King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Guy Ritchie (2017)
Anyone familiar will Guy Ritchie's work will be surprised upon seeing King Arhur: Legend of the Sword so much does it stray away from what we've come to associate with the director. Whether one actually thinks his movies are funny or not, no one argues that he tries for serious and sober moods. His films are always lighthearted and jokey, replete with jokes and often, insouciance. Ritchie is trying something new here, which is generally a laudable thing, except that foray turned out so disastrous I sincerely hope he never again does anything except comedies.
Not many fantasy movies are made each year and very few of those are good, so I am mind-boggled when they consistently refuse to learn from the masterpieces of the past, or fail to do so. The LOTR movies were hits on every level and no one has even tried to emulate them since - it's like fantasy movies try to be bad on purpose.
Where LOTR was gorgeous to look at, filled to the brim with lush sceneries, breathtaking landscapes and amazing sets, Legend of the Sword looks like it was shot by a colour blind camera operator with depression using an Instagram filter conceived for emo kids and brown enthusiasts. There is so little colour in the entire ordeal that I almost orgasmed when Jude Law wore a white shirt for a full minute. Oh, and the image is so out of focus the opening credits look like misprinted WordArt blurbs and any wide shot is barely distinct from a collection of mud stains on a black, unwashed shirt.
While we're on the subject of comparing this movie to Jackson's trilogy, can we take a minute to appreciate the other things it did right? Like creating real characters and grounding them in the first movie, or explaining the motivations behind their actions, or how they managed to fill hundreds of pages of plot and exposition into relatively short movies in ways that made sense. Ritchie's plot is an incohesive mess of fantasy clichés, abysmal writing and nonsense developments, and there is not a single proper character in the entire thing. This is the sort of movie where all the bad guys wear black all the time, because they're so evil I guess. The story is one of good versus evil, which even Tolkien did, but there is nothing to recommend it.
If you are looking for a King Arthur story you're shit out of luck too, because this might as well be Jeremy Against the Very Evil King: There's a Sword in it Too. The entirety of this movie's relationship with the classic tale is that it sometimes uses its character's names. They probably only pretended to be adapting the legend for marketing reasons, and I cannot even bring myself to be mad about that at this point.
So very little thought went into thinking about and writing King Arthur that I was amazed to see they respected the time period enough to include vestigial elements of the Roman occupation in the scenery. They remembered the aqueducts but couldn't be bothered to remember to give their characters personalities?
The action looks like it was edited by some maniac with ADHD on speed and shot by a guy who always moves on fast forward speed. It's Ritchie gone mad, completely bazonkers. Most of his movies have a few scenes of brisk action editing, where a plan is being explained at the same time it is being deployed for instance, but imagine a movie that is shock full of that. And these scenes are not quiet either, the dial goes up to eleven and there come the basses. It is dulling and exhausting.
The music is shamefully wasted on this material. I don't know enough to call it Celtic, but to ignorant ears that is what is came out as, and I could see a better movie making great work out of it.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword manages to look drabber than Snow White and the Huntsman and has a plot that is miles worse than Gods of Egypt. That latter movie was the object of a How Did This Get Made episode and if there is any justice in the world so will this one. It is not even fun bad, it is relentlessly, pitilessly bad. It actually manages to make Jurassic World look good, because at least that movie, ridiculous as it was, had characters, non-epileptic editing, and hey, colour! What a pile of garbage.