King Arthur Made Me Puke
May 18, 2017 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Comic Book Girl 19 did not have a nice time watching King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and the choppy editing and intense music didn't help.
posted by Foci for Analysis (56 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Loved her shout out to The Mists of Avalon. I'd also like to see that done as a high-quality TV series. I seem to recall it was made into a basic cable miniseries sometime in the nineties with Julianna Margulies as Morgan, but I also remember not enjoying it very much.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:35 AM on May 18


choppy editing and intense music

it looked like "King Arthur Begins" to me from the trailer, yeah. Which could have been sort of cool I guess, redo the old Arthurian legend in edgy bro-movie style. No, who am I kidding.
posted by thelonius at 7:43 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I also remember not enjoying it very much.

Yeah, they tweaked the plot a ton, as I recall.

I respect the King Arthur myths too much to see this. Well, maybe someday on Netflix or something. I'll just go watch Excalibur again.
posted by dnash at 7:45 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


Every review I've seen has called out the editing. Perhaps waiting for the director's cut DVD is called for here.
posted by tommasz at 7:53 AM on May 18


It's only as Arthurian as Arthur got in his Ford Excalibur and drove down to the Camelot diner, but modern action editing aside, it was pretty fun. Sons of Anarchy - Camelot chapter is a Guy Ritchie movie influenced by Borman's Excalibur and early 80s fantasy paperbacks.
posted by khaibit at 7:55 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


The Man from U.N.C.L.E. had a few well-edited set pieces, but mostly the editing in that film was crap, too. Guy Ritchie is of the school that believes that film editing is always supposed to call attention to itself, rather than be subliminal. Sometimes it can work, but more often than not, it's just wankery.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:00 AM on May 18




It looks like King Arthur for geezers, and David Beckham is acting in it. Looking forward to seeing it for 'so bad it's good' potential, but i think it might just be 'so bad'.
posted by DanCall at 8:03 AM on May 18


Guy Ritchie is of the school

Less a school more a borstal overseen by Michael Bay.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:05 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


My suspicion is that nothing about it really says "Arthurian legend" or "Guy Rtitchie", and so it falls in a weird unloved wasteland between.
posted by Artw at 8:05 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


borstal

Nah, ee's a posh kid, init?
posted by Artw at 8:06 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


The Mists of Avalon

Should stay unadapted and ignored until all of us are dead, or at least until decades have passed. Future Arthurian adaptations are going to face ever more scrutiny as more of the adaptations fail; no movie producer in their right mind would or should throw the controversy over Marion Zimmer Bradley into their movie's critical mix as another reason for audience backlash.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:15 AM on May 18 [16 favorites]


It's weird that I'm named after King Arthur, have an interest in Arthurian legend and have not one inch of an interest in seeing this or the 2004 movie everyone has probably all forgotten about.

Or the Arthurian cinematic universe this thing was supposed to launch.

So anyway, Excalibur is awesome, watch that, crank the speakers loud for the music.
posted by Artw at 8:18 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


This is one of those movies where the trailer seemed to have been aimed at Vogons. "LOOK AT THIS INSANE JUDDERING SHIT! HAVE A HEADACHE NOW? WHY NOT TORTURE YOURSELF FURTHER?"
posted by selfnoise at 8:26 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Surely we're just failing to connect with the film. I can't believe a movie by the man who directed Madonna's remake of Swept Away could be all that bad.
posted by Naberius at 8:27 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Counting against King Arthur too may been its overly male focus.

Has there ever been a story where a woman tried to become a knight of the Round Table (either in disguise Polly Oliver style, or otherwise)? That could be a fun movie.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:31 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Surely we're just failing to connect with the film. I can't believe a movie by the man who directed Madonna's remake of Swept Away could be all that bad.

At the very least his career will always be on an upwards trajectory away from that point.
posted by Artw at 8:32 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


That 2004 movie was a boring, generic pile of garbage. D-, would not watch again.
posted by Caduceus at 8:37 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


It's weird that I'm named after King Arthur, have an interest in Arthurian legend and have not one inch of an interest in seeing this or the 2004 movie everyone has probably all forgotten about.

Weird, or just a sign that you have good instincts? I saw the 2004 one and remember almost nothing about it whatsoever. It wasn't even bad enough to be worth watching for how bad it was, just utterly forgettably pedestrian. I too have no desire to see this new one.

