Based on a more realistic portrayal of "Arthur" than has ever been presented onscreen. The film will focus on the history and politics of the period during which Arthur ruled -- when the Roman empire collapsed and skirmishes over power broke out in outlying countries -- as opposed to the mystical elements of the tale on which past Arthur films have focused. Written by
Ivano Marescotti didn't speak any English when he was cast as Bishop Germanius, and had to learn the language simultaneously as he rehearsed the role. See more »
One of the knights flies a hawk in several scenes. The hawk is a Harris' Hawk from the Americas, which had no commerce with Britain until nearly 1000 years later. See more »
By 300 AD, the Roman Empire extended from Arabia to Britain. But they wanted more. More land. More peoples loyal and subservient to Rome. But no people so important as the powerful Sarmatians to the east. Thousands died on that field. And when the smoke cleared on the fourth day, the only Sarmatian soldiers left alive were members of the decimated but legendary cavalry. The Romans, impressed by their bravery and horsemanship, spared their lives. In exchange, these ...
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There are no opening credits, not even the production company and studio bumpers, only the title. See more »
Jerry Bruckheimer's KING ARTHUR is a shining example of that new breed of mythology adaption. It is similar to Wolfgang Petersen's TROY, in that it dispenses with the supernatural splendour and phantasmagorical intrigue characteristic of traditional tales, and presents the story as (relatively) realistic historical fiction, attempting to convey the "magic" of the story through drama, rather than gaudy special effects.
This is a brave venture by Bruckheimer - and director Fuqua- and they are to be commended for executing it with such style and creativity as is displayed in this film. It has, however, enjoyed somewhat limited success, due to the fact that it presents such a radical interpretation of a story much closer to our hearts than that of the Illiad.
I believe, though, that if the viewer simply opens one's mind and attempts to enjoy the story purely for the sake of itself (forgetting, for the moment, Rosemary Sutcliff and Barbara Leonie Picard), KING ARTHUR will reveal itself as a truly fine piece of film-making.
More than anything else, Fuqua masterfully portrays the atmosphere of the tale, endowing it with a sense of time and place far more eloquent than the rather run-of-the-mill dialogue. The entire experience oozes the ambiance of the early common era, from windswept downs and hills to rugged coasts and snow-cloaked mountains; from the spartan order of a Roman camp to the hellish confines of a torture chamber. Exemplars of this perfectly-presented atmosphere are Arthur's knights(Ioan Gruffud, Ray Winstone, Joel Edgerton, Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy and Ray Stevenson).These are not the chivalrous, couth, pious Christian knights your mum told you about, but rather a troop of barbaric, lecherous, pagan Sarmatian mercenaries. Together (with excellent performances all round, particularly by Winstone, Gruffud and Edgerton) they epitomise the pragmatic, godless, exquisitely human atmosphere of the period. As Gawaine tells a cowering Roman friar in an early scene - "Your God doesn't live here".
The lead actors, too, are outstanding, from Stellan Skarsgaard's sociopathic Cerdic, to the delicious Keira Knightley's dark and beautiful Guinevere. Only Clive Owen disappoints as Arthur himself, lacking the emotion this characterisation requires to supplement his steely resolve.
Despite the lukewarm reception to which it was subjected, KING ARTHUR is a finely crafted and memorable item of film-making. Forget all your preconceptions about King Arthur - just float with it, and let the rich atmosphere engulf you. 9/10.
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