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King Arthur

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: King Arthur

Starring: Clive Owen, Keira Knightley
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Rated: R
RunTime: 130 Minutes
Release Date: July 2004
Genres: Action, Drama, War

*Also starring: Stephen Dillane, Ioan Gruffudd, Stellan Skarsgard, Ray Winstone, Hugh Dancy, Ray Stevenson, Til Schweiger, Charlie Creed-Miles, Joel Edgerton

Review by Susan Granger
½ star out of 4

Apparently the romanticized legend of King Arthur was, in fact, based on a real hero. And this is his coarse, muddled "untold true story." Ugh! What a disappointment!

Back when Rome ruled the world during the Dark Ages, the Empire had a remote outpost in Britain. Lucius Artorius Castus (Clive Owen) was in command with his pagan Knights who met at a Round Table: Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd), Galahad (Hugh Dancy), Gawain (Joel Edgerton), Tristan (Mads Mikkelsen), Dagonet (Ray Stevenson) and Bors (Ray Winstone). Conscripted (i.e.: drafted) into service of Rome for 15 long years, they're due to be released from the military as free men when a bishop insists they fulfill one last quest: to rescue the Pope's favorite godson. To do this, they must elude fierce forest warriors, called Woads, led by Merlin (Stephen Dillane), and a Saxon army, led by Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgard). Guinevere of the Woads (Keira Knightly) turns out not only to be pretty but an admirable archer/warrior, eager to fight at Arthur's side.

Obviously influenced by "The Seven Samurai" and "Braveheart,"among others, the cliché-filled script by David Franzoni ("Gladiator") makes little sense, and the direction of Antoine Fuqua ("Tears of the Sun") can only be called lethargic. The one-dimensional characters bear little or no resemblance to their mythical namesakes, but that's not the actors' fault. They have nothing to work with. Instead, Fuqua and photographer Slawomir Idziak ("Black Hawk Down") concentrate on the brutal battlefield butchery, which also makes no sense. And as for Camelot? Forget about it. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "King Arthur" is a confusing, tedious 2. If this is the truth, give me fantasy anytime! If you're in doubt, rent "Excalibur" at the video store.

Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger

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