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King Arthur in Cinema...a Round Table Discussion Forum

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by PadmeLeiaJaina, Jan 10, 2006.

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  1. PadmeLeiaJaina

    PadmeLeiaJaina Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 23, 2002
    The legend of King Arthur has received many retelling on the big screen whether it was in cartoon form, musical, drama, or comedy.

    Which are your favorites? What elements did you like best about them? What could've been done differently? Which telling is closer to your own interpretation of how the key characters should be portrayed in a film version? What book versions would you LOVE to be brought to the big screen?

    Some versions to ponder:


    Disney's The Sword and the Stone
    The Musical Camelot
    First Knight
    Bruckheimer's King Arthur
    Monte Python's The Search for the Holy Grail


    Guenievere made for TV movie
    NBC's mini-series Merlin
  2. Rouge Null

    Rouge Null Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 24, 2000
    The only Arthur movie that I liked, even a little, was the Merlin miniseries. No one has done it properly yet, because no one has grasped the simple fact that you have to do it in a multi-film approach, as was done with LOTR. The first film would be Merlin raising Arthur, the second Arthur's early wars ending with him meeting Guinevere and Lancelot, and the third would show the ultimate downfall of Camelot. It's the only way to do it.
  3. redsabreanakin

    redsabreanakin Jedi Knight star 5

    Feb 16, 2005
  4. Panther50

    Panther50 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Apr 7, 2004
    I've liked parts and characters from different movies and mini-series, but I haven't seen one that I thought did the King Arthur story full justice.
  5. Axle-Starweilder

    Axle-Starweilder Jedi Master star 6

    Jan 6, 2005
    right on. i see it the same way. pretty much the way t.h. white arranged the once and future king is the only way i can see it done righteously. well, cinematically speaking that is. :-B
  6. JediTrilobite

    JediTrilobite Jedi Master star 7

    Nov 17, 1999
    I hated the movie King Arthur. Very few redeeming qualities in it. Monty Python's Holy Grail was hilarious though.
  7. PadmeLeiaJaina

    PadmeLeiaJaina Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 23, 2002
    I'm a big King Arthur fan, but my perception of the story is tainted by my introduction to it. I first read Mary Stewart's Merlin series and fell hopelessly in love with it. She created a world where all of the characters are richly conflicted and sympathetic...especially Mordred.

    Many of the film adaptations that have been out there fail to capture the pure magic that I expect from the story - mostly because it's hard to capture the entire tale in one film. In the short versions of the stories, Mordred is always evil, his mother is almost a cookie cutter villaness, Merlin is either loopy or power-hungry, Arthur is weak, and Lancelot handsome and charming.

    The characters are/can be so much more complex than that and it pains me sometimes to watch fims where they butcher them to the point of being unrecognizable.

    I did enjoy "Camelot" and the Merlin mini-series on NBC. I loathe, loathe, LOATHE Exclaiber, which I know, should be sacrilegious, but I hated how they portrayed everyone in that film - Uther was complete slime, Arthur was a whipped wimp, and Merlin power-hungry. Nothing in that film resembled my view of the story.

    Which leads me to my favorite Arthur telling...King Arthur. Now I still don't buy that Bruckheimer's versioin is "historically accurate," however, the film more clearly mirrors what I love about the story. Arthur is a strong and powerful warlord who's men would happily die for him in battle. He's all about battle strategy and using the cavalry to it's fullest advantage. Actually, when I saw Gladiator I fell in love with that film because Maximus perfectly portrayed out I have always envisioned Arthur - STRONG, legendary, and a powerful presence to all who oppose him. And in most novel interpretations, Guenievere loves her husband and is torn by her feelings for Lancelot, rarely in film do they bother to show her as being anything other than an adultress.

    The Mists of Avalon mini-series was great too. I never managed to finish reading that book because I kept wanting to strangle Guenievere in it, but the tv adaptation was fantastic. Is that out on DVD, does anyone know?

    Finally, if I had my ultimate dream, it would be that someone would give the LOTR treatment to Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy and then "The Wicked Day" books. If they ever do that - I would be one of the happiest people in the world.
  8. redxavier

    redxavier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 23, 2003
    There's also Knights of the Round Table, an old classic starring a bunch of old people. My favourite so far is certainly Excalibur, but like others I can see why filmmakers have always had a problem getting the story nailed - they always try to fit in too much.

    I'd love to see a 'spin-off' film about one of the Knights and a particular quest. I remember there being lots of these types of stories in Arthurian mythology. They always focus on Arthur and Lancelot.

    ... isn't there a Sir Gawain and the Green Knight film with Sean Connery?

  9. Lord_Ogli

    Lord_Ogli Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 5, 2001
    What about the Babylon 5 episode. I believe it was called "late delivery from Avalon" or something like that. ;)
  10. RolandofGilead

    RolandofGilead Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 17, 2001
    There are certainly some memorable moments from John Boorman's Excalibur. Overall it was well done if a bit of a SW wannabe. I've never bothered with Camelot, loved Monty Python's Holy Grail, enjoyed Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, hated First Knight, and even found things to like in King Arthur.
  11. Moleman1138

    Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 18, 2004
    They need to tackle this on the grandest scale. Sure we've had our KA films in the past, but after seeing the 04 King Arthur which I respect up to a **1/2 star movie instead of *1/2, I think we need one giant epic.
  12. RevantheJediMaster

    RevantheJediMaster Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 12, 2005
    I agree that King Arthur should get the LOTR treatment. Like someone else said they could adapt The Once and Future King into a film trilogy or another option would be adapting Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy into a film series.
  13. Moleman1138

    Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 18, 2004
    You could do a series of films from the Arthurian-verse and it would do justice. After reading Gawain and the Green Knight, they could do a film series LOTR caliber, that I agree on.
  14. masterjediskippy01

    masterjediskippy01 Jedi Youngling

    Feb 16, 2006
    I'm an Excalibur freak, so that to me is the closest to an interpretation as any.

    I do agree that it should get the 'royal' treatment, like LoTR. But I pose the question:

    Which version should be told? Should we have a Bruckheimer, historically accurate (or as close to it as possible) series, or the epic scale that everyone seems to know most about?

    I would think that the latter would work best, because unless you're a historian or something, the 'historically accurate' version would not be appreciated.
  15. RevantheJediMaster

    RevantheJediMaster Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 12, 2005
    I would also rather have a film trilogy based on the Arthur of Legend.
  16. Radical_Edward

    Radical_Edward Jedi Youngling star 3

    May 2, 2002
    I would absolutely LOVE a film series based on Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Trilogy.

    It is an Arthurian tale (of course) but set in historical Wales and England in the seventh century. The story itself is more "historically accurate" than Bruckheimer's post-modern interpretation, except it retains much of the magic and mysticism of the more traditional Arthurian legends. Magic and mystery and the supernatural aren't completely apparent, and as a reader, you aren't even sure if magic really exists in the world for some time. It also has the best characterization of Lancelot and Guenevere that I've ever seen, and it does Arthur proper justice, instead of weakening him like so many version have.

    Even though it lacks plate mail and dragons and monsters (well, there are monsters, but they are human and realistic, instead of fantasy-inspired) and grand castles, all of the other important aspects are all there. I can see how that by itself would turn many off from the series, as well as the fact that the main character isn't Arthur, but one of his soldiers. Still, it is the best Arthur story I have ever read or seen, bar none, and it would be the most adaptable to a LOTR-style treatment that I know of. On top of that, it's a damn good story, too.
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