Once I got past Arthur's lack of eyebrows, I liked the Starz Camelot show from a few years back, as far as slightly weird re-imaginings of Arthur go, but given how fast it got cancelled I must've been pretty much the only one.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:38 AM on May 18


I've been waiting decades for a Camelot 3000 adaptation.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:41 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


Granted, the closest I get to teaching Arthurian legend involves occasionally breaking out Tennyson's Idylls of the King, but this film seemed very much not...King Arthur? In the trailers, I saw lots of over-the-top CGI, which looked uninteresting, and Jude Law wearing black armor and giving something that looked kind of like a Nazi salute, which did not add any attraction to the proceedings.

It's also possible that people are simply getting bored by revisionist origin stories, especially badly-written revisionist origin stories (Pan, looking straight at you).
posted by thomas j wise at 8:48 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


I'd love to see an Arthur movie that starts normal - knights and kings and gowns and honor and stuff - that takes a hard left turn about 1/3 of the way in when UFOs descend from the sky and Mars Attacks.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:49 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


If all we are going to do is redo stuff, where is a musical version of Pan's Labyrinth? Where is Werner Herzog's remake of Roman Holiday?
posted by thelonius at 9:02 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Epic fail: why has King Arthur flopped so badly?

I hope the conclusion the suits draw is "Guy Richie sucks" not "Arthurian Legend movies bomb"

How is it that The Once and Future King has never been adapted?
posted by leotrotsky at 9:04 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see an Arthur movie that starts normal - knights and kings and gowns and honor and stuff - that takes a hard left turn about 1/3 of the way in when UFOs descend from the sky and Mars Attacks.

They already tried something similar. It didn't go well.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:05 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


How is it that The Once and Future King has never been adapted?

Disney adapted "The Sword in the Stone" in 1963.
posted by octothorpe at 9:22 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


I'd love to see an Arthur movie that starts normal - knights and kings and gowns and honor and stuff - that takes a hard left turn about 1/3 of the way in when UFOs descend from the sky and Mars Attacks.

You would really love the Doctor Who books that Virgin put out.
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I'm just not getting the "cinematic universe" angle. What the hell was that supposed to be about? The Marvel and DC CUs connected different characters that normally (mostly) worked separately, occasionally crossing paths in different combinations. The Universal Monsters CU imagined crossovers of Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Mummy, Wolfman, etc. You could argue for a Star Trek CU, with TOS characters interacting with TNG and other series. LotR/Hobbit isn't a CU, it's just one long story. But King Arthur? Who else is in this shared universe? Is Arthur supposed to meet up with Robin Hood or Joan of Arc? Does Hank Morgan show up? Do we meet d'Artagnan, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Don Quixote in foreign adventures?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:25 AM on May 18


So anyway, Excalibur is awesome, watch that, crank the speakers loud for the music.

I can still recite the Charm of Making from memory flawlessly, and I haven't seen it in decades.

OTOH, thanks for introducing this YouTuber to me and confirming I won't be watching her reviews again. She seemed far more interested in mugging for the camera than giving any really useful criticism, IMO.
posted by Samizdata at 9:31 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Has there ever been a story where a woman tried to become a knight of the Round Table (either in disguise Polly Oliver style, or otherwise)?

On the gleefully cracktastic time-travel TV show Legends of Tomorrow, team captain Sara Lance has a whirlwind affair with Guinevere that ends up inspiring the legend of Lancelot.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:31 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


Huh. That's DC, so if they wanted to they could go ahead and put Sir Ystin in it.
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on May 18


I'd love to see an Arthur movie that starts normal - knights and kings and gowns and honor and stuff - that takes a hard left turn about 1/3 of the way in when UFOs descend from the sky and Mars Attacks.

It made for a really fun book! I'd totally pay to see a film adaptation. Maybe by James Gunn once he's done with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Yes Roland Emmerich did a film adaptation in 1994. So it's obviously not a "can't fail" idea... My god was that horrible.
posted by Naberius at 9:43 AM on May 18


Film adaptations of poetry are totally a thing, right? I vote for Winter Solstice, Camelot Station.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:48 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


choppy editing and intense music didn't help

I can understand some not enjoying the hyperkinetic editing, but Daniel Pemberton's score was easily one of the best I've heard in recent memory.

