King Arthur: Legend of the Sword15¦ 3D Blu-ray, DVD
When British director Guy Ritchie looks into a project, whatever it may be, he has to put a spin on it. Take the legend of King Arthur, as he has done here. For Guy, the story of a king and a powerful sword isn’t quite enough; what if you add a Lord of the Rings vibe, with a hint of Game of Thrones? Nice one.
Now the whole Arthur legend is said to have originated in folklore, so it’s a bit like Jesus in that respect. And just as his story arc has changed over the years, so has Arthur’s. He’s fair game then for the likes of Ritchie to recreate the tale with a hefty amount of artistic license. And boy does he pour it on.
Once upon a time there were two brothers, Uther (Eric Bana) and Vortigern (Jude Law). Uther was not only king but also popular. This put Vortigern’s nose out of joint, so much so that he decided he wanted his brother out of the equation. He had word with some moat slags – sorry, hags – and they said they would help in out, but in return for a favour; for the power to overthrow his brother, they would need a sacrifice. Without thinking twice, he offers his wife.
Just as he’s about to wipe out his king sibling, Uther manages to smuggle his son young Arthur out of the picture. Arthur is adopted by some lovely whores, who adopt him and raise him in their whore house.
Arthur (Charlie Hunnam), now a grown man, has managed thus far to stay off the radar of his loopy uncle. This doesn’t last for long however, as Vortigern, obsessed with capturing the real heir to the throne, rounds up all the young men in the land for a test that only one man can pass.
Unfortunately Arthur does get caught by Vortigen’s men, and has to undergo said test – to pull a certain sword out of stone. And to his surprise, out it pops. And that’s when the aggro really kicks in.
This is Guy Ritchie's version of King Arthur viewed through geezer glasses. In other words, it's Lock, Stock and One Arthurian Sword. It's full of blokes, having bants, and then stepping outside to have some. If you're expecting a faithful representation of this often told folklore, well, you're having a laugh aren't you? You do know it's directed by Guy Ritchie, right?
There are two surprises that comes from watching this film, the first being the starry cast, which includes Jude Law, Eric Bana, Djimon Hounsou, Neil Maskell and Littlefinger Aidan Gillen. Not too shabby, really. All really shouldn't be doing it, as their appearance won't be doing their careers any good at all, but probably having fun nonetheless.
And the only other real surprise is that Vinnie Jones isn't in it. Or the Stath for that matter. David Beckham has a cameo, and his appearance overshadowed the film's release itself, which is a strong indication to the overall quality production.
One major disappointment is the lack of a strong female characters. The token female role was given to Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, whose appearance doesn't even merit a real name, only going by the Mage. And her contribution isn't exactly magical.
Still, there's a peculiar, almost endearing cockney charm here, that makes this ludicrous effort almost worth watching. And the silliness aside, Ritchie's technical abilities, mainly in the film's editing, are a reminder that there is talent there, you just have to slap it around a bit to make it visible.
Now if only Ritchie did Jesus Christ Superhero! next.