Quick Hit: So much better than I thought it was going to be.
After watching the most recent flailing attempt at a mythical movie, The Legend of Hercules, I wasn’t exactly excited to go see what I saw as another gritty, realistic reboot of a film. I slouched into my comfortable seat in the theater, pulled my free hat over my face, and attempted to snooze while awaiting the film to start. Eventually, I broke down, got up, and bought an ICEE. As I walked back into the theater, I hurried to my seat, because the lights had dimmed and the movie was starting. And what greeted me was a movie that was much better than I thought it was going to be.
Unlike Hercules, Arthur knows what it is. It’s a story about magic (wizards are now called mages, and seem to be a race of people), about power, and about moving on from your past. It tells a story that we know pretty well – King Arthur and his famous sword Excalibur – and turns it so that we don’t know everything about the story. It even gets us to subtly doubt our hero – not very much, but some. And in doing so, it also presents some extremely humorous moments.
For instance, there are quite a few scenes where Arthur (superbly played by Charlie Hunnam) simply explains events. And somehow, despite the movie being about a woman that can inhabit and control animals, and a man with a super-powered sword fighting against his demon-like uncle – they are the best scenes in the movie. The wizardry (excuse the unintended pun) of his tongue, while simply allowing people to draw their own conclusions, is masterfully executed. And Jude Law, who has long been floundering across the Rom-Com circuit while occasionally playing into gems like AI: Artificial Intelligence, is at his campy best here. He knows that he has to overhype his character, because otherwise why would you hate him so much?
Even Eric Bana is in this – somehow still reminding me of Ang Lee’s Hulk.
The action scenes are really good. There are parts that are indicative of the influence – you can see 300 in the slow motion scenes with the sword – but they aren’t so derivative that you lose the feeling of Arthur. The only action that I was disappointed with was how quickly Arthur found his way through the Dark Lands. I understand that the movie was already two hours long, but these giant animals and this voyage could have been an entire movie by itself.
My favorite part was the score. Holy moley was it good. I would probably by this, and I don’t really buy soundtracks that often for films that aren’t musicals. Led Zeppelin has never been used to such dire effect. And, somehow they took music that sounded exactly like Game of Thrones and made it its own. That’s pretty impressive in and of itself.
Speaking of GOT, (which still isn’t on) there are a couple of people that pop up in this. The first to be prominent is Michael McElhatton. If you’re wondering who that is, it’s Roose Bolton! However, the one who plays a more prominent role is Aidan Gillen, know to us as Littlefinger and those in the Arthur verse (make no mistake – I expect sequels) as Goosefat Bill. He’s almost the same character, with a little more fight in him physically.
Overall, I would recommend King Arthur: Legend of the Sword to people. It’s got some good action, good humor, an easy, recognizable story, and a great score. I’m giving it a “B”.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"