Straight From a Movie

Pensive Thoughts on Paper | Movie Reviews and Quotes Website

King Arthur Legend of the Sword Review (2017) | Choose to Take Away the Music

We were up for a bumpy ride already when we had discovered it was none other Guy Ritchie directing King Arthur Legend of the Sword movie. It would be safe to say that the flick has been Ritchie-fied enough, coz it has that tinge of Guy Ritchie effect that we have always thoroughly enjoyed. However, in delivering King Arthur to us, by passing it through the anvil of his eccentricity, the importance of the legend ends up getting ruffled, shaken up so much that it ends up becoming a gaudy affair.

The problem with King Arthur Legend of the Sword is that it is too fast-paced. So much that you wish there was a pause button for the big screen. Such pace isn’t really healthy if there’s a tale to be told. Legends work out great when there’s proper focus, when you are feeling every modicum of the thrill, and most importantly relating to stuff. Sadly with Ritchie behind the camera, it becomes hard to fill in the shoes of Arthur. You can hardly manage to relate to the actor, and whatever he does.

Despite that, there are so many other factors to consider here, for example, the extraordinary music composed by Daniel Pemberton that elevates the movie altogether. You go home with something at least, if not with that smug smile of satisfaction, then at least contented with that stunning outstanding score by Pemberton.

Direction of King Arthur (Spoilers)

Guy Ritchie thinks different. He isn’t the crowd. That’s one of the most crucial virtues he retains. To experiment every now and then, to come up with better shots, better ways of storytelling, and pulling off unusual stunts are things he just loves to do. I particularly love the way he edits his frames for humour. There is always a story being narrated in his flicks and it’s fun to catch up with what is going on.

But you take in too much of his style, you suddenly begin to see through his pattern. It is his regular mannerism of doing things. Like how a different frame starts, frames before the earlier scene is packed up. He does that too much in King Arthur Legend of the Sword, and it becomes outright absurd at one point.

Even normal collisions end up becoming too much layered up with visual effects. Generally, the boss fights are supposed to uplift the whole flick. But here the ending is more about visual effects than the actual fight. The worst thing is that you have to figure out that the sword could depict the future too. It’s hard to contain yourself from blurting out: “Really?”

still from king arthur legend of the sword movie

Choosing to show clashes with Excalibur in bullet time seemed plain stupid. Even though it is abounding with theatrics there, it doesn’t seem quite right. It almost meant any man with the sword could do it if he was connected to it with blood. Also, it sucks out the joy we expect in a punishing fight. It’s as if The Flash came out of nowhere and ended the war. So not cool!

Jude Law as Vortigern

Probably one of the best things in King Arthur Legend of the Sword is Jude Law. Not only is his acting top-notch, his role as the arrogant King Uncle is befitting as well. With Guy Ritchie providing him with some of the best theatrics ever, his perversion becomes insanely amplified altogether.

His Vortigern is a revolt for Hollywood that has produced cruel kings who are smug, stylish and outrageously wicked. He is the finest one of them all, and you can see that through via the confidence he brings to his act.

Watching him walking down in tears to sacrifice his own blood for power puts you in a strange sense of disposition. At one point he even cuts an ear off of Back Lack and speaks inside it for him to hear. Talk about badassery! Then there is that “walking down to meet the people”, style is written all over him.

You can order King Arthur Legend of the Sword from here:

Charlie Hunnam as Arthur

While this project saw a lot of casting choices, the decision to put Charlie Hunnam in the frontline wasn’t that bad after all. As an actor he is great, and he does enough justice to King Arthur. With a physique of a legendary hero wielding the Excalibur makes things a whole lot legendary.

Unfortunately, in the long line of memorable heroes, he ends up becoming a tad forgettable. And it’s not his fault at all. There wasn’t enough drama in the tale to actually feel for the protagonist. There wasn’t a proper pause so that you could really read his thoughts, and empathize with what he might be going through. I think it is quite bad for an actor to be forgotten when he is playing the lead role.

