King Arthur

A Tame Mythical Hero

Main Cast: Clive Owen, Stellan Skarsgard, Keira Knightley, Ioan Gruffudd

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Taking from a number of sources and melded together, this legend of King Arthur is more down to earth and actually quite believable. In events taking place much earlier than his supposed reign, this Arthur was a Roman warrior who just happened to be a very good horseman, and led a like-minded group against the natives of Britain. Speaking of those natives, Merlin just happened to be a wild-eyed druid and Guinevere a fiery young woman who fired a mean bow.

Not straying too much from the conventional, the plot involves Arthur (Owen) and his men (including Gawain, Galahad, and the others, although not 12) taking on just one more mission. The oily Bishop had promised Arthur’s men freedom after 12 years of service, but sprang the news of the “last” mission on their last day. The Saxons were on the move, and the Romans were fleeing Britain. Arthur was to take his men north, past the wall, and escort an important Roman family back behind safe lines to be evacuated to Rome.

The movie takes off from there, following them as they ride north, find the family, and bring them back, evading the bulk of the Saxon army. Finally the Saxons catch up and the big battle takes place, with a number of knights going down in the melee. I leave it to the viewer to see who and where. But it is done with flair and intelligence, and I didn’t mind the cute little foreshadowing and careful camera pans. And as an admirer of Keira Knightley, I was not disappointed.

Overall, this is a fairly traditional “sword and sorcery” tale, minus the sorcery. It is done well, acted well, and the battle scenes are very good.

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