In a time now lost in the mists of memory, the great King Arthur rules in the legendary citadel that is Camelot. His Knights of the Round Table perform acts of derring-do and spend their spa... Read allIn a time now lost in the mists of memory, the great King Arthur rules in the legendary citadel that is Camelot. His Knights of the Round Table perform acts of derring-do and spend their spare time jousting, much to the delight of the local citizens and especially to Princess Ile... Read allIn a time now lost in the mists of memory, the great King Arthur rules in the legendary citadel that is Camelot. His Knights of the Round Table perform acts of derring-do and spend their spare time jousting, much to the delight of the local citizens and especially to Princess Ilene, a guest at Camelot. Watching her from afar is a young, inexperienced squire called Val... Read all
The Arthurian legends have not always transferred well to the cinema screen. In recent years we have had the decidedly average romance "First Knight" and the decidedly below-average epic "King Arthur". "Prince Valiant", however, falls so far below average that it almost falls off the bottom of the scale. It is not a would-be epic along the lines of "King Arthur", but rather a sword-and-sorcery adventure along the lines of "Conan the Barbarian", "Red Sonja" or (to take a more modern example) "The Scorpion King".
Stephen Moyer makes a particularly dull hero, acting as though he were recovering from a serious charisma bypass operation. Katherine Heigl makes a pretty but equally uncharismatic heroine as Eileen/Elaine; on the evidence of this film she may have had the looks to succeed as a Hollywood star, but not the talent, so I was rather surprised that she has gone on to star in successful television series and films like "Gray's Anatomy" and "Knocked Up".Edward Fox, who stars here as Arthur, is a talented actor who should have known better than to sign up for rubbish like this.
The one exception to the generally low standard of acting is Joanna Lumley, still splendidly seductive in her fifties as Arthur's evil half-sister Morgan Le Fay, but this only made me wonder why Joanna, who is one of Britain's most popular television actresses, seems to make so many bad choices when she ventures into the cinema. There have been occasional exceptions, such as her cameo in the excellent "Shirley Valentine", but too many of her films have been awful ones- "Don't Just Lie There, Say Something" and "The Satanic Rites of Dracula" are other examples.
Even worse than the standards of acting are the action scenes and special effects. The fight scenes were all clumsily handled and those alligators were ludicrously unconvincing. The storyline was often confusing and difficult to follow and the lighting was so gloomy as to make me think that the film-makers were interpreting the phrase "Dark Ages" absolutely literally. "Prince Valiant" is billed as a British/Irish/German co-production, which only goes to show that there is at least one field, the tenth-rate fantasy epic, in which the European film industry can hold its own against American competition. I can only assume that the film's European origins were the reason that it was overlooked for a well-deserved Razzie nomination. 2/10
- Jan 4, 2009