaeval style that grinds away faster than a Michael Bay movie.
There has of course. been many versions of King Arthurs story, Excalibur in 1981 directed by John Boorman, is a favourite mine. Guy Ritchie’s vision, has a feel of Conan The Barbarian 1982), and the epic-ness of Lord of the Rings.
Taking the helm of King Arthur is actor Charlie Hunnam, best known from the TV series ‘Sons of Anarchy’, and he does a solid job in the role, even with a slightly more modern looking hairstyle, and clothing reminiscent of bomber jacket and leather pants.
As for the other characters, they come across as a bunch of guys, from the street of Guy Ritchie’s earlier films ‘Lock Stock and two Smoking Barrels’ (1998), ‘Snatch’ (2000), and the underrated ‘RocknRolla’ (2008).
Characters that hangout and banter with stylish verve, streetwise wit and grifter intelligence. Jude Law plays the role of Vortigan, the villain king, that takes power through evil means. I can’t really say he stole the show with any real show -stopping scenes, though he does play a convincing portrayal.
Now of course, that important burning question, “Did I like the movie?”. Yes, I did”.
King Arthurs guilty pleasure has won me over. This is a fiendishly entertaining film, it is a visual luscious film, the special effects team worked overtime producing stunning images.
The music soundtrack is powerful, it really engaged me. If I was a teenage boy, I feel I would immerse myself in Ritchie’s indulgence and love this film.
However, me being the adult boy, sees it for what it is, a Rock N Roll film- entertaining, but there is no real breathing space for real drama. Substance overwritten for more, ‘let’s just get on with the fun stuff’.
It is surprising how much is jammed in, what could easily be another feature film worth of material. The editing just goes awol, the cutting room floor must be overwhelmingly drowning in cut scenes and footage.
Sure, this film is not going to win over critics or for that matter majority of audiences, but there is certainly a lot more going for this film than your average blockbuster, in my eyes anyway.
Give it a chance. It is an enjoyable ride if you let it, and certainly a visual feast for the eyes.