25th Sep2017

‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou | Written by Guy Ritchie, Joby Harold, Lionel Wigram | Directed by Guy Ritchie


The first movie I saw directed by Guy Ritchie was Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. When I started watching King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, little did I know that I’d find myself comparing the gangster feel of the two. In many ways this represents how confusing a movie it can be, especially when it is about a character like King Arthur…

Robbed of his birth right as King, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up the hard way, fighting for what he can and protecting those around him. Forced to pull a sword out of a stone, he soon begins the journey to becoming the true king with the help of a Mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey). With his legend growing, this pushes him towards his destiny, a confrontation with Vortigern (Jude Law) the uncle whose obsession is to destroy Arthur.

The first thing that throws you off with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is the initial battle between King Uther (Eric Bana) and Mordred (Rob Knighton). A battle that takes place around a castle shouldn’t really be that strange, but the use of gigantic elephants attacking the fortification is what makes it a little different.

After this battle and Arthur’s little back story which plays out like an origin of the character but in fast forward, we get to the main part of the film. Arthur and his band of crooks get on the wrong side of Vortigern’s forces and Arthur in trying to escape is caught and forced to pull out the magic sword.

If this sounds a little jumbled up, then you would be correct. Arthur and his friends are like a little gangster gang that you see in many little British crime movies. If Danny Dyer turned up at one point, I’d not be surprised. They all have cockney accents and have that laddish attitude that can be often grating.

Thankfully, there is a change of tone when Arthur pulls out the sword, because the true hero within him is woken up, though he does fight it. In meeting the Mage, a lot of the strangeness with giant animals and the darkness are finally focused on, and the audience is clued in as to why giant elephants are used in battle. This is a battle between mages, magic, and mythical creatures.

The problem with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is that the movie never really focuses on exactly what it wants to be. There are moments when something clicks, and there is real magic there. This is often in the fight scenes that are really spectacular. The enjoyment of this though is often dampened as the film once more goes off on a tangent to become a gangster heist movie, or we get a really confusing cameo by David Beckham. If anything, this cameo is that “Danny Dyer” moment, and that is not an insult to Dyer, if anything, this part was not a good fit for Beckham at all.

One thing I will say is that King Arthur: Legend of the Sword isn’t a bad movie, it is a good one that needs more focus. With actors such as Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, and Neil Maskell, as well as numerous others are in the cast, there is enough talent in there to make it work. However this is a missed opportunity, yet with moments that really get the adrenaline pumping. It feels like a gangster movie that wanted to be Game of Thrones, with added monsters from Lord of the Rings. Maybe if it concentrated more on just being a movie about King Arthur it might have actually had the focus that it needed.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is available now on 4K UHD, Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and as an HMV Exclusive Steelbook.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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