Whether you snored through “The Sword in the Stone” during freshman year English Lit or watched that acid nightmare of a Disney film when you were nine years old, the one thing you remember is that it sucks. If you need a refresher, I believe it’s about a mermaid who gives a wizard a sword to put in a stone, and the guy who pulls it out is destined to rule England while his wife gets plugged by his best friend? Bizarre to say the least. Also, isn’t that the most bullshit way imaginable get put in charge of a nation? Pissed you won the popular vote but still lost the election? At least you didn’t come in second to a pre-pubescent dweeb whose best friend is hundreds of years old and wears nothing but a large T-shirt and a funny hat.
The newest installment in the King Arthur saga, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, tries to make this story fresh by abandoning the source material like a baby in front of a fire station and going in a way weirder direction. Gone are Merlin, Guinevere, and Lancelot, replaced by “Hot Female” Lancelot, the guy who plays Littlefinger playing a slightly less scummy Littlefinger, and David Beckham. That last part wasn’t a typo. David fucking Beckham is in the film just long enough to make you say, “Is that David Beckham? That’s kind of lame.” There’s also a training scene straight out of Rocky along with a climactic battle scene where a giant snake fights a magic demon, which I guess you’re just supposed to go with seeing as they fail to provide any explanation as to what the hell is going on. Also, for the first half of the movie, every time King Arthur touches Excalibur he blacks out. Come on, buddy — act like you’ve held a sword before.
The saddest part of this whole ordeal is that it comes from Guy Ritchie, AKA “The man who directed every 16-year-old’s third favorite movie,” and by no means do I intend that to be taken as an insult. The “Guy” — don’t hate me for using that painfully obvious joke, hate his dipshit parents for naming him that — has been churning out dual-wielding, fast-talking, kickass films for over two decades. Snatch featured more bullet holes than a Normandy scene as well as Brad Pitt putting a shirt on long enough to put on a show with his Pikey accent and boxing skills.
Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies, basically two 2 hour-long installments of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law tickle-fighting, are funny as shit and feature some jaw-dropping action sequences. And most recently, the movie where a movie studio throws the four most attractive people on the planet at you and dares you to hate it, titled The Man From U.N.C.L.E., was smarter than it had any right to be. So a movie directed by Ritchie and featuring Jax from Sons Of Anarchy and Maximus’ sidekick from Gladiator should totally work, making the fact that it didn’t that much more surprising.
This movie bombing has implications for the future of Hollywood as well. Whenever a movie that’s considered a “risk” doesn’t work out (and make no mistake: this movie was a huge risk), it just makes the people in charge more likely to pass the next time a risk comes across their desk. We are rapidly approaching the dawn of the “playing it safe” movie era. Remember two years ago when people were joking about an emoji movie? Well, here we are now — it comes out July 28 in a theater near you. And we’re probably only two short years away from Fidget Spinners: The Movie. God Help us all..
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