7.08.2004

King Arthur [clips]

I'm at a loss whether to recommend or not. The commentary in the latest Realms of Fantasy made it sound intriguing, but there's not much compelling with the characters or dynamic plot to get swept away by or symbolic content, yet the overall entertainment is a constant if low hum. Certainly if you're a King Arthur buff, you'll want to see what their historical take on this is, but their tepid injection of originality didn't really kick in the adrenalin, either. The Hollywood Reporter seems to be the only critic sold on the film.

Arthur and his knights are bundled over from an Eastern European country to serve as soldiers of Rome in England for fifteen years. At the end of their term, with the Empire crumbling and Saxons demolishing village after village steadily south where Arthur protects the last vestige of the Empire in England, Rome bundles all the knights off on a quest for the holy grail--the godson of the emperor or the Pope or whomever. Meanwhile, Merlin is a dark lord (minus any visible dark powers except the blue face paint) of the Picts, native enemy to the Roman empire and the Saxons, who must join forces with Arthur's handful of knights to defeat the Saxons.

I'm not sure why Rome packs presumably in-demand soldiers all the way to Eastern Europe in order to fetch boys to (train? and) carry off to England--a rather inefficient enterprise at best--or why Merlin needs Arthur or the Roman wall if they just open up the gates to let the enemy in. But the battle on ice is fun enough.

Thematically, the Arthur motifs are glancingly slight and not interesting to follow. I tried piecing together a take on contemporary politics, but if a take exists, it's either muddled or exceedingly complex.

Not a waste of time if you're looking for any celluloid entertainment that looks vaguely like history or fantasy if you squint just right.

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