Home / King Arthur, one of the worst films of the year now on DVD

King Arthur, one of the worst films of the year now on DVD

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Somehow the words total and complete failure doesn’t capture just how badly Arthur fails as a movie. It is one of the worst movies ever and totally isn’t worth the $20 price tag on the DVD.

The story of King Arthur has been told many different ways by many different people. Everyone of them have seen a unique aspect and added something to the story, that is every one except for director Antoine Fuqua and producer Jerry Bruckehimer.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle saw a story of British patriotism. Marion Zimmer-Bradley saw a story of pagan beliefs being supplanted by Christianity in Mists of Avalon. Disney saw a coming of age story in the Sword in the Stone. Bruckheimer and Fuqua looked at it and saw an excuse to have some massive battle scenes in a by-the-numbers adventure story.

They de-mythed the story so much the movie really isn’t about anything other then churning out a cheesy popcorn flick. I would be cautious about spoiling the story in this review, except there isn’t any story in the movie so what is there to be cautious about.

The whole movie is framed around three battles, the introductory battle, the middle of the movie battle (Saxons on ice) and the final, predictable battle where the evil Saxons are defeated at Baydon Hill. They also take some needless shots at Christianity for some reason. For good measure there is a romance with some massive flesh shots thrown in.

This movie wouldn’t be quite so offensive if it didn’t purport to be somewhat historically accurate. Arthur is so disrespectful to the legend and to history some parts are laughably wrong to anyone who knows anything about English history

A quick list of woefully inaccuracies in the movie:

  • The final movie battle takes place right next to Hadrian’s Wall but for some reason the battle is named after a hill in south central England. The real battle of Baydon hill was fought hundreds of miles to the south and likely a century or so after the movie takes place.
  • They all speak in perfect, modern English accents. While I realize most people don’t have degrees in English like I do and wouldn’t enjoy a movie done in proper dialect they could have at least made an attempt to make it sound a little bit more authentic.
  • The Saxons in the movie invade Scotland in a massive army. Yeah, this never happened, the Saxon invasion wasn’t an invading army, but rather a hostile migration. The Saxons from the low countries and parts of Germany. They started to move into the western shores, not invading Scotland.
  • Guinevere is a blue painted Pict warrior chick. Last time I checked Guinevere was a French name, not something a tribe in southern Scotland would have used.

I know I’m not going to convince all the cattle-like audience that this is a bad, bad horrible movie that is not only historically inaccurate but bad story telling. Course that doesn’t mean I won’t try.

In the end Arthur is a bad, lazy movie by jaded filmmakers out to make a quick buck. There was no reason to see this flick in the movie theater and even less to own it.

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About Eric James

  • Amber

    Eck, yeah. My parents were watching that this weekend. Good thing I was knitting while sitting in the living room, otherwise it would have been unbearable.

  • On DVD already. Wow. I couldn’t have gone to the theatre to see this, because I would have been far too tempted to shout out Monty Pythonisms.

    “Come see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”

  • I thought this was a very entertaining film, actually. Clive Owens has emerged as a star, IMHO, with this film.

  • RJ

    Where’s the Amazon link?

  • D.B. Cooper


    I haven’t seen this film and was bludgeoned into apathy by the obsessive mediocrity of the previews. It looked terrible. I love the King Arthur/Camelot legend and have owned and watched the film Excalibur for many years. From your blog, it’s apparent you know some history. I didn’t think the King Arthur legend and the ancient novel which inspired it was based on fact. I thought it was a fantasy, perhaps inspired by a few obscure historic figures. Thus, filmmakers usually take great liberties with the subject matter.

    Does this film attempt to convey this legend is a true story? Because it most certainly is not.

  • Paul O

    Hm, see I didn’t really mind it that much. If I wanna see something 100% factually accurate, I’ll watch a documentary. Liberties are always taken when it comes to re-representing history, usually to suit time constraints or a particular angle the director is trying to work in there.

    You’re right, most people don’t know where certain battles took place, or the ins and outs of English History. I suppose if they hadn’t of tried to pass the film off as accurate, it wouldn’t off cheesed off the date/place history whores so much 😉 But if you just take it as what it is….some entertainment, it’s not all bad.

    I think they made King Arthur a more human character anyway. It’s very far removed from the typical heroic King image where everyone rides around glittering like a jewelry shop on hoofs.

    I’d say it’s probably a 7/10. Not particularly taxing but not entirely bad either.

    Just my opinion though!

  • How could it possibly be worse than First Knight?


  • Just one question, how can a movie about a legend even pretend to be historically accurate? I mean, King Arthur is a legend, so, wouldn’t historical accuracy be gone right from the start?

  • I saw it several weeks ago and it was, well…roughly what I expected – historically and geographically inaccurate, and some very improbable battles. On the other hand I quite liked several of the actors and several of the fight scenes were well-done…Hollywood – what do you expect?

    on the other hand, if you want to read a terrific series of books on the story of Arthur, read Bernard Cornwell’s (author of the Sharpe series) Warlord Series (3 books – The Winter King, The Enemy of God and Excaliber). They are just plain excellent.