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ALAN'S BLOG | ARTHURIAN BRITAIN PENDRAGON FILM PROJECT FORUM

 

Below is a review of the film and if you would like to give your own opinion on King Arthur then visit our forum. There are now more photos available and to read a version of the script please e-mail scpendragon@yahoo.co.uk.

It was a cause for great excitement when I first heard this film was being made. However, I did have my reservations when I realised that it was being put together by Jerry Bruckheimer productions as I had the feeling that the movie would be more about making money than succeeding in delivering a credible film on the possible life of the semi-historical King Arthur. As I feared I was ultimately disappointed by the movie. Don't get me wrong it was fairly entertaining, with well-staged battle scenes (Still poor when compared to Gladiator and Braveheart) and some visual quality, but it never came close to portraying Arthur and his people in the manner that I had hoped for.



Cast
Stephen Dillane ... Merlin
Clive Owen ... Arthur
Hugh Dancy ... Galahad
Ray Stevenson ... Dagonet
Mads Mikkelsen ... Tristan
Joel Edgerton ... Gawain
Ioan Gruffudd ... Lancelot
Keira Knightley ... Guinevere
Ray Winstone ... Bors
Stellan Skarsgard ... Cerdic  
Til Schweiger ... Cynric
Ken Stott ... Marius Honorius
Ivano Marescotti ... Bishop Germanius
Sean Gilder  ... Jols
Pat Kinevane ... Horton
Lorenzo De Angelis ... Fulcinia

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The main problem with this film was not just the poor characterisation and the unambitious story line but that it was supposed to be based on new historical evidence. While it is true that the Roman Empire of the early fifth century did enlist soldiers and units from border tribes like the Sarmatians, it is unlikely that they were ever posted as far away from Rome as Britain. It is most likely that Sarmatian soldiers were posted in Sarmatia as a Roman defense against their enemies.

The makers of this movie had the audacity, when marketing King Arthur, to suggest that it was 'the untold true story that inspired the legend.' However, this sort of claim is undermined by including characters from Arthurian medieval legend like Lancelot, Merlin, Galahad and Bors. The acting also is weak and even the normally excellent Clive Owen comes across as almost wooden in his portrayal of King Arthur. Stephen Dillane looks good as Merlin as do those playing the Saxons, but the characterisation of Lancelot, Bors and others, just undermines the fairly reasonable cinematography and the decent score by Hans Zimmer. My only defence of this movie would be that it is good to see an Arthurian story that takes place in the Dark Ages and not in a medieval setting. It is also likely that a mainstream movie like this will get people interested in British history, but that does not take away the fact that Antoine Fuqua's film is neither good as a history lesson or as an entertaining cinematic experience.

Review by John Hume

 

 

 

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Revised: March 31, 2010 .