Written by Louie Fecou
As I was watching this film, there was something nagging away at the back of my mind that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I think the notion that something was off was initialized by the jarring accents of the characters.
I know this is a Guy Ritchie film, I know he has a style and a flair that is unique to him, but I felt off kilter from start to finish and it stopped me engaging with the film itself.
Now, like a lot of you out there, my knowledge of Arthurian legend probably comes from film and TV shows. I know the basics and I suppose I have a certain preconceived idea of what I want from this story. Now that shouldn’t mean that re-imaginings of classic legends such as this one should just be a re-tread of the greatest hits, but Ritchie has decided that in his version, most of the leads all have London accents. Certain phrases and words just became jarring, would King Arthur really address you as “mate”? Would they really refer to things as being “bollocks” ?
Now I know there is artistic licence, but when accents and speech patterns are taking you out of the mythical setting of the film then surely that’s a problem for the viewer? It became almost a parody of itself at some points to the point I was so distracted, I forgot what was happening in what little plot there actually was.
On top of the script and dialogue issues, there was just too many scenes of lots of people running and shouting at each other in the streets. I know there was a rebellion going on, but how many times did we need to see those vast sweeping shots of lots of people all running recklessly into each other? Maybe by now I was just getting a bit bored with the whole thing.
The effects weren’t that great at the best of times, and lots of the magical aspects were just out of context with what I know of Arthurian legend. The giant elephants and snakes were just silly and the eel ladies were never really given any explanation. Excalibur just reminded me of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, every time he grabbed it I expected a cry of “By the power of Greyskull” and that particular thought just got compounded at the end when the big battle scene had Arthur fighting what looked like a hyped up, smokey Skeletor.
Speaking of hyped up, David Beckham has probably the most pointless cameo in movie history too, I just found myself saying “Why?”. On the plus side, Jude Law holds his scenes together, at least trying to add a little gravitas to the situation, and outshining most of the other leads right across the board.
As we walked to the car i suddenly realised what was bothering me about the whole darn affair. There could have been an opportunity for a Guy Ritchie King Arthur film set in a near, post apocalyptic future, with an oppressive government destroying the country and a call to arms for a King Arthur descendant to find Excalibur and right the wrongs and re-establish the Knights of the Round Table in the process.
Ritchie could have then went full tilt on the whole London geezer routine, and it would have worked perfectly in this context. Just a thought, and if that film does happen, you read it here first.
Rating: 4 out of 10