Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot
13th July 2020 (UK DVD & VOD Premiere)
A much older King Arthur returns home after fighting the Roman Empire. His illegitimate son has corrupted the throne of Camelot. Now King Arthur must reunite with the wizard Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table and fight to get back his crown.
Richard Brake, Richard Short, Ronan Summers
Well, kids, I didn’t think this day would come. The day where I’d have to review a film WORSE than The Last Days of American Crime but here we are, mere weeks after that last disaster with Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot. Now I’ve got to write 500 words about it. Yeah, count yourself lucky friends. (Editor’s Note – Maybe when you win a round of the Podcast Quiz, you’ll get better offerings to review. – Sean)
So Arthur & Merlin… Just look at the poster or watch the trailer and you can see it’s a write-off. There’s very little reason for this review to even exist: anyone in their right mind would look at this film’s promotional materials and think “Nah” and move on with their lives. But I didn’t out of stupidity and a baffling sense of obligation. So what’s the story this time? Well Arthur (Richard Short; Public Enemies) is busy in France drinking, beating up fat folks, and NOT sleeping with prostitutes (because he’s our hero, after all, he has honour) when some jumped-up little brat back home in Camelot decides to take the throne by stabbing random diplomats at the dinner table. A table that isn’t even round! 1/10 worst King Arthur movie ever, there I said it. So Arthur and his group of extras have to return home and save the kingdom. This means Arthur has to stop his crazzzzy ladladlad days of drinking, beating up fat folks, and NOT sleeping with prostitutes to become responsible. Oh look, it’s a character arc. Oh look, there’s a giant hole where my interest should be. You get the gist, Guinevere (Stella Stocker; Fury) is around doing Guinevere things. Getting married off or something. Again I think its clear I didn’t care.
But somebody is missing from Arthur & Merlin. Someone rather important you’d think thanks to the title. Yeah, Merlin (Richard Brake: 3 From Hell, Mandy) is in this film for all of 10 minutes. Richard Brake appears from a puff of smoke looking like Gandalf on a bad acid trip, spouts some inspiring words to a doubtful Arthur, and is never seen again. So if you’re here for Richard Brake, seriously don’t bother. The remaining elements of the film scream bargain bin at Poundland. The action is cheap, with 95% of it coming at the very end anyway and Camelot seems to have a population of around 15. The camera will often inexplicably shake during dialogue scenes which is distracting, to say the least. Absolutely all of the dialogue and plot beats are riddled in cliche or have been done countless times before it feels like an AI made this film with only a basic understanding of how stories work.
At the very least I will praise the film’s decent cinematography although I have my issues with it. It follows the general rule of making everything look washed out and colourless because it’s “mature”. Despite this being an annoying cliche in itself, as well as historically inaccurate (I know, why do I care about accuracy for a legend), it does look professional so, under different story circumstances, the film would look good. I’m just tired of these films that seem to explicitly depict history or historical fantasy as BROWN AND GREY. Everything is dirty, washed out, and dark. If it fits the story then sure, but it honestly would be so refreshing (and more historically accurate) to see some actual colour in these films. It’s got to be somewhat embarrassing when the costume department on Monty Python and the Holy Grail is more on the money than this “Arthur & Merlin but Merlin only for 10 minutes” garbage.
Oh look 594 words. I best be off then. Don’t watch the movie.