As for the the movie itself, I personally enjoyed it. It plays like a mashup of Ritchie's best film (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) and the classic Arthurian legend.

After all - - kings are simply gangsters of the highest order.
posted by fairmettle at 10:21 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Artw: the 2004 movie everyone has probably all forgotten about

I *LOVED* Bruckheimer's King Arthur. Clive Owen did an amazing job highlighting the character's devotion to his men, Ioan Gruffud's gruff Lancelot was a perfect foil, and the fight scenes were very well choreographed. My only complaint is that his director has no real idea how to film Kiera Knightley without highlighting her... impressive jawline.
posted by hanov3r at 10:36 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Didn't the 2004 King Arthur make some gestures toward Dark Age* period authenticity? Few things irritate me more than late-medieval-looking Arthuriana**. It's almost as bad as movies about Greek myths where everybody's wearing classical garb and hoplite helmets. Fucking criminal!

*I know we just discussed that this is no longer the favored term in the potus45 thread but TOO BAD

**this Guy Ritchie movie appears to sidestep this pitfall by setting the movie in some ahistorical unperiod of shiny nonsense, as far as I can tell from the trailer

posted by prize bull octorok at 10:39 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


My favorite result from the Bruckheimer movie was Cleolinda's King Arthur in 15 Minutes. "HEY BABY, HEY BABY, YOU SO FINE, BABY" and "can I borrow a cup of sex?" still pop into my head at inappropriate times.
posted by nicebookrack at 10:44 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


But King Arthur Flour will make you salivate ..

NPR's coverage was good: noted that pretty much all Arthur movies have flopped, except the ones with the Knights who say "Ni"
posted by k5.user at 10:59 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


The problem with the editing was more that the movie couldn't decide if it was being made in the style of 300 (apparently the evil bad guy borrowed Hannibal's fire-breathing giant elephants, and that's why they never reached Rome?), Ritchie's earlier work (the interrogation scene near the beginning being very much in the vein of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels), some odd mashup of Run Lola Run and Game of Thrones (for various running or growing up montage scenes), or Vikings (shooting flaming arrows at funeral biers/pyres on boats = cool Viking ritual; shooting flaming arrows at similar type biers spaced around a field of probably relatively dry grass in England but with the soundtrack from Vikings playing in the background = not well conceived on quite a variety of fronts), and kept cycling between trying to emulate/shamelessly steel from each of these styles. As my friend who I watched the film with remarked, it's like there were four different directors and they kept taking turns.

As MST3K fodder, it was an excellent movie. I was certainly entertained while watching it. Probably not in the manner intended by the film production staff.

As one might expect, Mallory Ortberg has the best review.
posted by eviemath at 11:59 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


I'm glad to see from the clips that the movie contains both colors!
posted by JHarris at 12:14 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


It was a crap film with a few lovely visuals (the Death Dealer type chracter noted in that seriously annoying film review, for one), and zero interesting female roles (felt like I was back in time again where women are mere plot points- not actual characters with thoughts and motives and complexity, just objects that horrible things happen to so the action can then take place).
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:10 PM on May 18


Didn't the 2004 King Arthur make some gestures toward Dark Age* period authenticity? Few things irritate me more than late-medieval-looking Arthuriana**.

Eh, Late Antiquity (but not too Welsh) Arthur is usually as anachronistic as Jousting Knights Arthur, and late medieval Arthuriana have given us Excalibur and Monty Python and the Holy Grail at least, so whatever.
posted by sukeban at 1:23 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Since Cleolinda has been quoted above, can I link to the history-spork (previously on LJ, lately of Dreamwidth) entries for King Arthur (2004) and First Knight? (spoilers abound, obviously)
posted by sukeban at 1:29 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


My sole memory of the trailer is "Hey, nice arming doublet. Hand-finished eyelets!"

And I stand by that. It is a very nice hand-stitched arming doublet.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:11 PM on May 18 [7 favorites]


Didn't the 2004 King Arthur make some gestures toward Dark Age* period authenticity? Few things irritate me more than late-medieval-looking Arthuriana**.

