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The Director's Cut, Director's Cut
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Now, from the producer of PEARL HARBOR and the director of TRAINING DAY . . . experience the extended unrated director's cut of this hard-hitting action epic! Prepare for more thrills, more adventure, and more intensity as the heroic true story behind one of history's greatest legends explodes onto the screen! It is the valiant tale of Arthur (Clive Owen) and his bond of brotherhood with Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) and the loyalty of the Knights Of The Round Table as they fight for freedom and those they love. Also starring Keira Knightley as Guinevere, this never-before-seen KING ARTHUR is a longer, grittier, and more explicit motion picture -- don't miss it!
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 HoriuchiSee all Editorial Reviews
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Top customer reviews
In the early Dark Ages, a band of Sarmatian knights led by half British, half Roman Lucius Artorius Castus or Arthur (Clive Owen) meet with Roman Bishop Germanius to receive their release papers after 15 years of forced service in the Roman army. They are (understandably) upset to discover that they must forego their freedom awhile longer: Rome has decided to pull out of defeating/defending the island, leaving the country and its natives vulnerable to an invasion by the Saxons. Arthur and his knights are sent on one last most dangerous of all suicide mission: to rescue a Roman family from the bloodthirsty Saxons by crossing through the perilous Woads territory (enemy natives led by mystical woodsman Merlin) and bringing them back to safety. Only when they succeed in this trial will Arthur and his knights be given their papers and allowed to return home as free men.
The honorable Arthur must do a little convincing to get his knights to agree to this last most perilous mission: after all, this band of real men is weary of fighting and ready to return home. Soon his loyal yet rough-and-tumble knights agree, and Arthur and his band (including Lancelot played by Ioan Gruffud and Galahad played by Hugh Dancy) begin their perilous journey across Britain. Along the way they encounter Merlin and his crew, who for some unknown reason let them live and pass through the haunted forest alive. After rescuing the Roman family (along with some natives in dire need), Arthur and his knights are forced to turn and fight the Saxons (who outnumber them by the handful!).They are helped by a native warrior woman Guinevere (Kiera Knightley), who ends up forcing a confrontation between Merlin and Arthur. Arthur is finally faced with the choice to return to Rome or stay and fight for Britain alongside Merlin and the lovely Guinevere.
The overall tone and feel of this film is dark, with lots of smoke and fog used in the battle scenes: although this film centers around battles and fight scenes, there is an underlying storyline that makes it entrancing and interesting.The knights are not larger-than-life heroes, chivalrous and pure legend not reality: they are real men. You cant help but cheer for Arthur and his knights as they fight against the odds to defeat the enemies of Britain and gain their own release: but when the time comes for this band of men to go home, will they go or will they stay?
For me, the new setting for the King Arthur story and the realism made for a great story. Clive Owen did a phenomenal job as King Arthur and has gained respect in my eyes: Kiera Knightley was great, as always, as the Britain-warrior-woman Guinevere (although a completely different aspect of this legendary character, it never was so over the top as to annoy me), and Ioan Gruffud as Lancelot and Hugh Dancy as Galahad were wonderful as well: in fact, I think all the actors did a good job. If you like the story of King Arthur, you will like this: from the beginning to the end, you are taken on a real-life adventure with King Arthur and the knights of the round table.
VIDEO: The unrated disc comes in a 2.35:1 widescreen transfer and it is decent. The colors come out nicely even though that is the downside of the movie. But the snow scenes are a visual feast for HDTV owners.
AUDIO: The Dolby 5.1 mix is clear and crisp but rather weak in my opinion. Nothing exceptional except for the ice battle and the smoke battle at the end.
PACKAGING / EXTRAS: The single unrated disc comes in an armary case with snap latches on the side identical to many Universal releases (We get rid of WB snapper cases, now we get these, ugh). The case also has a cardboard slipcase, which has no purpose whatsoever except to attract attention of the consumer as they wander through the DVD aisles of their local stores. This unrated edition has 13 minutes of added footage, which basically makes the battle scenes more violent. The extras are pretty basic. You get a 17 minute making of featurette, and I was happy to see that they gave Hans Zimmer a little screen time in discussing the score, unlike in Tears of the Sun, where he got none. Then there is a 15 minute discussion that includes Bruckheimer, Fuqua, Owen, Knightley, and some other actors. I thought it was pretty good, but it also seemed like fluff. There is an alternate ending that was cut due it not being recieved with open arms from test screenings. For XBOX owners you have a playable demo of the King Arthur game, and to top it off there is a feature that pops up fun facts of the production as you watch the movie. Pretty basic, but better than most discs.