King Arthur (2004) - Director's Cut

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Drama / Historical Epic
Touchstone || Unrated - 139 minutes - $19.99 || December 21, 2004
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-01-05


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer(s): David Franzoni (written by)
Cast:


Theatrical Release Date: July 7, 2004


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director Commentary
  • Blood on the Land: Forging King Arthur
  • Cast and Filmmaker Roundtable
  • Alternate Ending
  • Knight Vision
  • Producer's Photo Gallery
  • "King Arthur" Xbox Game Demo


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Was King Arthur a legend or did he really exist? Frankly, after watching this, I don't care. Training Day director Antonine Fuqua brings an uneven bag of slow pacing mixed with some pretty kick butt battle scenes (two be exact). However, it is the first 40 minutes that drag this thing down for me. The actors and even the direction was pretty good (though maybe someone other than Clive Owen may have been better for the lead role), but by the end, there was nothing to grasp. At the end we're supposed to feel inspired or have that feeling we understand the message of the film, but it never materialized.

King Arthur isn't bad, but it's another in a long line of movies which are destined to remain on the rental shelf because it is a one viewing and done deal here. Other than the great battle sequences, the other remaining plus is Keira Knightley in her leather-esque bikini toward the end, definately kept my attention.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary by director Antoine Fuqua: Pretty dry track with too many lulls, but for being by himself, he still manages to give a lot of information and resists narrating the movie and pointing out the obvious. He talks about how the parts were cast including that of Keira Knightley who had just finished Pirates of the Caribbean when executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer suggested this new young talent for the role of Guinevere. He also discusses his disappointment that the studio wanted a PG-13 film rather than the R-rated one he and others had signed on for.

Blood on the Land: Forging King Arthur: Another 'making-of' documentary that could've been split up into individual and more substantial documentaries on their own (and maybe this would've been done if the movie had made more). As it is, I guess it's a decent condensed showing of how the film was made. It goes through the casting, film locations, scoring by Hans Zimmer to the visual effects.

Cast & Filmmaker Roundtable: Executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer leads a roundtable discussion with director Fuqua, screenwriter David Franzoni and actors Clive Owen, Keira Knightley, Ioan Gruffudd and Hugh Dancy. This 16 minute roundtable takes place around a similar table (though sizeably smaller) from the film. The group talk about each other, how they came aboard, how writer Franzoni came up with the story, etc. I didn't find this all that interesting, but it gets some information across well (as well as maybe a commentary track would).

Alternate Ending: This comes with optional commentary from Fuqua and he basically explains that this one is a bit darker. This one is a bit darker but not depressing. The other ending gives more finality than this one.

Other features on the disc include Knight Vision, a factoid track to see while you watch the movie (useless but maybe for you true fans of KA may appreciate it). The Producer's Photo Gallery is just that, plenty of behind-the-scenes photos of the production. Lastly is the King Arthur Xbox Demo (as a PS2 player, I could care less).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

King Arthur looks very good as Antoine Fuqua's crisp colors and grand locations come across very well. There is also the typical Dolb Digital 5.1 Surround that unfortunately isn't very good. When the battle scenes should rock the room, it's instead too mild. No bark OR bite.



.::OVERALL::.

Since I had absolutely no expectations that King Arthur would be any good, it makes my feelings about the movie even worse. While the battle sequences were impressive, the film just did not have any emotional holding at all. Fuqua wanted to make a historical epic, a la Gladiator, and though he is a decent director, he doesn't seem to pocess the vision of Ridley Scott and others. In regards to Clive Owen, another fair talent, Hollywood seems to push him through the process in hopes he catches on at some point to be America's latest superstar. Perhaps one day that will happen, but King Arthur was not that vehicle for him.