starring Clive Owen, Keira Knightley, Ioan Gruffudd, Stephen Dillane, Stellan Skarsgard, Ray Winstone, Hugh Dancy and Til Schweiger
written by David Franzoni
directed by Antoine Fuqua
Did you ever hear of these actors? I’ve never heard of them before. Maybe that contributes to how bad this movie was, and I didn’t like it much. It’s a lot of silliness about the King Arthur legend prefaced by a pretty blatant falsehood: recent “archaeological evidence” leads scholars to think not only that Rex Arturus might once really have existed, but that a line on the true identity of the Knights of the Round Table is suspected. Yeah, and if you believe that then I’ve got a bridge in New York to sell you. But it sounds sincere as a preface, possibly fooling some people into thinking that watching a movie is just as good as studying in the first place.
Do you know the names of the Knights of the Round Table? Sir Lancelot is the most memorable. But Gawain, Galahad and Bors also feature in this story. The director tries to make a historical drama out of the Arthur legend, like Gladiator, Troy, and to recreate the fascinating massed human army battle scenes of those films and movies like The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But it doesn’t work. Arthur’s identity as a Roman Christian following the Peleagian heresy, is not developed. And, it is extraordinarily odd that the ideas of Pelagius (a 4th century British monk who denied the doctrine of Original Sin and claimed that Mankind had freedom of will) should even be mentioned in the story, since Pelagianism is so far beyond the knowledge of today’s public. I think the writer stupidly turned Pelagius’s ideas of Man’s ability to freely take his own steps towards Salvation (without a special dispensation of Grace) into a modern democratic ideological slogan, “You are all free!” That’s not what Pelagius was on about at all, but even the scriptwriter probably didn’t understand that.
The triangle love story between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot is ignored. In fact, no story between Arthur and Guinevere is developed at all. The wizard, Merlin, is just a grumpy, grunting wood elf who emerges from the trees to marry Arthur and Guinevere. The character of Merlin is almost completely ignored in favor of the evil Saxons that Arthur turns against after the Roman legions withdraw. Too, bad, as well, because Merlin is the single most fascinating character in all of British folklore.