Action Adventure

'King Arthur: Legend of the Sword' Blu-ray Review: 'Game of Thrones' by way of Guy Ritchie

August 14, 2017Ben MK

If the cast of Snatch starred in an episode of Game of Thrones, you might end up with something very similar to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a film that reinvents Arthurian legend with a wink and a nod, a dash of Lord of the Rings-style fantasy and a heaping helping of British swagger.

In this version of the tale, Charlie Hunnam plays a streetwise and buff Arthur. The rightful heir to the throne, although he doesn't know it, Arthur was raised in a brothel in Londinium, far away from Camelot and the schemes of his uncle, Lord Vortigern (Jude Law), who used dark magic to usurp the crown. As Vortigern's power grows, however, so too do the forces who oppose him. Rebels spread rumors about the return of the born king, and the sword Excalibur has reappeared, giving Vortigern cause to try and preemptively quash an uprising.

Directed by Guy Ritchie and written by him, Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram, the movie follows not only Arthur's quest to reclaim what's rightfully his, but also his journey to discovering the fate of his father, King Uther (Eric Bana), and to doling out justice to the man responsible. Reluctant at first to assume the mantle of a hero, Arthur is aided by some of his father's most loyal subjects (Djimon Hounsou, Aiden Gillen and Annabelle Wallis) and his own closest friends (Kinglsey Ben-Adir and Neil Maskell), as well as a mysterious Mage (Astrid Berg├Ęs-Frisbey).

Despite some dodgy visual effects, there's much to like about Ritchie's take on this age-old legend, not the least of which is its fun attitude, which helps the film to overcome any notions that it's simply trying to be a lower-rent version of Peter Jackson's epic tales from Middle Earth. Make no mistake, this is far from the definitive big screen version of the King Arthur legend, but King Arthur: Legend of the Sword's modern sensibilities — from Hunnam's performance, to the rock-and-roll-infused score, to the editing — ensure that it's at least an enjoyable one.

From mammoth elephants capable of transporting an entire army on their backs, to giant bats that can carry a man in their talons, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword's visuals and sound design are well-served by this 1080p transfer and Dolby Atmos sound mix. Image quality is gritty yet never lacking in detail, from soldiers' Medieval armor to the Scottish landscapes augmented by CG castles, with fiery orange flames and gold accents standing out brilliantly against the film's bleak and desaturated color palette, while total immersion in the sounds of fantastical creatures, physical brawls and explosions helps to sell the illusion of this cinematic world to viewers.

Warner's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes an UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Arthur with Swagger (9:41) - The cast, crew and Charlie Hunnam himself talk about his portrayal of the film's title character, his physicality and his screen presence.
  • Sword from the Stone (18:49) - A look at Guy Ritchie's interpretation of the Arthurian legend, from the emphasis on fantasy-driven action, to the production and costume design, to the visual and special effects.
  • Parry and Bleed (5:44) - A behind-the-scenes look at the fight training and the fight choreography.
  • Building on the Past (14:00) - Production Designer Gemma Jackson explains her approach to creating the film's various locales, from Londinium and its brothel, to Camelot's throne room and more.
  • Inside the Cut: The Action of King Arthur (6:08) - Stunt Coordinator Eunice Huthart talks about her work on the movie and working with Charlie Hunnam.
  • Camelot in 93 Days (10:23) - A look at the creative partnership between Director/Producer/Screenwriter Guy Ritchie and Producer/Screenwriter Lionel Wigram, the camaraderie on-set, the work of Costume Designer Annie Symons, and filming in Wales.
  • Legend of Excalibur (6:05) - Supervising Armourer Tim Wildgoose talks about the design of the film's version of Excalibur.
  • Scenic Scotland (5:33) - A look at the cast and crew's experience filming in the Scottish Highlands.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of August 8th, 2017. The Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 6 Mins.

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