Blu-ray Review: ‘King Arthur’

Never have I seen a reimagining of a classic tale spit in the face of its predecessors the way ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ does. They might as well have a title card in the credits that says “F You, This Is A Guy Ritchie Film, Get Over It!” There is no Lancelot in this film. There is no Guinevere in this film. There is less dialogue than Superman utters in ‘Man of Steel’. In fact, most scenes where characters talk to each other are montages. There is next to no real character development for anyone. There is hardly any humor. When there is humor the tone seems to shift from the pits of hell to oddly playful. But most of the time, the film is dark enough that it might need to ask ‘Batman V Superman’ for some levity.

Oh man, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people tell me something was terrible because it was like watching an extended music video. Probably the same amount of times someone told me that a movie sucked because it was like watching a video game. Still, while these are accurate assessments of this film (and ‘King Arthur’ might be the biggest narrative mess I’ve seen so far this year), they had no sway on how much I enjoyed watching it. As a matter of fact, they are partially why I had a quite a bit of fun with this movie.

Honestly, this movie is the biggest kick ass train wreck I’ve seen in a long time. Which is why I can’t help but recommend this jumbled mess to anyone who has previously loved Guy Ritchie films, Zack Snyder films, or even have a propensity for some Michael Bay despite all the sexism. You see, this may be terrible storytelling, but it’s a visually stunning blast of kick ass style over substance. It’s richly manipulative filmmaking from frame to half second frame. And it doesn’t give a shit what you think about it.

The story is dreadfully simple and mostly hinges on a few left out frames to fill in the blanks as you go. Basically, King Uther (Eric Bana) is a bad ass with a sword named Excalibur that he got from Merlin (which we never see). His brother Vortigern (Jude Law) is an evil prick and makes a deal with the devil to steal the throne. Uther is killed fleeing, but his young son Arthur (who will grow up to be Charlie Hunnam) manages to escape. 20 years later, a sword appears in stone and threatens the crown. Arthur lifts the sword, his friends are killed, he denies his destiny, more friends are killed, he eventually accepts his destiny, and finally its epic battle time.

Nothing about this is something that you haven’t seen done better before. The story is hardly any more than another simple revenge tale. But what a visually stimulating time it really is to bare witness too. The scenes with Excalibur being wielded are like ‘The Matrix’ and the rest is like a series of video game cut scenes on steroids. Yet, the film is mostly entertaining. It may be jarring at times, but it’s entertaining. The biggest reason for this is Daniel Pemberton’s insanely awesome score. The percussion heavy mix of tribal beats, Celtic sounds, and strings (that sound like they would go in a heavy metal track) is the pulse of the movie. And when you combine it with the break neck editing you get a pretty consistently stimulating affair.

Own King Arthur: Legend of the Sword on Blu-ray and DVD on August 8 or Own it Now on Digital HD!

Nathan Ligon

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