Film Review – King Arthur
The film I will be reviewing is called King Arthur. King Arthur is from the action epic genre and is a brilliant well put together film which will help many audiences in many ways and would be bound to sell. I will also include a historical context showing how King Arthur was related to the Roman invasion of Britain and how it also affected the characters involved.
The maker of the film is Jerry Bruckheimer. The actors that star in the film are Clive Owen as king Arthur, Keira Knightley as Guinevere, Ray Winstone as Bors, Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot Stellan Skarsgård, Stephen Dillane.
Clive Owen has a reputation for providing top class films. Back in 1990, he performed as the wisecracking, sharp-suited wheeler-dealer Stephen Crane in the hit show Chancer; he was described as “the hottest thing on TV”.
Keira Knightley also has a reputation for providing top films such as her earliest Bend It like Beckham to in 2003 Pirates of the Caribbean. After performing in those still only 18 she also preformed in Love Actually and then continued Pirates of the Caribbean.
From this we can see that all the actors and actresses are excellent and great performers so therefore my expectations only followed by their reputation.
The film is all about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It came out in 2004 and lasts for 140 minutes.
There is a lot of history of this film as King Arthur is a legend. Similar to Robin Hood King Arthur has many different versions such as an older version and this newer version.
In my opinion the film is a great one attracting a wide audience of historians, people with an interest in King Arthur and action packed viewers.
King Arthur is believed by some as a myth but most believe he was a real king and that he really did make England proud. This film is set around 409 A.D. This time was when the Roman Empire controlled most of Britain. King Arthur, who is partly Roman and an ally to Rome, was mainly British and loved his country that every battle in this film he would fight would be for him and his knights of the round tables freedom. As an agreement all these
British villages had to send their children and some adults to fight for Rome. Similar to subscription and they had to serve a certain amount of time where they would earn their freedom. Later on after a few years in around 410 A.D the Roman invasion had ended because Rome had redrawn from Britain due to other opposing enemies and also due to the attack of the Saxons and Scots.
The film begins with a well worded description of the legend of King Arthur which reads “Historians agree that the classical 15th Century King Arthur and his knight’s rose from a similar individual who lived in a period often called the Dark Ages”. The picture comes awake with a Roman army on horseback often called the “Praetorian” an elite roman horseback army. The beginning of the film is very important because it sets the scene to what the whole film is about which in this case is about the Roman Britain Empire and its connection with King Arthur. We see at the start a map which shows how far the Roman Empire extended which was from Saudi Arabia to Britain and this is a key point in understanding why Rome called for King Arthur and his knights to carry out so many missions. The reason being that Rome was not satisfied with their land they kept on wanting more and more so leaders like King Arthur were sent on missions to keep the Empire strong. This shows the outline of the film and the reason as to what the film is about.
One key point that we notice in the film is that Lancelot who is one of Arthur’s knights is the narrator and speaks in 1st person “I was such a son” he said when at the start the roman army came to recruit him on the grounds similar to conscription. So he was off to fight for Rome.
Then the scene changes and we see King Arthur as a young boy who is presented as a bright future leader both wealthy and important as we can tell by his freedom of movement. Arthur sees the young knights including Lancelot on horseback and asks who they are and he is told they may someday be his knights little does he know that one day they will. This is a use of dramatic irony as we know it is to happen by the role of Lancelot as one of his knights but the character himself is unaware.
After this scene there is a gap which says “15 years later” then they are all shown as grown men and we notice that there conscription was supposed to be for 15 years therefore the director lives the audience to find this out for themselves. Then we see the characters for the first time as men and their first mission is to protect the bishop from the forest Woads who Merlin (an old friend of Arthur’s) leads. The Woads attack some Roman troops so Arthur and his knights pace to the scene and upon arrival witness the deaths of these Roman soldiers. The Knights take up their swords and fight off the Woads for now as Merlin looks on from the forest. After the attack the Bishop appears dead with an arrow straight through his head however Arthur spots it is not the bishop but a fake. The real Bishop appears and they talk about the great Samaritan Knights that Arthur leads.
After they arrive at the castle where all the knights expect their freedom from the subscription that they are bound to. However the Bishop revels that the pope has one more mission for them and all of the knights including King Arthur disapprove after 15 long years of fighting however the mission is to rescue the pope’s favourite godchild and pupil so therefore on their last day of subscription they must go on this mission. As to be expected all the Knights don’t want to go but after a talk from King Arthur unwillingly for Arthur they approve.
So after the disapproval of the mission the scene changes and we see who the knights will come up against. Saxons from the north. They were very strong at the time and the opposition to the Romans. When Rome left in 410 A.D it was the Saxons that took over England. We then see the Saxons killing innocent women. This demonstrates the brutality of the Saxons.
