Review / ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ (M) **

GUY Ritchie co-wrote (with Joby Harold) and directed this take on the Arthurian legend that stylistically more than any other film genre resembles Peter Jackson’s vision of “The Hobbit”, specifically, “The Battle of the Five Armies” (2014).

In other words, lots of guys rushing hither and yon whacking each other with pointy or edged instruments or bashing heads with blunt objects.

Ritchie has every right to massage what is at best nothing more than a legend into whatever fable he wishes. He’s set it in the 7th century. It starts with a battle raging between scruffy guys with giant elephants and other scruffy guys without elephants. There’s a mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) whose influence over Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) waxes and wanes between good and bad. No, “mage” is not a misspelling. It’s an archaic word for a magician. And where would cinema or literature be without magicians?

If you revere traditional accounts of the legend, you may find Ritchie’s version unpalatable. It certainly ain’t no “Camelot”! It inflates the legend into a fantasy employing all manner of escapist cinema motifs borrowed from, and scarcely more convincing than, outer-space movies. By the time its 127 minutes finished I neither knew nor cared what happened.


At all cinemas


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