Monday, December 27, 2004

"Man, you come right out of a comic book."

King Arthur came out in DVD last week. It sunk at the box office but I still found myself liking it, not loving it mind you, but liking it in my own gamer geek fan boy way. It's a dirty gritty re-telling of the Arthur legend. No chrome armor, jousting tournaments or fairy tale castles this time. This movie tries a more historical slant (as historical as Hollywood allows anyway). Arthur is a Roman/Briton commander; his "knights" are indentured cavalrymen from Eastern European barbarian tribes. And his lovely Guinevere is a Celtic warrior chick. Merlin is a holy man and tribal leader but doesn't have any magical powers per se. The "bad guys" are the Saxons, who surprisingly are the "good guys" a few hundred years later in Robin Hood.

When I saw the movie in the theatre I remember being disappointed that the battles seemed so tame. Now with the DVD I understand why. It seems that the director was going for a hard R rating when he was filming, but in postproduction he was told by Disney that they want it toned down to pg-13, hence the tame, bloodless battles. Well that isn't the case with the DVD version.

This movie is bloody as all hell now with limbs and heads being severed left and right. For me the violence helped sell the movie. Another little concession I made was to watch the movie and not think of it as an attempt at the Arthur legends- I saw it more as a war movie where this commander is in charge of an outpost facing overwhelming odds. With him are his elite team of warriors: the strong guy, the bow chick, the sword master, the "kid", the Axe dude, the knife guy, and the loyal friend guy who uses two swords. And suddenly it becomes the testosterone charged guy flick (Dirty Dozen, Magnificent Seven, 13th Warrior, etc.) that its supposed to be.

Hell, all we needed was Jim Kelly as the kung fu guy.