> Volume 6 > Number 26


Antoine Fuqua

Clive Owen
Ioan Gruffudd
Keira Knightley
Ray Winstone
Mads Mikkelsen
Hugh Dancy
Stellan Skarsgård

Release: 7 Jul. 04

King Arthur


The History Channel should get some tax breaks this weekend considering that they’re doing a public service. Anyone coming out of King Arthur should quickly debrief with the channel as it presents its coverage of the legend. It’s tough to fault a film for tinkering with a legend, but when it’s one so well known, the temptation is immense. This King Arthur, though nominally accurate (all the gang’s here), paints over the themes in the Arthur story because, evidently, riling stories tested through centuries aren’t quite as sellable to today’s multiplex audiences.

Foregoing any real impression, this film just mutters its lines about freedom and nobility and heroics to meet its heart-to-Braveheart quotient. Of course, the fact that this is first and foremost an action film before being Arthurian in the least shouldn’t be a surprise considering its producer is the constantly insulting Jerry Bruckheimer (that this man makes the occasional Pirates of the Caribbean is a miracle). Directed by Antoine Fuqua, a director whose only endeavor in drama, Training Day, was built partly on its overrated and overbearing lead performance and only scantily on the story it hinted at telling, King Arthur is a crass exercise in product packaging. Don’t be fooled by the names and the settings, this is clearly not the story of Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, or Merlin. It’s all about the Washingtons, Lincolns, Hamiltons, Jacksons, Grants, and many Benjamins

©2004, David Perry,, 25 June 2004