Projections - Movie Reviews

King Arthur
King Arthur
Starring Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Mads Mikkelsen,
Joel Edgerton, Hugh Dancy, Ray Winstone

The film touts this version of the King Arthur story is the true legend and not the ones we are all familiar with, such as “Camelot” and “Excalibur.”

Guinevere (Keira Knightly) is depicted as a colorful pagan who decorates herself in warrior paint and takes up bow and arrow to defend her cause. Merlin, instead of the magician we’ve come to know, is instead the leader of the Woad Tribe, who hides out with his men in the woods like a crazed hermit, waiting for the next opportunity to fight the Saxons.

Arthur (Olive Owen) is a brooding hero, who after 15 years of fighting, returns to receive freedom for himself and his weary Knights of the round table, only to be pressed into one more dangerous mission.

He is asked to travel to the other side of Hadrian’s Wall that is overwhelmed by thousands of Saxons, to rescue a young lad who might become a future Pope. It’s a dangerous mission and his men, who now number only a few, reluctantly go along in order to help their respected Arthur.

Once they reach their destination, they find Guinevere shackled in a dungeon, and although she is dirty and injured, she exchanges longing looks with handsome Arthur. Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) also has a few meaningful glances himself, but it never develops into anything more.

Directed by Antoine Fugua (Training Day) and scripted by David Franzoni (Gladiator), the film has the anticipated fight scenes with swords blazing between the “evil:” Saxon leader (Stellan Skarsguard) his equally cutthroat son (Til Schweiger) and Arthur and his men, aided by the Woads.

There is one particular outstanding fight scene that is unlike others I’ve seen, it takes place on a frozen lake. Arthur, and his men and the capable Guinevere stand in the middle of the ice with hundreds of Saxons advancing from the shoreline. Arthur’s arrows reach the Saxons, but theirs do not span the lake to hit Arthur, forcing them to inch closer while the ice strains beneath them. It’s pretty exciting stuff!

Owen is an able actor, fully believable in a leadership role and Knightley is feisty and strong in this new action heroine role.

The story, told amidst snow and mud and hardship, might be a new take on an old theme, but it is a great and energetic adventure that I thoroughly enjoyed.

King Arthur

Home | Search | Reviewer Bios | Links | Mail Us
Copyright © 2005 Projections