King Arthur: More heavy metal than words


The trailer for director Guy Ritchie’s new medieval movie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, speaks volumes. The expectations were set high from the small tidbits shared across the internet, and it seemed to be a film filled with live action realistic stunts, intense conflict, and humor. Actually witnessing the film, however, was underwhelming and overwhelming to say the least.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword follows the life of abandoned young King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) after the death of his parents. In spite of this, he is raised in the midst of dark alleyways and dangerous cities. Montages, montages, and more montages guide you through the development of Arthur’s life from boy to man, making it hard to follow how he gets from point A to B.

The main climax of the film is when Arthur inevitably pulls the Excalibur sword from the stone, but it’s unclear how he gets to the stone in the first place. The movie as a whole veers away from any discrepancy on how this or that happened or why anything in general happens really. The backstory of King Vortigern (Jude Law) and his rise to power is not discussed, nor is anything remotely discussed about Arthur’s relation to the antagonist until the end of the film, if you didn’t already figure it out.

Charlie Hunnam, most notable for his role as Jax Teller in HBO’s Sons of Anarchy, is undoubtedly an incredible actor, yet it seems with the dialogue he was given, Mr. Ritchie didn’t think so. The script was filled to the brim with one word sentences and snarky comments, but didn’t add any relief to the numerous awkward voids. The minimum use of swears accounted for what could seemingly be authenticity, but when King Vortigern  uses the f-word out of context, it’s a bit of a head scratcher. If Mr. Law’s character wasn’t already maleficent enough, his youthful face mixed with harsh lines was what seemed to break Mr. Law’s typecast of the gentle romantic. Although, Mr. Hunnam’s portrayal of the protagonist was probably the most enchanting of the film. With charm, humor, and looks, the only thing missing was having lines.

While the one good thing among many bad things was Mr. Hunnam, the worst of all was the use of CGI. For a movie that is based on a legendary king, the use of fictional creatures that resemble Nicolas Cage’s horrific Ghost Rider is what is most enigmatic. Jude Law’s alter ego is a literal flaming beast who attempts to defeat King Arthur Sr. (successfully) and King Arthur Jr. (unsuccessfully). Mr. Law’s strange identity only adds more puzzling questions as to why the screenwriters (Guy Ritchie, et al) thought the idea of creating a flaming monster for a medieval themed film was a good idea.

Aside from having the likes of Mr. Hunnam and Mr. Law in the film, the only other saving grace would have to be Djimon Hounsou, who like the rest, barely has any lines, although the few lines given add comedic relief.

Mr. Ritchie’s use of music from Daniel Pemberton expertly adds dimension to scenes, the music heightening in times of conflict, and diminishing in times of sobriety. The only problem is that the music itself has heavy metal celtic vibes, a bit far from the typical medieval movie soundtrack.

Since there is a limited amount of anything scripted, the few things that are scripted seem to be the last positives before you’re brought back to heavy metal music and fast paced slow motion scenes that can seemingly give anyone whiplash.

Rating: 5.5/10 – Too much whiplash, not enough script.