Tuesday, January 24, 2017

EXCALIBUR (1981)

Its been awhile since my last post and basically 2016 got away from me. Its not as though I didn't watch tons of bad movies, because I did. Mostly, life has a way of getting ahead of you. But in the time I wasn't writing about my favorite hobby, I was traveling, doing other kinds of writing and getting married. But thankfully (for me anyway), I watched this with my husband the other night and as we riffed away, it dawned on me that I missed writing for this blog and I set out to make things right.

So we're getting a new King Arthur movie this year.  Did you know you wanted one? Well, no matter what you're answer, the good people at Warner Bros are going to give you one anyway.



Look, I'll throw money at it, that's for sure. I enjoy Charlie Hunnam, Guy Ritchie and that quick style editing that feeds my ADD.

However, this put me in mind of a King Arthur movie from years past and unfortunately, its not the one with Kiera Knightly looking sad while she shoots arrows. Unfortunately, its not Disney's Sword and the Stone, which is delightful and shows how much any story is improved with a wizard singing about doing the dishes. Instead, its this one:


So I did some hunting and I found it. It really wasn't that hard to find actually.

Here's your film overview - its over the top lovely but if you asked me to recount the story of Arthur based on this movie alone and not on anything else I'd read or watched. There's a lot of story packed in, so basically, Arthur is born out of deeply upsetting circumstances, which somehow involves Excalibur stuck in a stone. He falls ass backwards into the most important job of the country, marries a woman who flirts with everyone, sets up Knights, Inc. His wife cheats on him, which he takes the blame for. Then there's another deeply upsetting scene where his sister has a baby with him, which leads to that kid declaring war. And somehow the Holy Grail fits in.

That being said, the main takeaway here is that Arthur becomes King of England by doing very little and he maintains that statue of accomplishments until his death where people still have to do all the work for him.

One thing I didn't realize was how many well known actors got started in this:


Like Helen Mirren!


Liam Neeson!


Patrick Stewart! The villain from Casino Royale AND Doctor Strange!

This movie introduces us to Merlin, who's style of interacting is using forcefully punctuated sentences that are always being shouted. Sometimes its louder than other times, but for the most part, he's either shouting out of anger or he's shouting out of vindictive glee.



He will find something to yell at you about...

Or rub your face in the fact your mortality is aggressively stupid to him.

And then there's Arthur, who while the actor portraying him is clearly talented, However, this is a man who accidentally got hired as king and immediately started delegating tasks to everyone around him.


I know that according to legend, Merlin instilled Arthur with the power to turn into animals to see things from another persepective, but if this movie is to be believed, I think Merlin just took him aside and said, "Listen, if you complain with enough confidence, people will just do whatever you want to get you to shut up."

And it totally works -

Arthur sees Guinevere and after one conversation, he demands Merlin force her to fall in love with him.


Which sort of works. But keep in mind this...


When you're wife is giving this look to your best employee, its time to read the writing on the wall.


It just leads to running off into the woods...

where there is no dress code.



"Look, I'll fix Excalibur for you one more time, but if it happens again, you're going to have to find some other lady in the next lake over to do it for you."

At one point, through the film's logic which I didn't quite follow, Arthur makes it his mission to find the Holy Grail. And by "his mission" I mean, "sends out his knights to go find it while he lays in bed". Thankfully, the last one came back, minus clothes, while Arthur downed what was in it and said. "Hey, Percival, you wanna go wash your feet next time?"

Two very upsetting things happen in this movie and Merlin is sort of responsible for both.

First of all, Merlin gives the green light for Arthur's biological father to go rape Arthur's mother...


Despite the fact it was this dance that threw him into fits of desire.

Secondly, Arthur's sister, Morgana pulls the old "I dare you to show me how smart you are!" gag on him, steals his magic and promptly sleeps with Arthur.



Arthur was not the only man in the kingdom. She had options, is all I'm saying.



And it needs to be said, she gives birth to the smuggest kid in all of human history.


And since when is gold armor considered acceptable play clothes for children?


It should also go without saying that an afterschool program would have benefitted this kid to no end.

But regardless, Morgana's son, Mordred then quickly grows into the smuggest man in history.

So in the end, Arthur gets Merlin to fight his battle for him but implementing a fog which throws off Mordred and his troops because there was no mention of fog in the weather forecast. (Yes, that was actually said).



And so, with the kingdom restored and having fully apologized to Guinevere for her cheating on him, his work is done. He is carried away on a ship to live on....



While Excalibur is dumped into the sea like garbage. However, littering is a crime and the higher powers that be will simply not allow it.


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