Saturday, May 13, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Review

Remakes have always been a thing in Hollywood. Ever since they started making movies, they've also started remaking movies, especially when better technology came around. But in today's Hollywood they've taken this idea and have gone to the extreme with it as the number of remakes seems to be at an all-time high. Sometimes a remake is announced and you end up on the fence because, while you roll your eyes at the idea of a remake, you also think to yourself that perhaps that remake could work out. Other times a remake is announced and you squint your eyes, cock your head and just sit there in baffled confusion. Unfortunately for me, "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" was the latter. We've just seen the story of King Arthur told so many times in one form or another that I had no idea why the world needed yet another King Arthur movie. But Warner Bros. and Guy Ritchie were confident that the world would love their movie and want a lot more as they dumped $175 million into this movie, expecting it to be the next huge summer blockbusters. Well, they better hope the international audiences dig the movie because here in the United States it's not going to make back hardly any of that as it's tracking towards a $15 million opening weekend. Ouch.

Going into this movie, I honestly had no idea what to expect. The idea of this didn't intrigue me and none of the trailers did anything for me. And the reviews started in single digits on Rotten Tomatoes after now climbing *all the way up to* the mid-20's. I did get the vibe that some critics had their reviews written before seeing the movie, trashing it just because it was another King Arthur movie that no one needed. That did seem a bit unfair. Plus, many of the trusted YouTube critics I subscribe to said the movie was actually decent. So in the back of my head I went in thinking that perhaps this movie might not be as bad as I thought it was going to be, but most of me was still in the mindset of just getting this experience over with. Needless to say this was an uphill battle that this movie was facing in order to convince me that it's existence is justified and unfortunately for me, it never fully climbed those hills. While I'm not going to say this is an outright bad film, a good word to use might be frustrating because there were a lot of good moments in the movie, but it was just bogged down by so much mediocrity that it ended up being super forgettable. I saw a matinee showing of this on Friday and by the end of the day I had almost forgotten I had seen the movie.

Yes, if I'm being honest, my mindset was in a state of dread as I was sitting through the trailers realizing that I was about to be subjected to this movie. However, the opening sequence of this movie happened and all of a sudden that dread was completely gone because this movie started with a giant elephant terrorizing a castle from the middle ages and it was fantastic! And when I say giant elephant, think of the elephants from Lord of the Rings and then multiply that by like 10. That's a complete estimate on my part, so don't hurt me if I'm wrong, but the moral of the story was this thing was HUGE. And as it was terrorizing this castle and the people in the castle were in a state of panic, I was sitting there in my chair smiling like a little school boy. Not only was this a fantastic action sequence, but the special effects were phenomenal and the score was amazing. Thus I'm also sitting here absolutely shocked at the movie that's being presented to me. This specific action sequence was a lot more entertaining than anything I saw last week in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" and thus I was ready to call this the surprise of the year and deem it as this years "The Legend of Tarzan," a movie from last summer that I found super entertaining that most of the critics tossed in the trash.

Following up that entertaining opening sequence was our main villain doing something extremely villainous that I suppose I won't spoil, but set up what I expected to be a fantastic villain. After that was this pretty sweet Guy Ritchie style montage of Arthur growing up. I was sitting there pretty happy in my seat as I was now highly anticipating the meat of this movie to come my way, which would hopefully lead to an epic finale. But then the movie slammed on its brakes and suddenly I found myself waiting for something interesting to happen. I was waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Suddenly I found myself slowly nodding off and I don't know if I actually fell asleep or not, but I do know that I spent the good part of the next hour fighting to stay awake because without warning the movie suddenly turned into a giant, boring mess. Because after that opening sequence, I wanted to defend this movie. I wanted to tell people to go see it. I wanted it to be a fun, summer action blockbuster that you can turn off your brain for a couple of hours and just have a good time. Even more, I wanted this movie to give me hope for Disney's upcoming live-action "Aladdin" reboot because it's Guy Ritchie, the director here, that's in charge of that movie.

Instead I'm sitting here writing a negative review for this movie because it just crashed and burned. Metaphorically this movie was like a car in one of the thousands of racing movies or chase scenes that starts off great, but then makes a critical error and starts spinning and flipping in a thousand directions before finally crashing and exploding into flames. Or you can compare it to a real Nascar race where someone bumps another car, sending that person right into the wall, usually taking several other cars with it. I don't even know how else to explain it or what specific details to mention. I think Guy Ritchie got too carried away with this huge budget Warner Bros. gave him and didn't quite know what to do with it. In fact, this is the biggest budget he's ever had to work with. He had $90 million for "Sherlock Holmes" and $125 million for "Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows." He was down to $75 million for "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and now $175 million for this project. If I'm ranking those movies, there's a correlation where the bigger the budget that Guy Ritchie has to work with, the worse his movies get. I haven't seen a ton of his older movies, but those all have small budgets and, what do you know, those are the movies from him that people love the most.

I know enough about statistics to know that correlation doesn't always equal causation. If you make assumptions about some correlation without doing too much research, you could end up making a fool out of yourself. Thus I don't want to definitively say that Guy Ritchie doesn't know how to work with big budgets because there may be other factors that have led his big budget movies to fail, like perhaps studio intervention, but I don't like what I've seen so far and it just makes me wonder because I do know plenty of filmmakers who are much better at making smaller films than the giant industry blockbusters. Perhaps Guy Ritchie is one of them. Thus I'm not going to lie, this doesn't make me super happy for "Aladdin," especially since I don't like the idea of Disney remaking that movie in the first place and if we have a director that might not be good at these big blockbusters, that's a giant red flag. Now there are a lot of Guy Ritchie isms in this movie. It definitely has his signature stamp on it. But in this case, they just didn't work out. The worst part of it was the editing. Guy Ritchie seems to like his fast-paced editing and many times it works out. But in this movie it had my head spinning. We were jumping all over the place and I was lost and left with a headache.

Based on the incoming box office receipts that I talked about in the beginning of this review, I'm going to make a guess that not many of you have decided to see this movie this weekend. I'm also guessing that there is a portion of you that are on the fence. I hate to give the recommendation to skip a movie, but that's what I'm going to do here. Skip this one. It's not worth it. There's so many blockbusters coming out this summer that it's worth saving your money for one of those instead. If your curiosity is getting the best of you, at least go to a matinee showing, a $5 Tuesday or wait for it to come to Redbox. Don't pay full price for this. It starts out phenomenal and there are a few fantastic action sequences scattered throughout, like when Arthur decides to man up and actually use this super awesome sword that he pulled from the rock at the beginning, but the story is just a complete mess, Guy Ritchie's signature editing style results in this movie feeling like the script got thrown in a blender and taped up randomly and the characters are not worth caring for at all. They could've all been killed by the giant elephants and I would've been more happy than anything. Instead of being this year's "The Legend of Tarzan," it ends up being this year's "Warcraft." I'm giving the movie a 5/10.

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