A spectacular, epic, action-adventure of one man's destiny to become king. Always thought to be a myth, the legend of King Arthur is based on a real hero, torn between his private ambitions and his public sense of duty. A reluctant leader, Arthur wishes only to leave Britain and return to the peace and stability of Rome. Before he can, one final mission stands before him and his Knights of the Round Table. Under the guidance of Merlin and with the beautiful, courageous Guinevere by his side, Arthur will have to find the strength within himself to change the course of history.
The 15 extra minutes of footage in the unrated extended cut of King Arthur
mostly add more graphic violence such as severed limbs, spattering blood, and arrows through heads (instead of torsos in the theatrical version). It doesn't all seem necessary, but it probably is more realistic for depicting combat with sharp metal objects. There are also some new scenes, including a glimpse of the young Arthur and a conversation between Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) and Guinevere (Keira Knightley). The love scene is the same, but it's been moved just slightly to a more logical yet less satisfying spot in the film. Oddly, in his commentary track director Antoine Fuqua doesn't even break his various trains of thought to discuss these additions, other than to complain about how he had to edit his R-rated film to earn a PG-13 rating ("I wanted to slit my throat I was so depressed."). Fuqua is usually pretty interesting to listen to, partly because of his political viewpoints, and he draws parallels in his film with nation-building in Iraq and how minorities make up a disproportionate portion of the U.S. military. He also discusses his influences, provides more historical perspective (Knightley's leather battle outfit could actually be considered conservative), and heaps praise on his collaborators.
The making-of documentary and "round table" (ha ha) discussion among the principals (Fuqua, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Clive Owen, and Keira Knightley, and others) are worth watching for their behind-the-scenes info and historical background, respectively. There's also a grimmer alternate ending, a sporadic subtitled trivia track (low point: "An ambush is a sudden attack made from a concealed position"), and a demo for the hack 'n' slash Xbox game. --David Horiuchi