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King Arthur - The Director's Cut (Widescreen

Military & War movie directed by Antoine Fuqua

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When Legend And History Collide

  • May 26, 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed "King Arthur." Sure, we can all haggle over history (or legend, as the case may be) but what this film boils down to is that it is an action yarn that's littered with historical and legendary tidbits about one of the greatest legends of our time, King Arthur. Clive Owen takes up Excalibur as our hero this time, and he leads a group of Samatian knights against the Woads and then the Saxons to set his people free. Galahad, Tristan, Gawain and others ride with Arthur and face death with not even the slightest bit of fear. In this version, Guinevere and Lancelot only flirt for a minute, so don't expect the love triangle that was key to so many of the other versions of this great epic.

The cast is excellent, including Ioann Gruffudd (Fantastic Four, Horatio Hornblower), Hugh Dancy (Ella Enchanted, Blood and Chocolate), Ray Stephenson (HBO's "Rome"), Ray Winstone (Cold Mountain, Beowulf), Stellan Skarsgard (Deep Blue Sea, Amistad, Pirates of the Caribbean), and Til Schweiger (SLC Punk!, Joe and Max). Fans of Jerry Bruckheimer productions will notice plenty of the actors involved in this film. The music, by Hans Zimmer, is some of his most epic yet.

Director Antoine Fuqua does an excellent job of melding plot and action in this tale. Writer David Franzoni litters the story with just enough legend to remind you that Arthur may or may not have been just that. Some of the characters, especially knights such as Tristan, Dagonet and Bors, are given lighter treatment than you'd expect, but maybe that's why this tale is called "King Arthur" and not "Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table."

The DVD is very nice. It features two very informative mini-documentaries on the making of the film. The first is "Blood On The Land" which gives you an inside look at the making of the film. The other is "Round Table," which features a literal round table with some of the cast and key members of the production. There's also the optional "Knight Vision," which offers all sorts of trivia about the actual time and place these events might have taken place in.

Granted, historians and armchair historians will argue over this film's accuracy until the cows come home. In the end, though, this film is nothing more than an epic along the lines of "Gladiator." I highly recommend "King Arthur" as well as two other Arthurian films, those being "Excalibur" and the musical "Camelot."

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More King Arthur (2004) reviews
review by . December 08, 2005
Yes, there have been lots of "King Arthur" films but most of them focused on the same story. They all had Guinevere fall for Lancelot and vice versa with both of them betraying their loyalty to Arthur. Here you get a fresher Arthur story that was never told before. Lancelot obviously loves Guinevere but she loves Arthur and not him. He knows this and he never gets too close to her. He mostly just steals looks at her. In this film you know Lancelot is too loyal to Arthur to go with his feelings for …
review by . February 28, 2005
When you think about it, what is the collective conception of the Arthurian legend?     Well, it's a myth, for one thing, and an achingly Pre-Raphaelite one at that: a sword magically buried in the stone; the lady of the lake holding aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water; the ambivalent wiles of Merlin, a magician who has slept under a rock for a hundred years; a Merovingian Easter-egg hunt for the Holy Grail; the nasty skulduggery of Merlin's sister Morgana Le Fay; and …
review by . January 25, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I missed this in the movies and so waited eagerly for its release in the DVD. I love a good epic, on film or in print, the closer to the way things really might have been, the better. And I think this version of King Arthur fulfills that criterion quite nicely. The real Arthur remains an historical mystery but, as others have commented here, his origins may fairly be found in the history of Romanized Britain as the Romans were withdrawing to leave their mixed Celtic and Roman subjects to the mercy …
review by . December 23, 2004
If gore, and dialogue like "aargh" and "oomph", and impossibly far flying arrows, and tense battle scenes of masses of Saxons against a mere few Knights is your cup of tea, then KING ARTHUR is bound to please.    Director Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day", "Tears of the Sun") has restudied the King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable legend and found the origins in 5th Century Rome vs Briton occupation. The result is less a visit to the Camelot of Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere …
review by . December 12, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
KING ARTHUR attempts to do what very few Arthur movies have done before. The movie attempts to take the legend out of the Arthur story and place in within a semi-historical context. The story the movie tells takes place towards the end of the Roman Empire (in fact, just about 25 years prior to Rome's actual fall) and just prior to the beginning of the Dark Ages that will sweep over most of Europe. Artorious Castus (Clive Owen), otherwise known as Arthur, is the leader of a special group of knights …
review by . October 19, 2004
This movie was a lot better than I thought it would be. Though I always thought of King Arthur as belonging to a later period, this movie does a decent job of capturing a much earlier period in history where Rome still ruled most of Europe.    Arthur and his men had been promised to be allowed to retire from "military" life are called back for one more mission. They need to rescue a nobel held captive. Though none of them want to do it, the knights loyal to Arthur will do it …
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #8
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie


It's got a round table, some knights, and a noble warrior who rises to become King Arthur, but everything else about this revisionist legend is pure Hollywood. That's not such a bad thing if you enjoyedRob Roy,Braveheart,Gladiator, andTroy, and there's some intriguing potential in presenting the "real" Arthur (played by Clive Owen) as a 5th-century soldier of Rome, assigned to defend Roman-imperial England against a hoard of invading Saxons (led by Stellan Skarsgård in hairy villain mode). As revamped history and "archaeological findings" would have us believe, Guinevere (Keira Knightley) is a warrior babe in face-paint and Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) is a nonentity who fades into the woodwork. Never mind! Best to enjoy the harsh, gloomy atmosphere of Irish locations, the ruggedness of Owen and his hearty supporting cast, and the entertaining nonsense of a Jerry Bruckheimer production that strips battle-ready Guinevere down to leather-strap S&M gear while all the men sport full-body armor. Hail to the queen, indeed!--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Antoine Fuqua
Genre: War
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: David Franzoni
DVD Release Date: December 21, 2004
Runtime: 142 minutes
Studio: Touchstone / Disney
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