There was nothing on television worth watching last night, so I took the missus out to see King Arthur, the latest in a sequence of “great hero” movies that appear to be popular this year. beginning with Troy and will presumably end with Alexander later this year.
King Arthur isn’t the middle ages, Arthur in Camelot story that we are all familiar with. Arthur (or Artorius) is a knight of Rome serving in Britain, leading a bad of misfit knights, and preaching a philosophy of equality for all men while fighting for a Rome which has become increasingly decadent. He is asked to save the son of Roman citizen who is being threatened by an army of invading Saxons, and then the Romans will retreat from Britain, leaving it to whatever pagan rabble get the upper hand.
The theme sounds fairly familiar. You can draw similarities between this and the much better movies Gladiator or Braveheart. The movie simply doesn’t have much in the way of character development. Other than Arthur and Lancelot, it’s hard to remember the names of any of his other companions. (Which one was Galahad?) Merlin makes an appearance, initially as a foe to Arthur, but to be honest, fufills no real purpose in advancing the story. Similarly Guinevere makes a similar appearance, but with little emotional impact, although Ms. Knightley does look fetching in body paint.
The quality overall is quite good, with capable camera work, reasonable performances (if somewhat lacking in any depth), and some nice battle sequences. There is nothing to suggest that this movie is close to the top of the genre, but I enjoyed it overall, and give it a rating of 7/10.