Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

King Arthur: Bad History?

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Charles McGrath's NY Times review of King Arthur begins with a great overview of the history of films based on the Camelot mythology. Sadly, it ends by pointing out that in some vague attempt to get the history 'right', the new film manages to get everything wrong:
A caption at the beginning says that this version is based on new "archaeological evidence" - though it's never clear what that is, unless possibly a print of George Romero's hard-to-find 1981 movie "Knightriders," about a bunch of Arthurian-named bikers who joust on motorcycles. That might explain why the Saxons in this movie all look like Hell's Angels.

What people did back in the Dark Ages was fight a lot, and in this, "King Arthur" is entirely true to the historical record — except, that is, for wheeling out crossbows and trebuchets long before they were invented.
Pyul MacTackle's review at Ain't It Cool News is similarly disheartening:
No, friends, this isn't King Arthur after all, and it's not even a pale imitation. It's a film all it's own, that borrows its power from one of the greatest legends of all time and gives nothing back. Bland, uninspiring and worthy of nothing but ire and ridicule.
And if you're interested in what the filmmakers view on Arthur and history is, check out the enchanced trailer with "historical" footnotes!

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