We are fresh back from watching Guy Ritchie’s latest film, King Arthur – The Legend of the Sword. We had been busy this last weekend with Nerd Fest 2 and some other geeky business so this was our first chance seeing the movie. I’ll have to say, my expectations were low…not because of Guy Ritchie, in fact I’m a pretty big fan of his work, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch are two of my favorites. Ritchie certainly played similar notes found in his earlier films with this script. I think the reason I wasn’t hyped to see this movie in the first place were the trailers. It seemed to be a very “street Level” back to basics telling of the Arthurian legend. There certainly were some very gritty parts and the liberties taken with the Queens’ English make it very apparent you were watching a SKA production. However the mystical side of King Arthur’s legend is alive and well in this new movie. I was more than pleasantly surprised with the grandeur and imaginative ways Guy played with some of the established tropes of the sword and the stone folklore.
Without giving too much away, the core story is there…and it is one you are familiar with, but that is where it stops. Characters you expect to see are absent, and interesting new characters and brought forth. The creative license taken with the film felt more out of wanting to pay homage to the legend in an original way rather than just “making it his own”. There are some signature Ritchie moments…telling a story, and then RE-telling it with the missing pieces inserted to give you the whole picture (a device used extensively in Man From Uncle) and the rapid fire introduction of characters via a monologue by one of the established players is always a humorous and fun way to catch up on the rest of the cast.
The film failed to meet box office expectations on it’s opening weekend, and that is a huge shame. It is an original take on a story we have all heard and loved before. I suggest you catch it while you can, there are scenes that really need to be enjoyed on a large screen, otherwise you will be reading about this picture in one of our “Upstream” reviews where we plug hidden gems on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. that most people missed in the theaters.
The cast was top notch, Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, and Djimon Hounsou headed up an impressive cast. The production values and sets were grand, and the costumes were beautiful! This really is a great big budget movie that is just having a hard time finding it’s audience. It shouldn’t suffer due to the lack of savvy from the marketing department. It is sad to see creative directors like Ritchie struggle, when hacks like Michael Bay are rewarded as they continue to play it safe with explosion after explosion in the umpteenth sequel to an overused property.
Go out and see King Arthur – Legend of the Sword, you will be happy you did!
photos courtesy of Entertainment Weekly and Warner Bros.