They were fascinating. A great way to avoid chores during school holidays back in the village.
My mum, who normally delegates duties, would excuse me from chores when she found me with my nose buried in a book.
In fact, I would sometimes pretend to be busy reading and when my siblings were out running the errands, I would take the opportunity for a quick nap.
They caught me sleeping once. I had to then find a new scheme to avoid household chores.
Anyway, as a result of my enthusiasm for reading, I clearly remember the authors who wrote books about the legendary King Arthur. They aptly described the heroism of this legendary British leader, his unfazed boldness against would-be invaders and his just attitude towards his subjects.
Sometimes while reading, I would feel almost as though I was one of his subjects or his group of knights. That’s how eloquent those stories were. They made you feel as though you were right amongst the action.
If I had been born back in those days, King Arthur would have been my idea of the ideal king.
When I watched the latest cinematic adaption concerning King Arthur in the movie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, I was rather taken aback.
The movie wasn’t anything like what I had visualised while reading the books. It seemed a bit too modern, and way loud, set on a vast visual landscape.
And then I realised, I was watching a Guy Ritchie movie. Ritchie is a director who is often classified as a non-traditional filmmaker, and he has his own unique rendition of legends from yesteryear.
Take for instance the fictional British detective Sherlock Holmes. I thought Ritchie did a great job of reviving the story of the legendary detective, played by Robert Downey Jr.
In the movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is robbed of his birthright by his greedy uncle Vortigern (Jude Law).
Power-hungry Vortigern, who wants to acquire the Excalibur sword, kills Arthur’s father, the king, and takes control of the crown.
The little Arthur escapes and ends up in Londinium where he is brought up in a brothel.
Fate takes him back to his late father’s kingdom where he discovers his royal lineage after successfully pulling a sword out of a stone.
Unwilling to accept Arthur’s right to the crown, Vortigern plots a plan to kill him before, as prophesised, he takes back his father’s crown.
The movie starts in spectacular fashion. Giant elephants driven by magical powers, crushing through the stone walls and castles are brilliant to watch. And there are several other visual treats that give viewers a glimpse into the medieval world.
It covers quite a lengthy bit of story which director Ritchie manages to pull through with ease by using “quick jump cut sequences”. This is when the action takes place with a backdrop of dialogue explaining the setting of the scene.
The technique offers a little bit more than the concurrent flashbacks normally used to cover a lengthy subject in a tight scene.
In the King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, it works brilliantly to give the movie the flow it requires to drive it through to the climax.
The movie has a fair dose of wittiness and some high octane action scenes to keep the pace moving quickly.
Apart from examining the concept of valour, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is also about revenge.
But above all, it’s about greed for power versus the unselfishness of a man who is destined to be given power beyond his imagination.