Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Honsou
Director: Guy Ritchie
Running Time: 126mins
Aaaand, we’re back!
This time with the legendary/fantasy epic-cum-East End Gangster film; that is Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword!
As the title suggests, this take on the King Arthur legend; focuses on the legendary sword Excalibur and the power which it possesses. In this rendering; the powers of Excalibur have been linked to the blood line of Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana); father to Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) and brother to the jealous and vengeful Vortigern (Jude Law).
Now, think of the movie baby of Troy, Green Street and The Lion King and you can get an idea of the feel of this film as well as see the initial story; jealous uncle takes out the noble King and sets his sights on the rightful heir to the throne. However, that my friend; is where the cliches end and where the real fun begins.
Ritchie has managed to take the Arthurian legend and adapt it in a way that it is both modern ridiculously entertaining. Arthur for example, lives in Londinium a few days ride from Camelot which gives the whole thing a time frame that was never really established before. Magic is explained as a contained entity that is manifested through powerful individuals called Mages and while the infamous Merlin is mentioned; he plays no major part. Instead, Ritchie has focused on the sword’s power as well as the devil-may-care but good natured soul of Arthur, which Hunnam executes perfectly.
While Arthur, in the beginning has no understanding of who and what he is; by the time he comes into his own and accepts the power of the sword (this scene is probably the best part!); he does so in a way that is believable and current. The character that was built up prior to his ascension; is maintained throughout the film and you are able to sympathise with his reluctance as well as rejoice in his acceptance of his birthright.
The only let down of the film is probably the heavy use of SFX in a few of the fight scenes. While I realise that these were used to highlight the magnitude of the sword’s powers; the final battle for example goes very quickly and is hard to follow. While SFX are used well in some parts; at one point it looked weird like when Neo had to fight all the Agent Smiths in The Matrix Reloaded and his body went all funny looking! Other than that, everything else works amazingly well.
While I’m not a huge fan of Jude Law, he plays a decent villain in this film. Quiet and refined though innately petty and cruel; he does very well. There is a scene in which there are some cleverly placed props and gestures that remind you of a certain German dictator. While creepy; so so good! The supporting cast of British talent including Aiden Gillen aka Peter Baelish from Game of Thrones; encompass the Kray era/Merry Men attitude to the film and make it an incredibly hilarious and entertaining watch. Arthur’s advisor and link to his royal lineage in Sir Bedevere (Djimon Honsou) provides copius amounts of banter that will have anyone giggling. The soundtrack is spectacular and the use of alternative camera angles and SFX takes you on an a exciting journey that has you hooked from the very beginning.
Lastly, if all the reasons above havent made you want to see it then the fact that David Beckham is in it should do the trick!
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is out May 8th.