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Blu-ray Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

August 8, 2017

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Directed by Guy Ritchie, following his entertaining pair of Sherlock Holmes films and his fun reboot of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.King Arthur: Legend of the Sword updates the classic tale of the man who freed the sword in the stone, with mostly disappointing results.

This version of the story shows Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) as a young scrapper who was raised on the streets fending for himself after his father King Uther (Eric Bana) is killed by his power-hungry uncle Vortigern (Jude Law).  But when Arthur discovers his true destiny after pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone, he sets out to avenge his uncle so that he can regain his rightful place on the throne.

Doing an updated take on this story with modern visual flair isn’t a terrible idea, but King Arthur: Legend of the Sword ends up being somewhat of an overblown mess of muddled action sequences and digital special effects, that is almost incoherently assembled and tonally all over the place.  The script works in a surprising number of one-liners to try and keep the mood light, but the quippy dialogue often ends up feeling awkward beside the grandiose action sequences.

The film rushes through its plot at mad speed, utilizing flashy quick cuts and choppily edited montages to show the passage of time, while also relying on an over abundance of slow motion shots that can look cool at first but serve little purpose.  There are some fun visual moments here and there, and the Celtic-flavoured music in the film is excellent and fittingly atmospheric, but King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is ultimately a tiring exercise in style over substance.

The Blu-ray also includes the eight featurettes Arthur With Swagger, Sword From the Stone, Parry and Bleed, Building in the Past, Inside the Cut: The Action of King Arthur, Camelot in 93 Days, Legend of Excalibur and Scenic Scotland.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a Warner Bros. release.  It’s 126 minutes and rated PG.

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