July 23 - 29, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 30

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King Arthur—A New Take on an Old Tale
by The Blonde and The Maven
Film Columnists

The legend of King Arthur, played by Clive Owen (Beyond Borders), is once again revisited in this Jerry Bruckheimer production. The story takes place in 452 A.D. and has a much more historical take than any previous attempts on this tale. Arthur and his knights have served with honor in the Roman military for 15 years. On the day they are to be released from service and granted their long awaited freedom, they are sent on one final mission. This task will prove to be more dangerous than any other they have had to endure. While on this mission to free a young boy and his family by orders of the Pope, the men sadly realize that Rome is no longer the Rome they once believed in and fought for all these years. While freeing the boy, the men come across many people who are unfairly imprisoned, including the young and beautiful Guinevere, played by KeiraKnightley (Pirates of the Caribbean). This movie, unlike all the previous King Arthur movies, makes her out to be a fierce and trained fighter. Arthur rescues the lovely maiden and yada, yada, yada...you know the rest! King Arthur has to embrace his previous enemy Merlin and savage fighters under his command to defeat the barbarian Saxons invasion of Britain. Guinevere and Merlin take this opportunity to influence Arthur to fight for Britain. He agrees, for he now comes to realize that Britain is his true home, not Rome. Through all his honor, commitment, and sense of fair play, Arthur embarks on his journey to be the “king” legends speak of!

The Blonde: King Arthur was like Camelot meets Robin Hood, meets Troy and Gladiator, meets Excalibur and Braveheart!  Oh the drama and pain of Hollywood! A different time, place, day, era, and fight for the same greed over power and control. Fifteen long years of fighting, betrayal, loyalty, and pain…sounds like life in show biz!  No, all kidding aside, this was a film of honor, loyalty, love, and friendship coming against (to quote Pres. GeorgeBush) real evil-doers…

The Maven: This movie was refreshingly enjoyable with less sorcery and more character than previous King Arthur films. I especially enjoyed looking into those beautiful blue eyes of Clive Owen. How did Angelina Jolie not fall in love with him while making Beyond Borders?

The Blonde: It’s beyond me! I know this is going to sound crazy. Okay, crazier than normal. But…watching Clive as Arthur, I felt like I was watching my soul-mate. Feeling that my soul-mate was caught in another time zone while I am living in this world. That’s why I haven’t met my soul mate yet! He is living in 452 A. D.  Bummer!  Okay, so does that sound crazy?

The Maven: For you? No!  For a normal person, very!

The Blonde: Whatever! So, would that make me Guinevere in another life?

The Maven: I don’t know, but it sure makes you nuts in this one… Can I proceed?! Here was an Arthur, less like a fairy-tale and much more a military man. No magic to blame for his destiny. He actually chooses to stay and fight for Britain and its people.

The Blonde: Well, I personally blame lack of magic for my destiny all the time… and speak for yourself!  I found Arthur, the man, to be a total hunk of a fairy-tale… By the way, didn’t you find the “alas” well-earned “G” rated sex-scene before the battle, oh so disappointing?!

The Maven: There was a sex scene? Did I miss it? I must have blinked. I do applaud the lack of special effects. The battle scenes rang true and the locations look rough and wintry.
The Blonde: I would rather the sex scene have been more rough and wintry. I do agree with you about the locations. They were perfect to relay the story. I also thought the direction of Antoine Fugua (Training Day), the cinematography, editing, casting and music scored by the talented Hans Zimmer were all perfectly executed. I felt the sex scene was poorly directed, however…

The Maven: Oh my word! There was no sex scene! This was done on purpose to give the film a PG-13 rating. Originally the movie was set for a December release. However, Disney Productions felt that King Arthur could be their chance for summer blockbuster. To appeal to a larger and more diversified audience, the director was told he must cut down on violence, language and sexual content. Hence, your PG-13 rating.

The Blonde:  Hence, they completely tied his hands. Hence, many empty scenes, lack of emotional colors and conflict, and intrigue. I think an R rating would have made this movie a touch more interesting and enabled the characters to have move depth and dimension. One more thought, why didn’t Sir Lancelot have a girlfriend?

The Maven:  Everyone knows except maybe perhaps you, that the original legend has King Arthur, Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot being intertwined in a love triangle.
The Blonde: Okay then.  Here’s where the “R” rating and the sex scene comes into play.
The Maven:  Well, if we’re lucky, we can see the deleted scenes when the DVD is released. By the way, I heard somewhere that Clive Owen didn’t know how to ride horses and had to take a crash course with some of his “knights” as well.  Ya could have fooled me.

The Blonde: Okay! Like, who cares?! Speaking of a crash courses though, wasn’t that Guinevere one tough broad? She was pretty, but a few highlights, a touch of blush and some lip-gloss wouldn’t have hurt her. Maybe that explains the lack of a good sex scene.

The Maven:  You’re hopeless. Why don’t you just rent the “Sex and the City” videos. That should make you happy. I rate this film a B.

The Blonde: I already own all six seasons…loved that show!  I thought that this was a good film. I did feel the movie dragged making it seem a little too slow at times. All in all, I rate King Arthur a solid B. Go see it and enjoy some peanut butter cups and Swedish Fish. “Long live the King!”

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