This is a great film, though like most it has weaknesses. I was sorry that it was not received better and more so that there wasn't a sequel.
The historical Sarmatian link is both convincing and intriguing. The setting during the Roman withdrawal from Britain is interesting. The whole period of Roman withdrawal from Britain has so many resonances with our own times - whether it is British withdrawal from Empire, or American withdrawal from Afghanistan. I find this far better than throwing all history out of the window and watching a complete fairy tale. All of the actors, and it has a stellar cast including Owen, Knightley, Dillane, Mikkelsen and Winstone, are good. Owen is an excellent male lead, don't know why we don't see more of him these days. It also features I think Hans Zimmer's best theme music, bar none.
OK, maybe Guinevere wouldn't have gone head to head with the Saxons in an exquisite ripped leather bikini or spoken quite so beautifully, but give over - it's not a documentary - and it is very pretty. The success or failure of a film is always in the writing. How do producers never get this? The writing starts well - one or two grating cliches but not bad. Towards the end, there is not so much a resolution as a lengthy swordfest followed by a happy ending. You can see that the basic premise, which is as close to historical fact as we are ever likely to be on this subject, has got a huge amount of dramatic potential, and that is only partly exploited. With more effort, it could have been so much better. I think it is silly to be over critical about historical accuracy - it is entertainment, and that doesn't mean that it can't be thought provoking and informative. As for how could a bunch of Woads have beaten the Saxons? Well, at Badon Hill, somebody did.
There is an extended edition which you can see on Youtube but isn't for sale anywhere. All extended editions are better and this is no exception. .
'Arthur' and his 'Sarmatian' Knights have served their time, 15 years of fighting for 'Rome' however before freedom is finally granted they are ordered to complete one further mission. their task -- they are to travel north into the lands of the 'Woads' to bring back the 'Pope's' favourite nephew who with his father lives in an isolated outpost set deep inside 'Wode' territory. the mission becomes even more dangerous because of a new threat posed by invading Saxons. at the outpost they find a compound walled up, among those left to perish 'Woad' 'Guinevere' ( who of course is freed by 'Arthur' ) the 'Saxon' army is not only a threat to 'Merlin's' people in the north. it is also a threat to those south of Hadrian's Wall behind which the 'Roman' legions are withdrawing. both those north and south of the Wall now have a common enemy........ the invading 'Saxon's' perhaps there are one or two 'casting' issues on board however though a a film of recent years it is an action-packed epic adventure surely well worth revisiting. if like myself you have interest in the legend of King Arthur and Camelot perhaps the one film that closely follows the well known legend and well worth seeing if you have not yet done so, is the movie 'Excalibur'
As an Fuqua action movie it works well enough and entertains. One serious fault is the script: the language is so wooden, lifeless. I think the script was trying for an echo of imagined period, for a distance that would authenticate; but the actors have to wrestle with full grammatic sentences rather than speakable dialogue. All the actors handle this manfully and especial credit to Clive Owen for going straight in and being serious: this works and gives him authority if not conviction. Pity about those "Celtic" tattoos, imitated from the world's tattoo parlours where they were invented. They would baffle any genuine Pict on sight.
Love anything to do with the Arthurian legends me. Whilst almost nothing is really known about the Dark ages when 'King Arthur' is supposed to have lived, the stories made up are real ripping yearns, and this one is no different.