Now, from the producer of PEARL HARBOR and the director of TRAINING DAY . . . experience the extended unrated director's cut of this hard-hitting action epic! Prepare for more thrills, more adventure, and more intensity as... more » the heroic true story behind one of history's greatest legends explodes onto the screen! It is the valiant tale of Arthur (Clive Owen) and his bond of brotherhood with Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) and the loyalty of the Knights Of The Round Table as they fight for freedom and those they love. Also starring Keira Knightley as Guinevere, this never-before-seen KING ARTHUR is a longer, grittier, and more explicit motion picture -- don't miss it!« less
"I have read the negative and positive reviews of this film, especially noting the numerous complaints about historical accuracy. But considering the era from which this story is created, and the various possibilities regarding exact time and place of events, (if they ever occurred at all), I think the film is a truly magnificent, thought-provoking piece about King Arthur.
Bringing in the aspect of the Sarmatians was long overdue in the Arthurian arena. Although various historians may argue the point, much evidence does point to the use of stirrups by about 8000 Sarmatian cavalry in the Roman army as early as 175 AD. With the commonly held belief that the stirrup was not introduced until many centuries later, I thought it a bold move for the movie makers to incorporate this into the film as well. It seemed to be one of the most commonly noted 'discrepancies' by reviewers, but I disagree - it is very accurate.
If you have watched only the PG13 version of this film, by all means, please watch not only the Director's Cut version, but take the time to also watch/listen to Antoine Fuqua's narrative over the film. His narration explains a lot, especially about how they had to change things drastically to make the mandated PG 13 rating. His explanation regarding his version of Lancelot and Guinevere is quite a statement as well.
The alternate ending was quite dark, or perhaps even depressing, in a way. I don't know which ending is more suitable, and actually would have liked to have seen perhaps a different ending altogether, just don't know what that would have been.
I thought the actors were incredible; the battle scenes (director cut) some of the only such scenes I've ever watched that let you identify the main characters' roles during the fighting; the photography was the best I have ever seen; the music illustrated and enhanced; and this movie left you wanting to see more when it was over.
There was no dwelling on use of special effects for blood and gore, or rediculous feats of super-power athletics, or campy remarks that would bring you immediately back to your own century. The horses were not constantly being tripped during battle scenes, either. All these were a welcome change from so many movies of today.
Above all, it passed the real test of a great movie - it left you with 'a feeling' after it was over.
In short, I loved it. Antoine Fuqua, you are a genius. "
FitzFG | Upstate New York | 12/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are looking for a strict retelling of the stereotypical King Arthur legend then this movie is not for you. If, however, you are open to seeing new interpretations of the tale then I would recommend watching this movie. This movie does a good job of combining the legend with history and a little bit of fantasy/epic-heroism. In doing this it becomes a movie that tells the story of the "real" Arthur and yet has enough elements of the legend to imply how the real story could have developed into the legend after years of retelling and exageration. One thing that I personally liked(others may disagree) is that they sidelined the love triangle between Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere. There were interactions that can be seen as the origins of the legend, but the love/betrayal plotline did not overwhelm the more engaging central plot.
This film only rates four stars because it is just a good film, not a great one. I would recommend renting it first to see if you like it before buying it."
Eoin | UK | 04/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The movie is pretty good BUT watch the directors cut only, however, historically and geographically it's a bit awry. YES there was a Romano-British warlord called Artorius Castus, YES 4000 Sarmatian heavy cavalry were sent to northern Britannia around 180 AD from southern Russia, it was part of a peace deal between Marcus Aurelius and the Sarmatians. YES the sword religon was a Scythio-Sarmatian ritual of the sacred sword, blood, plunging it into the earth etc However most of their desendents by the 450's AD (when the movie is set) when the romans left britain would have been native british, and half were thought to have left to fight with Constantine in Europe. NO they wouldn't have worn armour as in the film. The Picts were ORIGINAL peoples of northern britain (Scotti were immigrants from Dal Ria in North Ireland). They may have worn blue (Woad) body paint as modern research has suggested it had antiseptic properties to protect against wounds, they did use composite bows and crossbows. The romans invited in the Saxons as mercenaries against the Irish, Scots, Welsh (no such term as Celt then! thats an 18th century invention) and other Saxon raiders. They rebelled when they weren't paid and took over southern britain, brought they're families over and the rest is history (evenually to become Aenglaland...England). One of the biggest mistakes in the film though is that all the romano-british v saxon fighting took place in southern britain, not around Hadrian's Wall, and the final battle of Baden Hill is thought to be in south-western england. But if you're not too bothered by that it's not bad, particulary the less sanitised Directors Cut version with the blood restored! If you're interested check out the book "Arthur the Dragon King by Howard Reid" for a good comprehensive historical account."
