King Arthur (2004)

by missizziemcguinness


‘I fight for a cause that is beyond yours and Rome’s understanding,’ 

King Arthur is a movie that is loosely based off the tale of Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, starring Clive Owen (yes, I do review a lot of his work) as King Arthur,Keira Knightley as Guinevere and Iona Gruffudd as Lancelelot. It also stars Hugh Dancy, Stellan Starsgard, Til Schweiteger, Ray Winstone, the main guy in the TV show Hannibal and Joel Edgerton.

Generally, I liked the cinematography in this movie. I liked the different textures of colour from the snow in the middle of the film to the scenes that took place on the battlefields, and they were often shot in a wide shot and they definitely got creative with the blood splattering in the battle scenes. The close ups were also quite interesting, and all the shots are quite quick so you’re watching it thinking ‘Did that guy really get his head cut off?’. Clive Owen uses his theatrical skills and stage prescence to bring along the character of Arthur convincingly, and he did indeed succeed. Keira Knightley’s character was quite a badass character, and though she wasn’t afraid of anything, I did think that the romance between Guinevere and Arthur seemed a little bit too forced. I think they only included the romance plot line so that the whole movie wasn’t one big battle, and they only really used Keira Knightley for the sex appeal, although she is quite a good actress. I also think that the movie is viewed through the male gaze.

The costumes looked fantastic, and the blueish makeup that Knightley wears towards the end of the film reminds me of Avatar. Maybe they used this film as an influence. This film also reminded me of the opening scene of The Lord Of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring stretched out into a two and a half hour film. Basically what they wouldn’t allow in a relatively child friendly film such as Lord of the Rings went into this film instead, and set whenever King Arthur is meant to be set in. The bit at the end when Arthur takes off his helmet represents him giving up his power and leadership from the death of his friend Lancelot. The same power that led him into battle.

One aspect that this film picks up on is religion. I am an atheist, and to be honest, you could see the divide in the movie between the religious people (such as King Arthur) who thought that God is the only one to guide people through war, and the people who thought that God doesn’t really help. I’m not going to drivel on about religion but it’s definitely a reoccurring theme throughout the film.

Overall, a fairly decent film with a great cast but I felt like some aspects of it seemed rushed or forced and the intense battle scenes wouldn’t be that intense without the dramatic music, close ups and overuse of slow motion but that opinion is from someone who did a unit on editing at college in first year. Despite that, this film has given me a lot of ideas for a story that I’m still in the planning process of writing at the moment and this movie deserves a rewatch.