CEL Masthead Winter 18

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Roslyn Hull

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Leads

… or, as IMDb says: “Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.”

Some readers, particularly the parents, may know the feeling when you really think you should not like something but you just can’t stop yourself? When you feel almost morally obliged to condemn something…but then you feel yourself diving right in and relishing the wrongness of it?

There may be a version of the Arthur legend out there that I haven’t seen but I doubt it. I’ve seen the Gucci armour in First Knight, the naked sex in Excalibur, the singing in Camelot…and can pretty much quote the whole script of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And don’t get me started on Marion Zimmer Bradley books!

I’m not just boasting, I am laying out my erm, ‘academic’ credentials so that when I say this film is a thoroughly enjoyable two hours, you’ll know I am speaking from a strong knowledge base.

Or, as a work colleague put it: ‘Aw Yerrr!’

Which makes me question why the reviews have been so flat. This is a legend, not fact (in fact) and there isn’t really a ‘right’ way to tell the story. So why not include towering elephants with entire armies on their backs? And octopus-witches?

We still have the battle between good and evil, the sword, the lady of the lake and lots of magic … it’s just that we also have a proto-king/gang leader being raised in a brothel in Londinium and a potential knight of the round table called Wet Stick.

And Charlie Hunnan (Arthur) credits Conor McGregor, of UFC fame, as the inspiration for his depiction of the most ripped Arthur ever.

Am I painting a picture yet? Director Guy Ritchie is very good at a specific style of film and he doesn’t mess with his winning formula here. It is hilarious, bombastic, knock down, drag up action filmmaking at its best. With some of the best montages this side of the 1980s. I simply do not care that there would not have been a dojo in Londinium in Arthur’s time, because he didn’t have a time, he wasn’t real.

It is also a stroke of genius to have Jude Law as the evil uncle – so attractive and so very bad – and Eric Bana as Uther Pendragon. I just wish there could have been more of Uther. Still, Djimon Hounsou (as Sir Bedivere) sticks around, as does Neil Maskell, from Humans (such a great sci fi series).

The music is like Enya and a Scandi metal singer had a baby, the dialogue is street and sassy, the costuming is a fine mix of East End gangster and medieval chic and the special effects are really very special.

All in all a rollicking night out at the movies (with a cameo from David Beckham)!

Roslyn saw this film as a guest of Limelight Cinemas.


Ros Hull

Roslyn is a writer and storyteller who loves all things Canberra, her family, sci fi and movies – but not in that order. She has worked in museum education since 2001 and has a passion for imparting knowledge to others. Writing is her happy place, particularly if there is a dog at her feet and a coffee in her hand. More about the Author