A man, having fallen in love with the wrong woman, is sent by the sultan himself on a diplomatic mission to a distant land as an ambassador. Stopping at a Viking village port to restock on supplies, he finds himself unwittingly embroiled in a quest to banish a mysterious threat in a distant Viking land.
Based on a more realistic portrayal of "Arthur" than has ever been presented onscreen. The film will focus on the history and politics of the period during which Arthur ruled -- when the Roman empire collapsed and skirmishes over power broke out in outlying countries -- as opposed to the mystical elements of the tale on which past Arthur films have focused.Written by
All of the principal actors attended a two week boot camp under the supervisor of stunt coordinator Steve Dent. The training included horse-riding, combat riding, archery, boxing, sword fighting, weight training and wilderness social bonding. Because of his age, Ray Winstone didn't attend boot camp, but he had boxed in his youth and this was incorporated into his character. See more »
After they rescue Guinevere and Lucan, Lancelot approaches Arthur and says "If the Saxons find us we will have to fight." His lips don't move along with the words. See more »
By 300 AD, the Roman Empire extended from Arabia to Britain. But they wanted more. More land. More peoples loyal and subservient to Rome. But no people so important as the powerful Sarmatians to the east. Thousands died on that field. And when the smoke cleared on the fourth day, the only Sarmatian soldiers left alive were members of the decimated but legendary cavalry. The Romans, impressed by their bravery and horsemanship, spared their lives. In exchange, these ...
[...] See more »
There are no opening credits, not even the production company and studio bumpers, only the title. See more »
The film was originally envisioned and shot as an R-rated piece with corresponding graphic violence. However, after the picture had been edited, Disney executives demanded it be changed to a PG-13, hence necessitating a lot of effects work to remove the blood from the battle scenes. Additionally, a number of scenes were removed and rearranged, and some new scenes were added. In total, the Director's Cut runs roughly 15 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. These additions include:
the scene where young Lancelot () leaves his village in longer.
a scene of young Arthur () with his mother (), and then a scene where he discusses freedom with Pelagius () whilst he watches the young Lancelot arrive on the hilltop.
during the first battle, aside from the additional blood that was digitally removed from the theatrical version, numerous quick shots have been added. These include: Picts dragging Romans off their horses and killing them; a Pict slashing at a horse with his sword, causing it to fall; a Pict decapitating a soldier and holding his head aloft, only to be beheaded himself from behind; a Pict hit with an arrow; a Pict impaled on a spear; a Pict hit in the back with an arrow whilst trying to get to the Bishop; a scene of a Pict being hit in the eye with an arrow; a scene of Lancelot () decapitating a Pict by using his swords like a scissors; a scene of Bors () fighting with his 'gloved knives'; a scene of Bors stabbing a Pict in the throat.
after the battle, in the theatrical version, the fake bishop () has an arrow in his chest; in the Director's Cut, it is in his head.
a scene where the knights approach the real Germanius () with their weapons drawn, before realizing that all is well and sheathing them.
the conversation between Germanius and Arthur () is longer.
a scene of the knights toasting their fallen comrades at the Round Table.
a scene where Germanius visits the knights as they prepare to leave, and they show him their disapproval of the mission.
the Director's Cut does not contain the scene where the knights sit around a camp fire talking about their prospective lives in Sarmatia.
a scene where some dead soldiers are found on the side of the road.
a conversation between Lancelot and Guinevere () about England and the weather.
another conversation between Lancelot and Guinevere, this time at night, where they discuss family and faith. The scene ends with Lancelot telling her he would have left her in the dungeon.
the first conversation between Merlin () and Arthur has been edited differently with different takes used.
an aerial shot of Hadrian's Wall
a scene where Dagonet () is buried.
a scene of Bors sitting at Dagonet's grave, getting drunk.
the sex scene between Guinevere and Arthur is in a different place in both versions of the film. In the theatrical version, Arthur is seen in full battle armor, examining the broken image of Pelagius, when he is alerted that the Saxons are heading towards Hadrian's Wall. He runs outside, but when he appears, he is hastily putting on his shirt, and his hair is disheveled, thus creating something of a continuity error. The sex scene follows this scene. In the Director's Cut however, after the conversation between Arthur and Guinevere where they discuss his morality, they begin to have sex only to be interrupted with the news of the Saxons. The scene then cuts to Arthur appearing on the wall, putting on his shirt. As such, the scene where he is examining Pelagius's image is absent from the Director's Cut. The scenes have been edited together differently as well, with the sex scene in the Director's Cut being slightly longer than the theatrical version.