The Mage

The idea to turn the movie into a surreal magical phenomenon might not have sieved in and played well with the multitude. Well, even though magic is supposed to make things better, somehow the inclusion of the storyline about “mages” aren’t used aplenty. Their justification happens with the sword being magical, and that’s the sole purpose of them being there.

With The Mage played by Astrid Berges-Frisby trying to help Arthur in many ways, her inclusion ends up becoming the most dispensable thing in the flick. It’s almost as if she was only created out of thin air, just so as to stretch the movie for a plot. Whilst there wasn’t a single bit of romance lurking anywhere, her presence is strangely disappointing. We could have used her powers in so many ways, and yet all we did was to pull out a cheap magic trick for a cheap thrill.

Other Characters

A lot of characters are created alongside King Arthur by supporting actors like Djimon Honsou, Aidan Gillen, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Freddie Fox, Tom Wu, Michael McElhatton, Rob Knighton and Neil Maskell. With Aidan Gillen’s character Bill being good with the bow, you might remember him the most from all of the above. And maybe Neil’s Back Lack owing to that short father-son moment with Blue which is strangely poignant. The rest of the cast seem like a dispensable affair that was overlooked big time owing to shoehorning characters.

Eric Bana is in there, making a short stint as the father of King Arthur. He plays Uther and his cameo is as small as that of Igraine (Poppy Delevingne), Maggie (Annabelle Wallis), Elsa (Katie McGrath) and Catia (Millie Brady).

Can we even blame editing enough?

Au contraire, there’s a cameo of David Beckham that’s just hard to miss.

Ravishing Music

One of the best things about the movie is hands down its music. Daniel Pemberton…Ladies and gentlemen! If you never heard that name before time to put him on your top composers list. The chap’s a Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated hero in the backdrop. He will set you up in the right mood with some deafening relentless composition. It’s so brilliantly done for the movie that I have put him on my playlist. He is really that good!

He will set you up in the right mood with some deafening relentless composition. It’s so brilliantly done for the movie that I have put him on my playlist as well. He is really that good!

I loved Growing Up Londinium, The Lady in the Lake and The Born King the most.

You can check out Growing Up Londinium here:

The Final Verdict

A lot of work has been put into making King Arthur Legend of the Sword, you can almost tell that by the quality of visual effects, the mind-boggling music the movie carries, and the beautiful engaged acting performed by the cast. You can sense that frustration if things don’t work out your way, and I can feel thousands of hearts breaking on realizing how the movie fared on its first day. But it’s a price an artist is and should be willing to pay when joining hands with big names.

The movie ends up becoming a farrago of revolution since Guy Ritchie isn’t comfortable to make time jumps. He chooses to fast forward the entire childhood, and King Arthur’s quest leaving out crucial drama often to actually feel, empathize or relate to any of its characters. And whatever happened to that classy humour from The Man from U. N. C. L. E.  or Snatch for that to matter?

The primal problem with the movie is its limited time which forced Guy Ritchie to scooch in things he could have shown properly if it were only a TV series. But didn’t we have Merlin already for that?

I say just take out the music, rejoice in it and remember it like there is a Guy Ritchie version of the legendary tale as well.

Check out the trailer of King Arthur Legend of the Sword here:

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Author Rating
31star1star1stargraygray

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
7.3

Direction

7/10

Plot

7/10

Editing

7/10

Screenplay

7/10

Music

9/10

Pros

  • Outstanding Music
  • Extraordinary acting by Jude Law
  • Great Build Up for War

Cons

  • Hotchpotch of a tale
  • Editing Issues
  • Too fast at times
  • Lacks focus
  • Nothing memorable

