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Review: King Arthur (2004)

King Arthur (2004)

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

Premise: Purports to be the true story that the legend of King Arthur was based upon. Arthur is the leader of a group of knights who are indentured servants to the Holy Roman Empire. Before they can be released, the knights must complete one last mission. 

What Works: There have been a lot of these kinds of sword and shield epics with big battle scenes. This one has better choreography than most. King Arthur takes on the issues of war and what kinds of motives the average soldier can take solace in. There are a number of debates between Arthur and Lancelot about what their bloodshed has meant and this gives the film a little more depth.

What Doesn’t: Unfortunately, the debates about the purposes of fighting don’t really go anywhere. In the end it is claimed that the English are united in a common struggle. What that struggle is for is never quite clear. Although the acting is pretty good, a lot of the characters are flat and are not given much to do between fights.

Bottom Line: Fans of Braveheart and other medieval war films will want to check it out. The filmmakers noticeably stay away from gore to achieve a PG-13 rating and this reveals that perhaps some other epics have relied on extreme gore over actual substance.

Episode: #9 (July 11, 2004)