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KING ARTHUR: Legend of the Sword review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on May 15, 2017 at 5:10 AM

Directed by: Guy Richie

Running time: 2 hours 6 minutes

Release date: May 12, 2017

Genre: Drama, Action, Adventure, and Fantasy

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG-13


In a very loosely based tale on King Arthur legends, the legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries A.D. comes a dynamic style epic prequel only acclaimed filmmaker Guy Richie could imagine.  Starring Charlie Hunnam in the title role, the film is an iconoclassic take on the classic Excalibur myth, tracing Arthur's journey from his royalty birth, cast off to the streets, and back to the throne.


If by chance you don't know of King Arthur, his Knights of the Roundtable, Excalibur Sword, his wife Guineviere, or Wizard Merlin the Magician, the details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of British folklore and literary invention.  His historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians, but the sparse historical background of Arthur is gleamed from various sources, including the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, and the writings of Gildas.  Although the themes, events and characters of the Arthurian legend varied widely from text to text, and there is no one canonical version, Geoffrey's Historia (completed in 1138 A.D.), which was adapted from such earlier unknown sources, often served as the starting point for later stories of Camelot.


However, this epic costume drama filled with CGI and special effect medieval romps and fantasy monsters that include big-budget physical stunts and chases with rescues, battless, fights, escapes, destuctive crises (floods, explosions, (un)natural disasters, fires, etc., is a far-out take on the myth.  This film takes off when the 2 year old child Arthur's (Zac Barker) father Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) and mother is murdered, and Vortigern (Jude Law), Arthur's uncle, seizes the crown.  Young Arthur, escapes by being smuggled aboard a small sea vessel that winds up on the shores of the back alleys in the city of Londinium.  As Arthur (now Oliver Zac Barker) is forced to make his way as a thief and beggar on the hard streets, he is taken in by a prostitute in a brothel.  


Once a annual challenge to pulling the Excalibur Sword from the stone, that it is solidly secured in and only released by the rightful heir to the throne, young adult Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) does so.  Instantly confronted by the sword's influence, he is forced to make up his mind to either join the rebellion with a shadowy young woman named Geinevere (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) assisted by Sir Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou) or remain a street hustler.  As the tyranny led by Vortigern becomes intolerable, agrees to join the resistance, but he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons, and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern along with his fantastical montrous demon army - who murdered his parents and stole his crown to become king.


The fantasy scenes takes the audience to netherworld places (another dimension) where events are ulikely to occur in real life - they transcend the bounds of human possibilities and physical laws.  It is a film that have an element of magic, myth, wonder, and extraordinary, appealing to both teenage children and adults.  


KING ARTHUR: Legend of the Sword is a period piece spectacular that includes high production values accompanied by granduer.


FILM RATING (B)





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