King Arthur (2004) Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Joel Edgerton, Ray Winstone, Keira Knightley Movie Review

King Arthur (2004)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Clive Owen in King Arthur (2004)

Arf an Arthur

As a half Roman, Arthur (Clive Owen) ended up in the Roman army and rose to the ranks of a Cavalry Officer, in charge of a small group who have been defending Hadrian's Wall from the rebels. Believing that they are soon to be relieved and allowed to leave the damp lands of Briton for warmer lands they find themselves sent on a mission to rescue a prominent Roman official and his family. But what they discover is intolerable cruelty as the Roman official tortures the pagans. Freeing one by the name of Guinevere (Keira Knightley) and taking her with them she helps to try and bring piece between the Britons and Saxon armies.

Oh where is the Arthur, the Knights, Merlin and round table which I know, yes I may not know a great deal about the legend of Arthur but they are the things which make the story familiar. Whilst there is a glimpse of a round table in this version of "King Arthur" this is not the tale of legend I would have loved to watch and not the entertaining action movie which the artwork portrayed it to be. Oh yes there is still action but it frequently feels too artistic than realistic and that gives this a feel of being pretentious.

Keira Knightley in King Arthur (2004)

But that is the trouble when you have talented director Antoine Fuqua delivering a movie which is not set on the gritty streets. For some reason when he goes epic action he become all about the look, the sharpness of the snow slowly floating down around the characters and the way the river becomes blue under the moonlit sky. There is no denying that "King Arthur" borders on the visually stunning at times, focusing on the coldness of the season but it all feels manufactured. I would rather have a movie which gives up on some of the visual detail in favour of a better story and less indulgent pacing.

What it means is that whilst "King Arthur" has an impressive cast lead by Clive Owen the talent on offer ends up going to waste because too many scenes are about the look and with that comes posturing. It is not just the look which makes the acting wrong as the dialogue also comes up short and at one point the ribbing between then men comes close to including jokes about yo' mamma. It may well entertain a young crowd or those just wanting a good looking movie with a good looking cast but it was wrong for me.

What this all boils down to is that "King Arthur" disappointed not just because it wasn't the sort of movie I had expected it to be but also because the movie it is ends up too pretentious and too focused on the look rather than making the story an entertaining experience.