It's got a round table, some knights, and a noble warrior who rises to become King Arthur
, but everything else about this revisionist legend is pure Hollywood. That's not such a bad thing if you enjoyed Rob Roy
, and there's some intriguing potential in presenting the "real" Arthur (played by Clive Owen) as a 5th-century soldier of Rome, assigned to defend Roman-imperial England against a hoard of invading Saxons (led by Stellan Skarsgard in hairy villain mode). As revamped history and "archaeological findings" would have us believe, Guinevere (Keira Knightley) is a warrior babe in face-paint and Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) is a nonentity who fades into the woodwork. Never mind. Best to enjoy the harsh, gloomy atmosphere of Irish locations, the ruggedness of Owen and his hearty supporting cast, and the entertaining nonsense of a Jerry Bruckheimer production that strips battle-ready Guinevere down to leather-strap S&M gear while all the men sport full-body armor. Hail to the queen, indeed! --Jeff Shannon
Combining the historical appeal and epic sequences of films like Gladiator
, director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day
) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer provide a sleek twist on the King Arthur legend. Arthur (Clive Owen), a brave Roman/British Christian warrior who leads his band of pagan knights on missions for the Empire, must complete one final mission before the knights can earn their freedom from servitude and Arthur can return to Rome. Along the way, however, Arthur realises that the absence of the Romans will open the door for a crushing invasion of Britain by the Saxons, and he takes it upon himself to fight--alongside Merlin (Stephen Dillane) and Guinevere (Keira Knightley)--for the freedom of the British people. Stunning battle scenes with extensive attention to historical detail rely very little on computer graphics and instead use intricately realistic props, costumes, and scenery. Featuring the largest film set ever built in Ireland, King Arthur
features a scale replica of Hadrian's Wall and two complete villages. Haunting music by composer Hans Zimmer completes this story of unselfish heroism, which ultimately provides a satisfying completion to the legend of Arthur and his knights.