I'd go even further than sukeban in pushing back against this, and say that Arthuriana is intrinsically anachronistic. It's all just layers of projection and romancing on the solid bed of lies laid down by that old fraud Geoffrey of Monmouth in any case. We only understand Arthur as we do because the Romantics got enthused about the mid and late mediaeval depictions of him anyway. That's the joy of myths though, isn't it? That they can be about things and times that never were, while simultaneously being all about us, right now, and saying something worthwhile about that too.
posted by howfar at 4:33 PM on May 18 [8 favorites]


I suppose I'll never see the adaptation of Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles in my lifetime. Too bad because there's some incredible characters in that series. But I'm OK with the 2004 Arthur. Yeah, there were anachronisms and some cheese but it at least tried to move it away from any chivalrous knights in armor bullshit and man, what a great cast.

I'll watch this whenver it pops up on basic cable and mourn what happened to the guy that did Snatch and Lock, Stock...
posted by Ber at 7:11 PM on May 18


This is the best possible commercial FOR the movie. If it makes someone twitch and freak out like that it must be worth seeing, at least as an experience.
posted by Docrailgun at 9:04 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


robocop is bleeding: "I'd love to see an Arthur movie that starts normal - knights and kings and gowns and honor and stuff - that takes a hard left turn about 1/3 of the way in when UFOs descend from the sky and Mars Attacks."

Basically The High Crusade, then.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


I just saw this movie tonight and uh, yeah it's really something. Its hard to describe just how bad it fucked up, all while being so close to possibly getting it right. There's a glimmer of a better movie in threre, but it's hiding under the glaring issue that VERY SCENE IS A DAMN MONTAGE. The edit is horrendous.

If you're interested in editing in any way, watch it. It will baffle and disturb.
posted by InkDrinker at 9:14 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see an Arthur movie that starts normal - knights and kings and gowns and honor and stuff - that takes a hard left turn about 1/3 of the way in when UFOs descend from the sky and Mars Attacks.

You might get a kick out of MST episode 1105, a Western called "The Beast of Hollow Mountain," then. No UFOs, but they have a dinosaur....
posted by JHarris at 11:07 PM on May 18


They just had "The Beast of Hollow Mountain" on the local over-the-air B-movie science fiction channel (no MST involved). I'm watching this ordinary cowboy movie, with a rancher trying to make it but suspecting someone of stealing his cattle, a local Don about to get married, but his fiance has a secret love for the rancher, and a swamp with quicksand that might also be the cause of the disappearing cattle. (I might have some of this mixed up because it was playing in the background while I worked).

Everything is going fine--as typical a cowboy movie as you could imagine. Then, over 3/4 of the way through the movie, a T-Rex appears! So it wasn't the quicksand after all.
posted by eye of newt at 12:39 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Ber: I suppose I'll never see the adaptation of Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles in my lifetime.

Since they're doing the Saxon Stories right now and the Warlord Chronicles are very much in the grimdark vein of GoT, I wouldn't lose hope.

robocop is bleeding: I'd love to see an Arthur movie that starts normal - knights and kings and gowns and honor and stuff - that takes a hard left turn about 1/3 of the way in when UFOs descend from the sky and Mars Attacks.

There was this version of Beowulf with an alien as Grendel.
posted by sukeban at 8:52 AM on May 19


Anybody remember the good old days before social media when you'd watch a movie first before piling on?
posted by fairmettle at 1:07 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


But I'm OK with the 2004 Arthur. Yeah, there were anachronisms and some cheese but it at least tried to move it away from any chivalrous knights in armor bullshit and man, what a great cast.

I watched it this weekend because of this thread. Stannis Baratheon as Merlin! You can't beat that.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:03 AM on May 22


I would probably enjoy this film if it was about an ancestor of dipsomanic comic Arthur, perhaps with Helen Mirren in a complex duel role as Morgana Le Fay/Lillian Hobson.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:33 PM on May 22


I'd love to see an Arthur movie that starts normal - knights and kings and gowns and honor and stuff - that takes a hard left turn about 1/3 of the way in when UFOs descend from the sky and Mars Attacks.

Would you accept giant robots? Because this is not going to be the most bizarre blockbuster re-imagining of Arthurian legend to hit the big screen this year.
posted by Durhey at 11:38 AM on May 23


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