Sunday, May 14, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword - Movie Review

The Movie: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

The Director: Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes)

The Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Aiden Gillan

The Story: Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.

The Review:
Guy Ritchie has a very distinct style that always comes across in a very bold and visually stnning way, no matter what type of movie he makes. The stories he tells are often just as bold and in your face as how he makes them and, in this case, all of it works in a perfectly gratuitous way. The idea for this movie was to take the legend of King Arthur, emphasize and exaggerate all of the fantasy elements, and then turn it into the type of franchise that Warner Brothers could use for years to come. While I'm not sure if the studio will be able to get the film enough traction to send it down that road, Ritchie's movie is a surprisingly entertaining trip through the genre and is equal parts Lord of the Rings, Beastmaster (the original), Robin Hood (The Kevin Costner version), and Willow.

The art department does a really good job of recreating the time period while also seamlessly adding in tons of fantasy elements, some of which are just super crazy fun to watch play out on screen. Honestly, there is little in the way of originality when it comes to the look and feel of the film but that actually works to its advantage because you have a comfort level or familiarity in place when the real gonzo stuff starts happening. Now that special effects technology has risen up and settled in to the point that it is at now, it seems like film makers are getting back to telling fun stories with it instead of throwing a bunch of stuff on screen just for the sake of doing it.

While the cast may have benefited from a little more star power, it is pretty solid across the board and this may be the best I have seen from Charlie Hunnam in any of his movie roles. Even with average material to work with, I got the sense that the cast was very much aware of the type of movie they were making and just ran with it. Jude Law is appropriately evil as the film's antagonist and it was interesting to see Djimon Hounsou working with this type of material as he pretty much looks exactly the same as he did 17 years ago in Gladiator.

The Verdict:
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is much better than you have been led to believe. It is epic in scale, delivers on just about everything you would want from a movie that was designed to kick off a major fantasy franchise, and it's a lot of fun in the process. There is nothing ground breaking or earth shattering, it's just a really good bit of escapism and a must see on the big screen.

I did not see the movie in any premium format so not able to comment on 3D, IMAX, or any of that stuff.

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