King Arthur – Director’s Cut

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Rating: Unrated

Starring:
Clive Owen as Arthur
Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot
Mads Mikkelsen as Tristan
Joel Edgerton as Gawain
Hugh Dancy as Galahad
Ray Winstone as Bors
Ray Stevenson as Dagonet
Keira Knightley as Guinevere
Stephen Dillane as Merlin
Stellan Skarsgård as Cerdic
Til Schweiger as Cynric
Sean Gilder as Jols
Pat Kinevane as Horton
Ivano Marescotti as Bishop Germanius
Ken Stott as Marcus Honorius

Special Features:
• New extended edition with 15 minutes of added footage

• Alternate Ending “Badon Hill,” With Optional Director Commentary

• Blood On The Land: Forging King Arthur

• Cast And Filmmaker Round Table Video Commentary

• Commentary by director Antoine Fuqua

• “Knight Vision” Trivia Track

• Producer’s Photo Gallery

• Konami’s King Arthur Playable Xbox® Demo — Bring the King Arthur legend to life with this intense video game from Konami!

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 139 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“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 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!”

This version of King Arthur is unrated, but the theatrical version was rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, a scene of sensuality and some language.

The Movie:
I missed King Arthur when it first hit theaters, so I can’t compare this unrated version to the theatrical version. However, if I had to guess which parts of the film the new 15 minutes consisted of, it would be a few of the gorier moments of the battle scenes and some of the slower character development scenes. But I would think that if you were going to buy the DVD of King Arthur, you’d want this version simply because you were getting 15 minutes more film for your buck.

I found King Arthur to be a decent enough action flick. Though it takes a rather questionable view of history, is filled with hokey moments, and the characters are a bit dull, it does feature some amazing scenery and some well-choreographed fight scenes that make it worth checking out. The battles are generally well executed and they seem to display an easy to follow strategy that could believably allow our vastly outnumbered heroes to win in the end. There’s an impressive fight on a frozen lake that is quite cool. The big finale that features an all-out battle between the Britons and the Saxons is well done as well. If you’re into medieval action flicks, then King Arthur will deliver.

If you’re into history, though, this movie may make you cringe. I don’t know my Saxon and Roman history very well, but I’m sure quite a few liberties were taken with the facts along the way. I’m pretty sure women didn’t wear barely-there outfits like Kiera Knightley’s while running into battle. But it looked cool and I guess that’s what counts. I just wish the opening of the film didn’t portray the events in the film as historical fact. All that aside, though, this is quite a different portrayal of the King Arthur legend. It certainly makes the character more human and believable in a real-world context.

Clive Owen leads the cast as Arthur. He’s a good leader for the men, even if he is a bit dull at times. Ioan Gruffudd shows a little more emotion as Lancelot. Though he doesn’t have the fabled affair with Guinevere, he does show himself to be a ladies man and a fighter. Keira Knightley is beautiful as Guinevere. She also handles the fight scenes well, but she seems a little young for Arthur. I guess that doesn’t matter in medieval times. The other knights are an interesting variety of characters while Stellan Skarsgård makes a creepy bad guy as Cerdic.

The sets and locations are appropriately beautiful and eerie. They are well complimented by the music by Hans Zimmer. They all come together for a great atmosphere for the story to unfold in.

If you go into King Arthur just looking for some good action and lots of eye candy, then you’ll probably enjoy it quite a bit. If you’re looking for a legitimate historical drama then you’re probably better off picking another film.

The Extras:
There are a few extras included on this DVD:

Alternate Ending “Badon Hill,” With Optional Director Commentary – In this alternate (and more boring) ending to the film, we see the funeral of the knights, some more speeches by the characters about choosing their own destiny, and King Arthur encouraging a young lad. The entire wedding scene between Arthur and Guinevere is dropped. This ending closes the movie with a whimper rather than an upbeat note like in the theatrical version.

Blood On The Land: Forging King Arthur – This is your standard “making of” featurette with behind the scenes footage, interviews with the cast and crew, etc. They show the horse riding lessons, weapons training, digital effects, camera tricks, soundtrack recording, etc. It’s a pretty thorough look at the making of the movie.

Cast And Filmmaker Round Table – The main cast, the director, the writer, and Jerry Bruckheimer sit at a round table and discuss the film in this feature. They talk about their characters, their personal experiences on the set, and other such stuff. They each have fun stories from the film. It’s a bit more entertaining than your typical commentary even if it does seem like they struggle to find topics of conversation at times.

Director Commentary – Fuqua delivers the commentary all by himself for this DVD. I think it would have been more entertaining if he had other people to join in like Owen, Knightley, or other cast members. As it is the commentary is a bi dull at times.

“Knight Vision” Trivia Track – This feature pops up trivia about the movie as you view the film.

The Bottom Line:
King Arthur is a decent action flick worth checking out if you want a popcorn movie. Fans of Kiera Knightley and Clive Owen should really enjoy this one.

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