King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, D
Rated PG-13, 126 minutes
The fantastically dismal big-budget Guy Ritchie fantasy "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" will be remembered at year's end, but for all the wrong reasons. It will likely be remembered as one of the worst films of the year, not to mention one of the biggest flops, taking an acclaimed director and its A-list cast right along with it. What worked for Ritchie in reimagining "Sherlock Holmes" a few years ago crashes and burns badly here, filled with a mix of contemporary touches and many other silly ones that bears little to no resemblance of the classic tale.
When young Arthur's father is murdered, Vortigern (Jude Law), Arthur's uncle, seizes the crown. Robbed of his birthright and with no idea who he truly is, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, his life is turned upside down, and he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy whether he likes it or not.
Directed by Ritchie with a script co-written by Ritchie, Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram, "King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword" is an awful, vacuous mess of swords, magical spells and huge creatures that goes South in the first frames of the film, when Law's villainous Vortigern takes the crown under a load of fast edits and a hideous alt-rock score that doesn't serve the film well at all. Within a few minutes, "Son of Anarchy's" Hunnam, more effective in the recent and much better historical film "The Lost City of Z" emerges in rock-star form with a fade haircut, 6-pack abs and glistening leather pants. The rugged Hunnam seemed destined for stardom after "SOA," but after this he'll be going the Taylor Kitsch route (remember him, "John Carter" anyone?).
It's all rather unfortunate, since all the silly creatures and even sillier montages and fast editing that Ritchie fills the movie with will leave audiences baffled as to exactly what just happened, with some awkwardly staged battle scenes. Even worse, as the evil king, Law seems so disinterested except to maybe cash the fat check he received for this part - he comes across so milquetoast it's so surprise as to what happens in the end - and if you know the legend then it's not about King Vortigern. Oscar-nominee Djimon Hounsou is terribly wasted, but then so is virtually everyone, including a blink-and-you-miss-it Eric Bana.
2017 just produced its first disaster film, and we don't mean tornadoes or Earthquakes. The sound you hear is the clunky and clanky "King Arthur: The Legend of the Crown" crashing and burning at the weekend box-office. Let's just hope that the Razzie Award people aren't paying attention. Yeah, good luck with that.