You might also like

2 Comments

  1. I actually loved the movie. I was deeply moved by the story telling and blown away by the cleverness of Richie. This movie’s soundtrack was organic and primal and I agree with you that it elevated the story.. Bt your critique of various things- like lack of character development or empathy were not felt by me… I completely felt very deeply for Arthur and when he had his dig down deep moment with his daddy.. I got a much needed shot in the arm. I had no idea I needed to feel that same sense of truth he experienced in that moment and I wept a cleansing kind of cry that was healing and empowering at the same time. There were so many clever things.- I love how he has movement in the camera when he does quick cuts. That might be normal for some people but its something I particularly noticed in this film. And I loved the many clever camera angles -most especially that moment that felt like a go pro running alongside the fella’s faces- I went to see the movie a second time just to re-experience that moment along with the one that empowered me. My only complaints are two…one I’ll keep to myself and the other…is that there was this moment of intentional silence…that I wished had been a little bit longer. I’m not sure why this movie didn’t do well. I have always loved the King Arthur lore and I thought this take was clever… the stone that the sword was in caused quite the gasp from many in the theatre- which was pretty well attended the first time I saw it. But to your credit in saying about the soundtrack…OMG… its the first Sound Track I’ve bought in many many many years… it is AMAZING and I plan to pump irons to it!! Cause it is motivating and primal and my daughter’s love it too (and my husband upon hearing what I call “this is the music of your people – are you responding to it?- which he said “let me listen to it longer! I do like it!!) and he said now he can’t wait to see the movie… and I know he’ll love it… it was amazing… I’m glad I missed the things you didn’t like and enjoyed it as much as I did… it was terrific …everyone was amazing in the movie.. I am so glad it was made and I really wish with all my heart that it would have done better cause it was a cinematic triumph in my eyes and that not many others saw it that way makes me wonder if I’m blind to what’s wrong with it or if everyone else might be blind to what’s so great about it.

    • Hi Melody,

      I agree with you on a lot of points. I really hoped the movie to do well too. I still listen to its music, and now it has made its way to my playlist. Guy Ritchie is quite clever with his frames, there’s no doubt about that, but I think there were certain things that called for a TV series kind of pace.

      For example, the growing up, which was shown like a montage of extremely fast images which makes you wonder why he chose to show up that bit which he could have edited out with a 20 years later sign or something.

      If it was done once it would have been okay, but he chose to do that for “his visiting the woods” part too. And that sucks out the cleverness away. I mean I really wanted to see how he faced the wolves, his punishing sojourn to truly embrace the sword, to face bigger perils etc. but it becomes hard to concentrate when you try to fit everything in 5 seconds.

      The only terrible thing about his movie-making style I find is how he doesn’t let focus sieve in for longer duration. Why doesn’t he let us linger in our tears? It is important for me to stay in the moment crying for a while thinking, instead of wiping my tears off to watch what’s next, and forget about that momentary pain.

      The same could be said about Jude Law goes when he goes in tears to kill his beloved daughter. But when you are killing someone off, for the audience to feel the colossal pain, you have to show the bond. You wouldn’t feel a thing if there’s no connection. It would just end up being a cold touch of blade to the guts. Even though it was a reiterative offence it was a gargantuan crime, a betrayal that should fill you up with horror. And you have to pack it well for the audience to truly experience it. Like someone shouting at him, making him realize what he has done or even the girl trying to recount the love through her eyes. But given the screen time she had, you think she was just there to be dispensable.

      And what about that final bit where we learn that the sword lets him see the future too. Was that really necessary?

      I am glad that you chose to take only the good things from the movie. That’s a rare gift you have and you should cherish it well. Because being a movie buff that’s how I try to watch my movies too. I think about all the effort the director and the cast put in a flick to make it, and how easily we lance it with our critical sword, as if all that effort was nothing but an exercise in futility. But sometimes in trying to veil away the ugliness, I begin seeing things that are easy mistakes, and I am compelled to mention about them in an unbiased way (primarily because I have a blog to run). After all it is the mistakes that help you learn and grow to deliver something impeccable in the end.

      I think Guy Ritchie was really pressed on time. And to justify everything, like I said before, he should have gone with a franchise of sorts, or even better a TV series.

      I have rated this movie a 7.3 out of 10 which means I pretty much liked it too. 🙂

Leave a Reply