Pseudo-historical, but entertaining
R. L. T. Miskell | Norwood, MA | 10/26/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As a grad student in medieval history, let me first say that this movie's announced intention seemed intriguing. Then I saw the film. My hopes for a decent, responsible historical revision were smashed by its crass attempt at appearing revolutionary, innovative, and important.
The majority opinion is that Arthur, if he existed at all, was likely a Romanized Briton who fought against the slowly rising tide of Angle, Saxon, and Jute immigrants (many of whom were actually hired as mercenaries by the resident Britons to defend against Picts, etc. He would more likely have lived toward the end of the fifth century, or the beginning of the sixth; the Roman legions evacuated around the beginning of the fifth century.
Regarding the choice of Sarmatia (against one far-off vassal of Rome was as good as another), it makes no sense that the Roman Army would send such a small contingent so far afield from their origin, especially considering their utility against the Parthians. It would have been logistically irresponsible. Plus, Sarmatians would have fallen under the control of Constantinople; the Eastern emperors would likely not have sent useful auxillaries to the Western fringe, to their own military detriment.
Most horrendously, the film makes a gross mockery of the Church. While some might enjoy this, it is almost completely inaccurate, historically. (1) The bishop is shown in a most disrespectful and inaccurate manner; clearly the director/producer wanted to take a hit at the Catholic clergy with this movie. (2) Also, the Church did not resort to forced conversions, at least in the manner demonstrated in the film. The Church had only a century before come around to accepting the justifiability of warfare and capital punishment when carried out by Christian rulers. Torture didn't enter into accepted ecclesiastical practice until several centuries later, and then only in extreme inquisitorial cases. Furthermore, the inquisitorial procedure, we know it, was only initiated in pursuit of heresy under Innocent III, who reigned from the end of the 1100's to early 1200's. (3) The armies of the Roman Empire in the West did not serve the pope. There were no such things as "papal armies" at this time. There were odd, rare occasions that popes would lead defensive measures in the vicinity of Rome itself, but the popes did not send out pontifical armies to squash resistance, either political or doctrinal. This is terribly anachronistic. (4) Just as the popes did not have armies to enforce their will throughout the western half of the Empire, nor did they have the authority to make liberal, nepotistic land grants throughout the breadth of the Empire, as the movie portrays. This would be a dangerous act for any pope to take, considering both the reigning emperors in Rome itself (last was deposed in 476, long after troops were pulled from Britain), and the reigning emperors in the East, who lasted until 1453. And to argue on the basis of the Donation of Constantine is also anachronistic, as it dates from the mid to late eighth century.
All in all, this movie's claim to historical accuracy is null and void.
It is at least enjoyable for the martial violence and occasionally cheesy effects. "
As Fantasy, Okay--As History: NOT!
wysewomon | Paonia, CO United States | 10/24/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"_King Arthur_ purports to set the historical record straight, making Arthur (Artorius) a Romano-British Legion Commander in charge of a band of "knights:" warriors from a conquered middle-eastern tribe, the Sarmatians, renowned for heir horsemanship. Stationed in the north of Britain, near Hadrian's Wall, they defend the land from the Saxon Threat and marauding bands of blue-painted natives, or "Woads," under tribal leader Merlin.
As a fantasy movie, _King Arthur_ was really pretty enjoyable. The hero is struggling with the usual fantasy choice between loyalty to a country and loyalty to his inner sense of what is right, discovering along the way that the country he serves is not what he thought and the "savages" he's been fighting so long are more noble than some of his own people. Although this means that every time Clive Owen opens his mouth he's delivering some variation on Henry V's "Saint Crispin Day" speech, it makes for a good enough plot device. The sets and costumes are well done; there are some exciting battle sequences and lovely visual imagery. Even as Arthurian interpretation, this movie wasn't bad. There's plenty of historical evidence that Arthur was, in fact, a legion commander under just such circumstances. And I really liked the portrayal of Merlin and Guinevere as Picts--although I thought the movie could have made much better use of both of them.
However. If you're going to present something as history, revisionist or otherwise, you really need to get your details straight, and there was so much wrong with _King Arthur_ in this department that I spent a good part of the film groaning. For example: in the fifth century, the crossbow hadn't yet been invented. Even if they had, the Saxons wouldn't have used them, because they considered anything but hand-to-hand combat cowardly. The Saxons didn't raid to the north--the Wall was to keep the Picts at bay, not Raiders--and they didn't raid in winter. Nor did they come in large organized armies bent on conquest. A Roman villa would never have been built north of the Wall, which marked the boundary of the Empire. And why would a band of Indentured Sarmatian knights have names from 15th century French Romances?
I'm firmly of the opinion that much folklore and legend has root in historical events. The Matter of Britain is a complex tale and probably had complex roots. _King Arthur_ oversimplified them and eliminated any reference to possible causes except the names. By the end of the movie I was left wondering how such a moving story could have come from such banal source material.
I'd like to see a historical Arthur done well some day, with the attention to detail and character that it deserves. This wasn't it, but it's an okay movie as long as you can ignore the names."