Preview by: Jack Foley
FILM-MAKERS have a tendency to divide the Camelot legend into
The romantic view is best-served by Camelot, which, for many,
remains the definitive version of the story thanks to Richard
Harris pitch-perfect turn as the tragic king, while First
Knight, with Richard Gere and Sean Connery, attempted to breathe
new life, and some swashbuckle, into the legend.
Other movies, such as John Boormans bloody Excalibur, throw
a Braveheart spin on things, chronicling the legend in grim, realistic
fashion, and completely doing away with the romance which filled
the likes of Camelot.
The latest film version of the classic story looks set to fall
into both categories, however, given the hype currently surrounding
one of the Summers blockbusters.
King Arthur is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and stars Keira
Knightley (as Guinevere), Clive Owen (as Arthur), Ioan Gruffudd
(as Lancelot), Stephen Dillane (as Merlin), and Ray Winstone (as
Bors). It is directed by Antoine Fuqua, of Training
It is said to be based on a 15th Century account of the British
King, namely Le Morte D'Arthur, by Sir Thomas Malory,
who viewed Arthur as a British revolutionary against Roman rule.
It will also strip away the magic and fantasy, in favour of the
blood and guts of heroism and war.
According to Bruckheimer, in an interview with Empire Online:
"We're taking what Malory researched, which was the real
King Arthur, who was a Roman. His name was Arturius. Rome had
conquered the world, and they had their legions in Britain. The
British didn't want them there."
The film will also focus on the history and politics of the period
during which Arthur ruled, as opposed to the mystical elements
of the tale on which past Arthur films have focused.
The trailer has recently been released and features a voice-over,
plus plenty of footage of the cast, including Knightley as a Celtic
warrior queen, daubed in war paint, ready for battle (the actress
reportedly had to endure boot camp in preparation for her role).
Given Bruckheimers reputation for delivering the blockbuster
for the Summer, it is difficult to know how audiences will take
to this latest venture.
Many pundits were writing off Pirates
of the Caribbean this time last year (given that it was based
upon a theme park ride), while his glorification of the events
at Pearl Harbor failed
to generate the record-breaking Box Office bonanza that many were
predicting when the teaser trailers first appeared.
Fuqua, too, has yet to establish himself as a genuine director
of worth, or a mere one-hit wonder, given that his Training Day
was followed up with the hopelessly patriotic Tears
of the Sun.
King Arthur continues to capture the interest and fire the imagination
of many history fans; but with Merlins spells cast into
the background, it could well lack the necessary magic to make
it a success.