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King Arthur (DC)
DVD disk
12.21.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
King Arthur (DC) order
Director:
Antoine Fuqua

Actors:
Clive Owen
Keira Knightley
Stellan Skarsgård

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Antoine Fuqua’s highly fictionalized take on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table see Arthur (Owen) and his men battle Saxon invaders for control of what is now Britain, with Merlin and some Wiccans joining the action.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

I don’t think I saw one trailer in theaters that jerked my bunny more than KING ARTHUR’s did over the past year so I was understandably looking forward to this. Unfortunately, it only made the disappointment that much more crushing.  I remember some distinctive thoughts going through my mind while I was watching this film and since there was nothing on screen to distract me from my own thoughts, I remember them clearly enough to state them as they flowed:

“oh boy! I can’t wait!”

“okay, something’s bound to happen soon…”

“aah… is this the poor man’s Braveheart?”

“oh boy! That sucked!”

Not very impressed as you can see and despite a couple of pretty cool fighting sequences, there wasn’t much in there of any substance that could carry a movie for any type of distance. If such a thing existed, I would consider myself a Clive Owen fan but unfortunately he and the others, including the always lovely but highly misused Keira Knightley were given laughable dialogue to work with and Fuqua’s not-so-subtle jabs at the Church were more of an insult to one’s intelligence than beliefs. The Director’s Cut doesn’t add much either except a few bucket loads of blood. One of the most frustrating aspects of the movie was also the gross underuse of some talented actors who played the knights such as Ioan Gruffudd (Lancelot) and Ray Winstone (Bors). I imagine we were supposed to feel for their plight or for the way they had been treated by Rome but so little attention was paid to their development, and in the case of Lancelot, the wrong kind of attention, that it was difficult to even wince whenever they went through any type of difficult situation such as bludgeoning by battleaxes.

All of this however might have been forgiven if the story had actually been told in an entertaining way but aside from a few swordfights, there’s not much save for a caricature of a villain played by Stellan Skarsgård and a very phony, very misplaced relationship between Arthur and Guinevere (Knightley) that really doesn’t bare any resemblance to the legend as it has been known. That relationship also leads the film to culminate into one of the most putrid endings I’ve seen in a good while. I’m not sure where Fuqua will be heading in his next project but after the lack of success of TEARS OF THE SUN and KING ARTHUR, it looks like he might soon be knocking on MTV’s door once again. There are worse movies out there but not many that are more disappointing. I suggest you don’t waste much time on this.

THE EXTRAS

Full-Length Audio Commentary by Director Antoine Fuqua: There's nothing I enjoy less after watching a movie I didn't like than having to sit through it again, this time while listening to the man who delivered two hours of boredom to my own living room. Don't get me wrong, Fuqua himself seems like a good guy but his slow commentary matches his slow movie all too well. It's a pretty standard track in which he discusses everything you would expect from his initial call from Jerry Bruckheimer to the wrap of the shoot. You can watch it with Knight Vision, a full-length pop-up info feature which dishes out relevant information about the film and its making.

Blood On The Land: Forging King Arthur (18 mins): This is the making of  featurette in which the filmmakers and starts show up and discuss the shoot and the story. Again, it's nothing you haven't seen before in terms of casting, filming, writing, etc.

Cast and Filmmaker Round Table (16 mins): An open discussion featuring Bruckheimer, Fuqua, Owen, Knightley, Gruffudd and writer David Franzoni. They seem friendly with each other which leads me to wonder if this was shot before or after they all saw the final product. If I were any of these actors, especially Clive Owen, I'd want a serious word with Franzoni.

Alternate Ending (4 mins): There's an alternate ending which is slightly better than the one in the movie and listening to the optional commentary by Fuqua, he doesn't really seem convinced himself about either but seems to prefer this one. I wonder why it was left out of the Director's Cut?

Producer's Photo Gallery: Bruckheimer did this on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN as well. I guess he basically walks around the set taking pictures of some cool stuff and they're actually pretty good. Only a handful are in this gallery but they led me to ponder what would have happened if he had become a photographer instead... I would never have seen the awesome TOP GUN but neither would I have seen the awful PEARL HARBOR.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
A miss by any account, this movie is simply not worth the time or the disappointing task of wondering what could have been with such a potentially interesting topic. Pass by this one on your next trip to the video store, your time will be better spent watching something else.
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