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Tom Gordon

Tom Gordon's Blother

February 10, 2006

Tis a silly place

"...Tango Charlie, I repeat: forget securing the power stations and public utilities! Station your troops around museums instead! Dammit, the populace can go without heat and food and clean water for months -- but Lord knows, without Culture, they'll surely die a slow, horrible death!"


La de dah. Watched "King Arthur" last night, one of this apparently newfangled genre of historical film epics that aspire to "tell the real story behind the mythology" without needing to introduce supernatural elements such as gods, monsters, or metallic beeping owls. It's a great, entertaining and unusually philosophical flick -- though in the future, perhaps somebody should inform the studio's marketing department that "From The Producer of Pearl Harbor" may not be the gold-seal-of-approval, deal-clinching ringing endorsement they think it is.

Besides, if there's any of the film's creative team who should really be plugged, it's clearly David Franzoni, the screenwriter. As evidenced in his previous work, he's one of those rare birds currently scribing in Hollywood who've somehow retained a Classical eye for history, and a clear admiration of the greatness-potentiality rife throughout Western civilization. Haven't checked the database as to whether Franzoni was also involved with the recent (equally mind-blowing) HBO series "Rome," but the themes running through that Milius-helmed teledrama seem to parallel his own somewhat wistful celluloid depictions of Decadenceville. Maybe they'll sign him on for next season, when teenaged Octavian/Augustus is handed the imperial reins of power (a far more fascinating personage than Caesar, in my opine).

IAE, the rationalization in "King Arthur" is carefully built upon a skeleton of historically-recorded events. Arthur and his knights are duly re-casted as nomadic Eastern European mercenaries ('Sarmatians' to be precise) bonded to Rome and serving the waning empire's outpost on the British isle, while Merlin and Guinevere're wild native Picts who've been waging guerrilla war against the Romans for centuries. With that curious framing in mind, some people will immediately carry away with them a revised vision of Camelot as an interesting synthesis forged between three juxtaposing cultures. Others of a less intellectual bent will only take a vision of a divinely azure-hued Keira Knightley, gleefully beating down Saxon scum:

C'est la vie!

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