King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Release Date: May 12th, 2017
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, and Eric Bana
Hollywood has run out of ideas: this we know. Sequels, prequels, and reboots have taken over the silver screens for the last two decades, leaving us little in the way of originality. Can you believe that a movie like the 1984 Ghostbusters was an original concept? These days I'm surprised if something isn't a sequel or adaptation. Sometimes they do a great job, sure, but one of the things Hollywood can't seem to get right are legends (like King Arthur and Robin Hood) an, for some reason, late 19th-early 20th Century properties (see: John Carter, Tarzan, Conan, etc.). King Arthur is one of those properties that everyone has a passing familiarity with, and there are so many layers and facets to the story that it has been told and retold in so many imaginative ways that a new movie should be able to grasp on to something and succeed. That being said, King Arthur rarely does well in film, usually offering better material in limited TV series, and even then it's rarely perfect. So maybe Guy Ritchie, who made a very stylish and entertaining "reboot" of Sherlock Holmes, could revitalize this difficult and over-used property.
In the world of Ritche's King Arthur, humanity has learned to live alongside mages, which are people with magic powers. For some reason, mages aren't considered the same as humans, but the how and why is never really explored, nor how someone is shown to be a mage (do you learn to become one? Are you born one? What's the deal?). Anyway, men and mages got along until the evil sorcerer Mordred sends his armies against Camelot and its ruler, King Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana). Uther successfully defeats Mordred using the power of his magic sword Excalibur, which was created by Merlin (who never appears in the entire movie, except as a shadowy figure in a flashback). Not long after his success, Uther's brother Vortigern (Jude Law) plans a coup, killing Uther and his wife as their son, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam), escapes by boat. Arthur's boat travels to Londinium, where he's picked up by prostitutes and raised in a brothel. Over time he grows up on the streets, learning kung fu and creating his own gang. I am not making this up. Meanwhile, Excalibur makes itself known by reappearing inside a large stone, and Vortigern, knowing that Arthur is probably still alive and in hiding, sends for all men of a similar age to try and pull the sword from the stone. Arthur does, he's almost killed, then he escapes, and some other nonsense happens, and some more random stuff, blah, blah, blah, a giant snake appears and starts crushing bad people (again I am not making any of this up), stupid stuff happens, roll credits, what the actual hell.
If that ending description seems confusing and unfocused, welcome to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
This movie is garbage. It is without a doubt one of the worst modern films I have seen in a long time, and I saw Assassin's Creed back in December. Oh and hey, guess what this movie has in common with all the other crappy movies I've reviewed for Geekundspiel? They all have opening text introductions! I'm telling you people, it's a thing.
And it's not just one thing that's terrible, it's almost as if this film was handcrafted to suck. This is an artisanlly-made bad movie. Acting? Atrocious, especially Arthur's mage companion (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey), the only real woman character in the film. Script? Convoluted clichéd nonsense. Cinematography? Dark and gloomy and ugly. Editing? It's the most obnoxiously edited trash ever. The film can't even keep its characters in the same location: the amount of times Arthur or some other character finds themselves in some bizarre fantasy dimension apart from the real world is too often to count, and trying to keep track of what's happening becomes a tedious chore.
At times the movie tries to play itself off as some kind of heist film, showing an interview with a guard as if they were being interrogated by a police officer and being fed a story. Arthur himself comes off as a 90's antihero who thinks he's too cool for this movie, acting like an obnoxious jerk the entire film. Guy Ritchie should have made a decision between Lord of the Rings, Snatch, Ocean's 11, and A Knight's Tale, because his attempt to combine them has only created an overly CGI'd, poorly executed mess. The only saving grace in this film are some really cool fight scenes and CGI designs of the bizarre demon-knight figure that Vortigern turns into (by the behest of some disgusting yet cleverly designed sea witches), which looks like something off of a heavy metal album or a Dark Souls video game. Other than that, the CGI is amateurish and disappointing. One scene has an enormous eagle saving Arthur, and it looks like something from 2003 instead of 2017.
This movie is a hodge-podge pile of poorly edited nonsense, with an awful script and B-level plot. Do not go see this movie. Do not waste your time or money on it. Do not rent it, do not stream it, just do what everyone will eventually do and forget it exists until next year's Razzie's.