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The film King Arthur

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Much of what Cerdic does is open to this. His intentions are hard to read, and he doles out kindness and cruelty in the same gruff and joyless tone of voice.
    • A good example when he protects a female prisoner from two of his own men, killing one of the men when he objects, on the argument that "we don't mix with these people". Then, when she starts to thank him, he turns around and kills her as well. Was he really motivated by a theory of racial purity? Or did he simply realize that he couldn't protect her for long?
    • His actor Stellan Skarsgaard decided to play him as someone bored with conquests, who only does it out of instincts. Arthur is his first Worthy Opponent in years, and reignites his spirit.
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  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: This film, probably more than anything else, has helped popularize the idea that the "historical King Arthur" was a Roman or Romano-British dude named Artorius, and specifically Lucius Artorius Castus (due to the major problems the latter theory and the related "Knights = Sarmatians" theory have, they remain a fringe position among scholars). After it was released, the concept started popping up in more media like the Total War series and Vinland Saga, though not necessarily mentioning Sarmatians explicitly. Before the film was released, Kinoko Nasu was aware of the "Roman Arthur" concept since the true name of his version of Arthur is "Artoria" (the feminine form of "Artorius"), and in supplementary materials he posits that the mythical Arthur was a Composite Character of Roman and British leaders. But such references were rare outside of academic discussions, mostly appearing in Demythtification-style historical novels.
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  • Awesome Music: "Budget Meeting" is far more awesome than anything with that name deserves to be.
  • Better on DVD: The director's cut removes some scenes, makes the battles Bloodier and Gorier and changes the order of some other scenes around to make the film flow better.
  • Complete Monster: Cerdic, the warchief of the Saxons, is a brutal Blood Knight leading his forces across Britannia to destroy all in their paths. First seen amongst a burnt out village, Cerdic stops a Saxon from raping a woman simply because such a coupling would "water down" their Saxon blood and promptly kills the soldier when he protests before he orders the woman killed anyways. Cerdic promptly orders his men to rampage across Britain with explicit instructions to leave behind no man, woman or child who can even carry a sword. In the final battle with Arthur, Cerdic sends his men on a diversion that will get them killed and roars they are his men when his son Cynric protests the decision. During the battle, Cerdic viciously kills Tristan after making certain Arthur can see the fight, having decided earlier Arthur is the only man worth killing.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
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    • Bors is a Boisterous Bruiser who provides some much needed levity like revealing his bastard children have numbers instead of names, kicks all sorts of ass in battle and is brought to life by Ray Winstone.
    • Tristan is an ace archer played by Mads Mikkelson in one of his rare non-villainous roles.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight
  • Ho Yay: Arthur and Lancelot are very close and have several intimate scenes that give off this vibe. Some argue that they have more on-screen chemistry than either independently has with Guinevere.
  • Love to Hate: Marius is a complete Hate Sink but Ken Stott's performance makes him quite entertaining.
  • Narm: This exchange between Lancelot and Guinevere sounds incredibly forced and just there to provide a girl power moment for the latter.
    Lancelot: There are a lot of lonely men out there.
    Guinevere: Don't worry. I won't let them rape you.
  • Nausea Fuel: Guinevere is introduced needing to have some of her fingers bent back into position. The viewer is spared the sight of this, but not of Gwen's pained screaming.
  • Nightmare Fuel: This version of the sword in the stone story - Arthur was a child when his mother was locked in a burning house by Pict warriors. He tried to pull the sword out of his father's grave, but was too late to save her.
  • Older Than They Think: Turning Guinevere into an Action Girl is actually Character Rerailment - in the original sources her counterpart actually was one. It was only from the 13th Century onward that she underwent Chickification to focus on her affair with Lancelot.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Ganis only appears in the second act, but flirts with being a Badass Normal and offers to fight with the knights against the Saxons. While he's refused, he does get the others to safety.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The film got a lot of flack when Keira Knightley revealed that posters of the film had photoshopped her breasts to be larger.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Strangled by the Red String: Actually averted. Arthur and Guinevere do share many scenes together, and it's Guinevere who convinces Arthur to find another cause to fight for - so they do make some kind of emotional connection. Their sex scene before the battle is however less about being in love, and more about having fun before the battle begins. Although the last scene is of their wedding, enough of a Time Skip could have passed to allow them to fall in love.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Two out of the Holy Grail trio - Bors and Galahad - are featured as supporting characters. The third in the story Percival is not in the film, nor does the film provide a Demythification for the grail.
    • Guinevere is the only woman of any note in the film. Arthurian legends have plenty of interesting females like Morgan le Fay, Morgause, Nimueh and the Lady of the Lake (who is sometimes any of the previous three). It would have been interesting to feature some of those, especially since women enjoyed higher status of power in Pict society.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The story is clearly demanding to be treated like an epic, with Loads and Loads of Characters - a lot of whom vanish or get Demoted to Extra. At only two hours, it's in need of more screen time. Word of God agrees.

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