King Arthur: Legend of the Sword tries a different approach. It combines epic battles and scary monsters with a whole lot of irreverence, freely riffing on the legend according to the demands of exciting cinema. That’s not a bad idea; a bad idea is getting Guy Ritchie to attempt this. Ritchie’s method of ‘mixing things up’ is the opposite of originality, as it involves retelling stories as though they were Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, his dorm-room-favourite debut.
Accordingly, his Arthur (amiably played by Charlie Hunnam) is re-imagined as a cheeky chappy brothel-owner, the leader of a ragtag group of thieving marksman rebels. It’s a character-switch that suggests not only an ongoing aristo fascination with working-class heroes, but also that Ritchie has no qualms about borrowing heavily from a different example of English folklore: Robin Hood. Perhaps he should have also thrown in elements of James Bond, Love, Actually and The Archers, and made an ultimate map of the national psyche.
There’s something of Hamlet in King Arthur at least. Arthur doesn’t know it, but he is of noble blood: his father (a typically doomed Eric Bana) was king of England before he was usurped by his wicked Uncle Vortigern (Jude Law, chomping scenery). An encounter with the sword in the stone soon alerts Vortigern to Arthur’s status as the Chosen One destined to defeat him, and things move predictably from there, with the addition of a few magical creatures.
distinctly like Harry Potter, come to think of it. And perhaps the
inclusion of a David Beckham cameo clinches it: Guy Ritchie is
trying to draw the ultimate map to the national psyche. Well, his
timing couldn’t be more perfect. If only the map wasn’t totally
confusing, murky, and seemingly conceived by a 12-year-old.
|What||King Arthur: Legend of the Sword review:|
19 May 17 – 30 Jun 17, Show times vary
|Price||£Determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more information|