King Arthur

Release Date: July 7, 2004

Movie of the Day for Monday, May 24, 2004
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We've got swords and Keira Knightley and we're not afraid to use them.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
41/92 David Mumpower A two and a half hour film advertised as a Keira Knightley movie yet she doesn't arrive until the movie is halfway over. I'm suing for false advertising.
41/48 Les Winan Hilarious (not in a good way). It's a good thing this came out BEFORE Clive Owen's Closer accolades.
54/55 Reagen Sulewski Made entirely from spare parts of other, better, period piece battle films.
104/126 Kim Hollis BO-RING! I do like Keira Knightley as an empowered Guinevere, though.

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The ill effects of Gladiator are still being felt in Hollywood. Realistic historical representations of mythical heroes are all the rage. King Arthur is the latest legend to get the glossy, "what-if" treatment. This is not your Disney Channel's Sword in the Stone.

The presumption made is that Arthur was a very real mercenary leader some 1,500 years ago. His mother was a Brit and his father was a Roman, so the assumption is that he swears fealty to the Empire but has an overt fondness for his mother's people. As it happens, the Romans have been doing some good, old fashioined raping, pillaging and plundering of their northern brethren, the Britons.

During the course of leading his Russian troops (who have picked up the nickname of the Knights of the Round Table somewhere along the way) on some military sweeps, Artie encounters Guinevere, a union jacklyn who despises the Romans. It might have something to do with that pesky torture they performed on her. When Guinny discovers that there is British blood coursing through Art's veins, a clash of cultures ensues as she tries to stir his loyalty for Mother England. Along the way, they will probably fall in love, and he will probably usurp a throne or two.

The casting for King Arthur is fascinating. Rumored next James Bond, Clive Owen, is given his chance to prove that he can be an action hero. Keira Knightley, class of 2003 It Girl, follows up her previous Jerry Bruckheimer work in The Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl with this outing. In it, she sports an unusually masculine look during the action sequences shown in the trailer. It will be interesting to see how much audiences respond to that ambiguity.

The key players from the roundtable are Ioan Gruffudd, Hugh Dancy, Stephen Dillane and Joel Edgerton play Lancelot, Galahad, Merlin and Gawain respectively. Without going to IMDb (that's cheating!), how many of these people have you heard of? A decision has been made to cast well-pedigreed British thespians in the key roles rather than going with rising Hollywood names. It's an unusual decision, especially considering the budget and the fact that the co-leads aren't exactly household names yet.

Trying to make a historically representative account for the legend of King Arthur is obviously a tricky proposition. If you go too far into the mythical aspect, credibility is lost. If you lean too much on the history, the audience stifles a yawn. That's what makes this project such a bold and intriguing mix. Since it's a Jerry Bruckheimer production, we know that it will pack a ton of action and more than a bit of humor. Stuff will also blow up. Contrasting that with the artistic sensibilities of the cast makes this one of the most incongruous films of the summer. Will it be another Pirates of the Carribean or will it be another Reign of Fire? (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for King Arthur
Main Cast Clive Owen, Stephen Dillane, Keira Knightley
Supporting Cast Hugh Dancy, Ioan Gruffudd, Stellan Skarsgaard, Ray Winstone, Valeria Cavalli, Charlie Creed-Miles, Joel Edgerton, Sean Gilder, Pat Kinevane, Ivano Marescotti, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Ray Stevenson
Director Antoine Fuqua
Screenwriter David Franzoni
Distributor Touchstone
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 126 minutes
Screen Count 3,086
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for King Arthur
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl 7/11/0346.63 46.63 3269 14264.00 14264.0 305.41 305.41 0.00
Bad Boys II 7/18/0346.52 46.52 3186 14602.00 14602.0 137.26 137.26 2.95
Gladiator 5/5/0034.82 38.95 2938 11852.00 12753.5 186.61 208.76 5.36
Bourne Identity, The 6/14/0227.12 28.19 2638 10281.00 10281.0 121.47 126.29 4.48
Training Day 10/5/0122.55 24.06 2712 7315.00 7509.2 76.26 81.39 3.38
Tears of the Sun 3/7/0317.06 17.06 2973 5737.00 5737.0 43.63 43.63 2.56
Reign of Fire 7/12/0215.63 16.25 2629 5946.00 5946.0 43.06 44.76 2.75
Braveheart * 5/26/9512.91 17.89 2035 6344.00 8458.7 75.59 104.78 5.65
Beyond Borders 10/25/032.08 2.08 1798 1155.00 1155.0 4.43 4.43 2.13
Bend It Like Beckham 4/4/031.17 1.17 117 10001.00 10001.0 32.54 32.54 26.62



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