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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Anchorman

Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate
Director: Adam McKay
Rated: R
RunTime: 91 Minutes
Release Date: July 2004
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: David Koechner, Steven Carell, Paul Rudd, Fred Willard, Chris Parnell, Vince Vaughn, Chad Everett, Kevin Corrigan, Tara Subkoff, Kathryn Hahn

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

You probably don't wake up thinking that what you'd really like to do is see a rousing rendition of the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. So, if you do go to such a film, you expect to be motivated as to why you should care. KING ARTHUR, the lamest blockbuster in some time, is from producer Jerry Bruckheimer (BAD BOYS II) and is directed by one-hit wonder Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY). This lackluster movie, which is anything but rousing, never gives you any reason whatsoever to care about it. David Franzoni's confusing script will have you still baffled when you leave the theater, having never been able to figure out exactly who is fighting whom about what. The various groups vary only in their relative levels of hygiene, with the dirtiest generally, but not always, being the most despicable.

This version of the story sets the action in 467 A.D., as Rome is evacuating Britain, leaving the Saxons in control. Or at least I think that is what is happening. It is never really quite clear. In a film in which none of the casting works, Clive Owen (CROUPIER) is given the thankless job of being Arthur. Owen tries and fails to be a cross between Kenneth Branagh in HENRY V and Russell Crowe in GLADIATOR. Keira Knightley plays Guinevere as a tough archer who is one of the best fighters on any field of battle. We learn that all the archers back then were incredibly skilled, with every arrow, from no matter how far away, making it directly into the heart of its intended victim. Before each battle, in a scene that must have been cut, the warriors undoubtedly estimated the size of their opposition and made up an exactly equal number of arrows in order to save materials. No need to create unnecessary ones.

You'll be wishing that one of those arrows would come out of the screen and strike you as you stare at your watch, which will seem to be moving in slow motion. This energyless production makes the fights feel long and tedious. And when the knights aren't battling, they make some of the smallest small talk that you've ever had to endure.

The movie fakes you out. At the hour-and-a-half mark, one of the knights tells you, "Hey, you're free!" Relived, you begin to get up when you realize he's talking to someone on the screen and that you are still a prisoner for another half hour -- and longer still if you are a glutton for punishment and want to stay through all of the credits.

KING ARTHUR runs a long 2:06. It is rated PG-13 for "intense battle sequences, a scene of sensuality and some language" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 15, thought the film was a "bomb" and gave it just 1/2 of a star. He complained that there was no character building and no believable action. Overall, he said that the movie just never gave him any reason to care about it.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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