Then the Knights get on their horseback and ride off towards their mission. They cut through the forest where they are being tracked by Merlin’s knights. Aware of the movement of the Saxons Merlin traps Arthur and the Knights in the forest and they agree to fight the Saxons together.
After reaching their mission point they find Alecto the godchild of the pope. Arthur finds a secret door blocked up and his Knight uses his axe to break it down. Inside they find injured Woad. The Woad is called Guinevere who by legend is the eventually the wife of King Arthur therefore this is an important step because this is the entrance of a main character played by Keira Knightley.
After a disagreement with the townsman leader the father of Alecto the knights take off away from the Saxons. The Saxons continue to get closer and closer. Then they reach the ice and they finally intercept with the Saxons. Ready and prepared to fight the main scene unfolds. The odds start at 7 Samaritan knights against 200 Saxons.
The fight starts with the 7 using their long bows to cut off the wings of the 200 it forces them to stay together putting more weight on the ice eventually the ice begins to break however their out of range and the ice hasn’t broken. Dagenot one of the knights runs forward with his axe and breaks the ice covered by the other 6 with their longbows. Unfortunately he is shot with arrows 3 times and dies however their mission is a success in one way but a loss in another.
The next scene begins back at the castle where they are greeted by the Bishop who is happy to see Alecto. They are given their freedom but Bors and all the others are unhappy due to the loss of Daganot. They buried Daganot and looked on in a sad manner.
Then we see the final scene which is where the Saxons have risen to Hadrian’s Wall and are ready to attack the Emperor and the knights. However the Romans are leaving and the knights are free but King Arthur says he must stay and fight. None of the knights stay but when they see the bravery of Arthur on his own they race to back up.
Then the first Saxon army attack behind the castle gates therefore the Saxon leader can’t see who is winning and only a few of his army come out and they believe there was only six knights however the Woads have joined and they all worked together and Arthur was there leader. The final Saxon army attacked and lost to King Arthur in a great battle and casualties were lost such as Bors and Lancelot which who were two of Arthur’s Samaritan knights. Also the narrator was Lancelot so we notice it is told by a character that later dies this is a technique to have a greater influence of understanding the times of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
The battle ends and Arthur wins and they bury the dead and Lancelot’s request to be cremated takes place. The film ends as Guinevere and Arthur get married and Britain is in safe hands.
My opinions of the movie are that it is a good exciting film. The film is entertaining and the storyline keeps the audience in suspense. Another good opinion of the film is that the historical context makes the audience want to see the film because they want to know more about Roman British Empire so they are more likely to see the film. One part I like is where at the start the knights defeat the Woads even though there are only a few knights. I like this part because it makes the knights look strong and therefore impresses me as the audience. Another part I liked is when Daganot takes his axe and destroys the ice so that the Saxons can’t cross the line. However I found this sad because Daganot gets killed in this part of the film. Another action packed part is the last scene where there is a big battle. This scene is action packed and therefore entertaining in the film. Compared to films like Gladiator this film is better because it gives a more historical outlook on the film. Therefore I think it is more successful and more entertaining.
I think in the film that when the character of Lancelot died it was disappointing because historians know that he was a great warrior therefore the way he died was unexpected and I believe it was better to keep him alive. Therefore if I was directing the film I would have not killed off Lancelot however I like the way that the character of Daganot was killed because he was made to look like a hero. The character I am critical of is Guinevere because in the story of King Arthur she was supposed to be a high class lady from a good family however in this story she is presented as Woad like a rebel whom I think is unrealistic and completely changes the character. Therefore I dislike the character.
The parts which are successful are the opening scene where the few knights fight many Woads. This is successful because it sets the tone of the film and lets the audience know how skilled the knights are and how they grew up to become knights. Another part which is successful is where Daganot smashes open the door with an axe. This is successful because it allows the audience to see how strong the knights are again and also get the audience more involved to see what is inside because the breaking down of the door is like footsteps of a massive army because the audience wants to see what will happen next. Therefore in both ways it is successful.
In conclusion I recommend the film and would give it 8 out of 10. The reasons for this are because it is a successful film in the way it attracts and entertains the audience such as the start where the knights fight many Woads. It is an interesting film where there is a great historical context such as the history and leadership of King Arthur himself and Roman Britain. The reason I would only give the film an 8 out of 10 is because there were parts I disliked such as that Lancelot got killed and that Guinevere was made to look different then the real story. Therefore in conclusion I would give the film an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to people as a good film because it has many good features and covers the historical part of King Arthur as well as the entertaining action packed fighting in the film therefore I recommend it