Major Spoilers so don't read if you plan on seeing the movie...
Saw the movie, great idea bad execution.
Maybe I was asleep at the begining, but was the naration done by lancelot?.. Now, if it was, how is recapping this thing from the grave? With that intro, you think he would have been a more promient figure, but he always seemed to be on the fringe.
Also, way to many subplots going on. Didn't know which one to focus on.
Should have introduced Gwyn much earlier.
Anyway, that's my rant. Just expected more from Bruckheimer.
This movie just seemed played out because, well, it is. After Gladiator, Gladiator 2 (Troy), Braveheart, Braveheart in America (The Patriot), and every other big battle scene movie this King Authur comes in a little late and feels competely "cliche". The story is weak, the acting is mediocre. However, the movie still gets a 7/10. Why? Well this may only apply for men, but in case you guys didn't know any movie with a huge battle scene and has arrows flying through the air striking many dead automatically gets a 7/10. Throw in a mega hot chick in there (Gweneveve er something) and you score some extra points. So yes it's played out. Yes it's plot never thickens. But you have massive battles and a hot chick. Good enough for me. That's my review. I'm out.
The 1983 Excalibur is perhaps my favorite film. Seen it a hundred times.
I just saw King Arthur the other day.
The newer movie isn't on the scale of the first in terms of production (other than a few large battle scenes). But the basic story is absolutlely GREAT in the new version.
First, the Excalibur was an adaptation of later King Arthur stories. The new movie uses alot of true historical evidence for a real Rex Arturus and went to great lengths to get the identities of the round table knights as Salmation knights.
Basically, they took what was very likely true history and accounted for the later additions to the legend (Guinivere didn't exist in the early Arthurian legends at all). Tey made Guinivere a Pict warrior princess. A far cry (and totally refreshing break) from the classical damsel in distress that Excalibur portrayed her as.
I LOVED that angle in the film.
As I did with Merlin being a Celtic chiefton. Perhaps the last of the dying breed of druids still in power to the north of Hadrian's Wall. He was a guerrila leader in King Arthur, which I think makes him far more compelling than as an omnipotent wizard in Excalibur.
What I think happened for me that made me enjoy King Arthur so much was that it was like watching the history of how the legend portrayed in Excalibur came about. Being so familiar with the legend of King Arthur, to see a serious attempt to place him in a historical context and explain how the characters came to be was just awesome. I think the director did a great job. Even the wonderous deeds of King Arthur are really boiled down to realistic events like helping villagers escape the Saxons. The battle on the frozen lake showed how a legend of a few men standing against an army could have a kernal of truth to it.
The new movie pretty much just accounted for all the legend stuff with a mundane (but no less epic given the outcome) events. The sword comes not from a stone, but did belong to Arthur's father. He was not immediately a king because of the sword, but had to carve a kindom out and unite the people.
To me, the best is still the shake up of classical characters. In King Arthur, Lancelot is not the stalwart champion. but a reluctant (if talented) warrior with other loyalties. Arthur isn't even a true Briton, but a roman commander assigned to Hadrian's Wall.
Downside: with a movie this well made and acted, you could watch 6 hours of it. But alas, there has to be focus. So we learn little of Arthur's past in detail other than the Norman attack that cost him his father. And nothing on his later exploits.
Strangely, in King Arthur. Arthur doesn't die. And certainly not to his own son in that battle. In legend (and Excalibur) Arthur dies and goes on to Avalon. A very deliberate Jesus-like scenario. The new movie avoids this christian re-write and leaves Arthur alive.
So there is no love triangle in the new film. No Morgana and Mordred. Just saxons. (And the Saxon king's son is played by the dude that played Mark in SLC Punk- another favorite of mine)
Comparing the two in terms of content isn't easy. Apples and oranges. One is the embodiment of the later legend scripted and shot the way only huge epics used to be. Acted by shakespearean acotrs from europe. The other is no less well acted, but it's smaller focus makes it seem like a less grand movie.
The new film is not relying on the gradiosity of the legend for a story. It's relying on providing a different slant to someting you thought you already knew.
I highly recommend the film. It will give you a new appreciation of the legend to see how it MIGHT have had more humble beginnings.