King Arthur: Legend of the Sword; A royal mess
For some inexplicable reason, people are interested in the lives of Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton. This idea that just because of no other reason than birth, entitles someone to a life of wealth, fame and literal royalty is so foreign in our country. That is unless, of course, your last name is either Clinton or Bush. Whatever the reason for the continual interest in royalty, one ancient tale of kings and queens continues to mystify and intrigue. And as such, a new film about this archaic tale opened this past weekend.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is the tale of the mythical king’s journey to becoming the King of England. Despite being the son of the king and the heir to the throne, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is robbed of his birthright. In coup orchestrated by his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law), Arthur’s father and mother are both killed as Vortigern seizes the throne.
However, prior to his father’s murder and after catching wind of the planned overthrow, Arthur is sent away to live with the commoners. From that point forward, Arthur’s life consists of running the streets, getting into fistfights and stealing everything needed in order to survive. It’s not until an unexpected occurrence, when Arthur extracts Excalibur from the stone, that his true identity is revealed. Encouraged by his lowly band of brothers, Arthur soon hatches a plan that sends him on his way to claiming that which is rightfully his: the throne of England.
As far as story structure is concerned, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is pretty much a mess. The pacing of the story is laughably bad as it sprints from one frenzied action sequence to another, never allowing the audience to catch its breath. Additionally, except for Arthur and to a much lesser extent, Vortigern, the characters aren’t developed at all. The story concentrates on the adversarial relationship between Arthur and Vortigern, not spending even so much as a scene depicting Arthur’s relationship with any other character. The film also introduces aspects of mysticism and the occult, but never explains what’s going on or who is actually pulling Vortigern’s strings.
The film also heavily employs the use of computer generated imagining (CGI) for the many mystical beasts that appear on scene. However, the CGI is so poorly done that it actually takes you out of the film. In several instances, a long, drawn-out battle scene has you hooked, you’re on the edge of your seat and then out of nowhere a giant snake pops into frame and gobbles up a character. It’s totally unexpected, and wholly unnecessary.
While a mildly enjoyable film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is more style than substance, making for a mess of a film. 2.5 out 5.