Robin (solri) wrote,

King Arthur and the Clichés

If you haven't seen the new King Arthur film yet, catch it before it leaves the cinemas. It's an example of Umberto Eco's saying that a mediocre film contains clichés, while a great film contains nothing but clichés. In fact, it's pretty much set in Clichéa - there's even a place called The Darklands (where it's too dark). Here are some of the many tropes it exploits gleefully:

  • The Chosen One

  • The Dark Lord

  • The Superweapon (well of course)

  • Terrible Engines of War

  • A king assassinated by his brother (Hamlet, anyone?)

  • The Band of Loveable Rogues

  • The Whore with a Heart of Gold

  • The Dark Tower

  • The Hot Sorceress

Add to this mix a completely unnecessary appearance by a Chinese kung fu master (who goes by the name Kung Fu George!), a bunch of Vikings who do almost nothing to advance the plot but have very cool beards, and David Beckham. Interestingly, the Warrior Woman trope was conspicuous by its absence. Ot sure why, since it's practically compulsory these days, and was very prominent in Anthony Fuqua's version.

Speaking of versions, my wife (who as a Turk is not so well up on the Arthurian mythos) asked me how close it was to the original, to which I replied "Not at all," then realised that it's a meaningless question because there's no such thing as an "original" for the Arthur stories. I mean what would you take? The fragmentary references in Welsh and Breton poems? Geoffrey of Monmouth's fake history? Malory's Morte d'Arthur? Arthur is always being reinvented, and this is one of my favourite inventions to date, though not quite up to Boorman's wonderful Excalibur.

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