Monday, May 15, 2017

Looking At Movies - King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Director Guy Ritchie is known as a director who is never afraid to take chances and bend the story line to get impressive special effects. In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Ritchie takes a lot of chances to get a movie that looks incredible. Some of those risks work out very well for the movie and the viewer, but some of the chances he takes cross lines that make the movie look like a psychedelic remake of Excalibur. The story of King Arthur repeatedly inspires directors to create movies that look like recreational drugs played a big role in the final production. With this telling of the story, there is just enough substance in the psychedelia to make the movie entertaining.

The summer of 2017 is the summer of Hunnam as Charlie Hunnam has two highly-anticipated movies coming out. The first is The Lost City of Z, which was actually made last year but released a couple of weeks ago. The second is King Arthur, and the initial response of fans and critics is a home run for Z and a bomb for Arthur. It seems an unfortunate inevitability that King Arthur will bomb at the box office, and that will almost ensure that the remaining five movies that were planned in this franchise will not be made. I never worry about box office performance because I am able to find endearing things in movies that everyone else seems to really hate, and it looks like I have done it again with King Arthur.

Let's start with the bad news. Most of the battle scenes gave me a headache. They move too fast, and then they suddenly slow down. There are too many close-ups in scenes where there is too much going on, and there are honestly too many special effects in scenes that do not need them. If you watch this as a popcorn movie, all of this is pretty easy to ignore. But if you are trying to get whatever messages Ritchie is putting in this movie, then the general air of poor production gets frustrating.

The dialogue in this movie is, at times, witty and funny. Charlie Hunnam's delivery works extremely well throughout most of this movie, but some of the other cast members are not quite as smooth. I found Hunnam and Jude Law to be the best parts of this movie, and then the rest of the cast struggled to keep pace. The dialogue was not Star Wars first six movies bad, but it was bad enough to slow down the movie in spots where it should have moved forward.

The story is what got me going, and then kind of got all tangled in itself at the end. The story is paced very well and is generally enjoyable for the first 3/4 of the film, but then it gets predictable as it moves closer to what should have been an exciting finish. Once again, Law and Hunnam keep the movie entertaining at the end, but not even they could untangle the mess that was the ending of the movie.

It was extremely obvious that this movie was to be the first in a series of films. As I said earlier, five sequels were planned when this movie was given the green light. But just like movie audiences found no reason to get excited about Tarzan last year, there seems to be no excitement about the prospects of another series of King Arthur movies in the wake of Legend of the Sword.

This is a fun movie to see on the big screen and turn off your brain for a couple of hours, but you won't get much more out of it than mindless entertainment. Go see it while it is still at the drive-in on the biggest screens in the area, because that is the way this movie was meant to be seen.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III is a movie fanatic who loves a good popcorn movie. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at