a scene where Cynric () is demoted for his failure during the ice battle. His frustration is much to Cerdic's () amusement.
a scene of the knights leaving Hadrian's Wall amidst hundreds of small fires set by the Saxons.
the scene of the confused Saxons in the fog is longer, with more Saxons being chopped down, including one having his arm severed.
the scene of the sole Saxon survivor () running back to the Saxons is longer.
during the final battle, aside from the additional blood that was digitally removed from the theatrical version, numerous quick shots have been added. These include: a scene of a Saxon impaled by an ax in his chest; a scene of Guinevere stabbing a fallen adversary; a scene of a Saxon being stabbed in the throat; a scene of Guinevere stabbing a Saxon in his crotch; a scene of Arthur ramming his sword into a Saxon's throat; a scene of Gawain () being shot in the chest with an arrow and pulling it out; the scene of several female warriors overpowering a Saxon is much longer and more violent as the women begin to literally tear him to pieces; a scene of Tristan () slowly approaching Cerdic; a scene of Bors being stabbed in the back but continuing to fight; a scene of Ganis () fighting a Saxon inside the Wall; a scene where a Saxon is stabbed in the face; the battle between Tristan and Cerdic is longer and more graphic; the scene of Lancelot being wounded is in slow motion; the scene of Cerdic's death is longer and includes a new conclusion where he and Lancelot crawl towards one another and Lancelot stabs him through the throat; the fight between Cerdic and Arthur is slightly longer, with Arthur stabbing Cerdic a final time after Cerdic has whispered Arthur's name.
A film replete with misconception, ignorance and tedium.
Yes, I gave this only three stars. Why? Because the filmmakers seem to have lost sight of presenting the average film-goer with an engaging story or attempting to portray Arthur more plausibly.
This last point rankles all the more since the opening text implies archaeological support for the story that follows.
Anachronisms, or just plain cheap shots: Steel swords among the northern tribes of Europe at the height of the Bronze Age; a Harris Hawk - from Mexico, no less - when a score of birds utilized in Eurasia could have been had. Why not a Goshawk, Gyrfalcon, Golden Eagle or Eurasian Kestrel? Germanic invasion from north of Hadrian's Wall, when history shows Anglo-Saxon mercenaries were invited to Kent (closest to France and farthest southeast from the Wall) expressly to combat invasion by the tribes the Wall was intended to contain. This, by the way, occurred decades after the Roman evacuation. The mercenaries invited their cousins and they turned on their employer, eventually displacing Celtic kings as far as Wales and Cornwall; Arthur as an innovator of democratic ideals when both Celtic and Nordic practice of assembly and voting predate this story line by centuries; Greek Fire; crossbows; the chief of the army left to fight alone in the field of battle - any reading of old English texts displays the borrowed glory of fighting and dying at the side of the chief; Christianity demonized repeatedly.
At least Arthur is portrayed as actually praying. His heartfelt cries to God are the real stuff of prayer, for my experience has shown hope stands where understanding falters.
This film desperately needed variety, its air of tension and menace was hardly relieved by the pointless and poorly prepared seduction scene. Are we to believe Guenivere (by whatever spelling) expected to persuade Arthur to love her land and people by offering him her body? The battle scenes could have had greater impact if they were balanced by scenes of hilarity and bonhomie: witness the range of emotion and tone of "Gladiator" and especially "Master & Commander."
Fortunately, the dialogue is so tedious this movie may do less damage in reinforcing ignorance than we find in "Gladiator" or "Braveheart." For in one we find Caesar engaged in single combat with a gladiator on the Colosseum floor (yeah, right) and in the other Wallace is seduced by Isabella of France (never mind the implications for the head of a queen consorting with a rebel, nor the 4 children she bore to Edward II, including Edward III).
The considerable talents of Keira Knightley hardly persuade me to recommend this film to anyone. She shines more brightly in plenty of other films already. Ioan Gruffudd (nice use of Welsh) is worth looking for in other efforts, as well.
14 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this