First Knight Reviews
But what it does have is one of the better love triangles I've seen on film. It is between Arthur, Lancelot and Lady Guinevere. The drama starts with Lancelot. This iteration of his is very different; he is not very noble or holy at all, he's more of a Han Solo type. Moving from town to town with no care in the world, but he falls for Guinevere who has been promised to Arthur. Unlike Twilight or other crap teen romance films, Guinevere is very much her own person. While she does have to be rescued a couple times, she does quite a bit for herself. These people are conflicted between their love, honor, beliefs, their will etc.
While all of this is going on, a rather generic villain is making a fuss of things, burning the countryside and such. But with him comes the conflict of ideals (every man for himself vs brotherhood) and weather Lancelot realizes it or not, he is part of the villains ideology. And that's what this film is about, conflicts between love and ideology. But it's done in a subtle way that's not hitting you over the head with it.
The acting is very solid, but to a modern audience, it can come off as tacky. It's more inspired by theater and as such they all do a great job.
It's fun for the entire family. Check it out.
The story of King Arthur is one that I've seen in many variations of with the best being in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, though that was because it was for comedic value. But when it came down to First Knight, I didn't really care too much about the story. I just wanted a solid medieval action film that wasn't too derivative. The key difference between First Knight and many other tales of the Arthurian legend is the fact that this time the story strips away the tales of magic and sorcery to emphasise the humanity and conflict in it all. This doesn't make its story great, but it makes it different in certain ways.
While First Knight manages to put some effort into characterizing King Arthur, the problem is that the hero of the story is actually Lancelot and the treatment that the story gives to him is slim. He is reduced to being just another star vehicle character for Richard Gere who fits the role without having all that much to work with. Overall, the feature is mostly slim on characterization and practically any story elements regarding characters instead of the bigger picture are little more than melodramatic cliches which are nothing but hollow. First Knight is not a deep film, but there are times where it unnecesarrily tries to be and it fails to be of any benefit to the story or the characters because in the end, it is really all about the spectacle instead of the characters or the narrative. Considering that the film is strictly visual and tries to milk that for 134 minutes without originality, it only really has the power to succeed as a guilty pleasure, yet it takes itself very seriously which may get in the way of that being a potential result for viewers.
While I don't really mind the the story, the problem I find with First Knight is the general tonal issues. When I say that, I mean that the look of the film fails to match the feel of it. Despite the fact that the action in the film wants to be dark and gritty, the film gets too caught up in being a big budget adventure type film to grasp the right atmosphere. The musical score by Jerry Goldsmith is one of the selling points for this because it is lighthearted in nature and fails to match the intended harsh reality of the story. The tone of the film goes along the lines of Kevin Reynolds' Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in the sense that it is light and seems like a commercial adventure tale, but the fact is that First Knight had the potential to be a lot more because of the fact that it had more style and a more direct approach to the harsh reality of the violence that is medieval history. There are some moments where the atmosphere is grasped thanks to the musical score having some brief moments, but the majority of the time it fails to match the aesthetic aspects of the film. Still, the musical score in the film is well composed and the visual elements of First Knight are very satisfying.
While the lighting may occasionally be a bit dark, First Knight benefits from some solid scenery and production design which establishes the timeframe of the story and setting with ease. While the cinematography is of mixed quality because it occasionally films things well for long periods of time and at others is a bit shaky or edited somewhat quickly, the majority of the film is captured well. First Knight doesn't precisely grasp a large scale like it wants to, but the budget is in the correct place. The main thing I wanted out of First Knight was some good action scenes. While they weren't exactly gritty enough to be as dark as the film could have been or didn't follow an adventurous style like the general mood of First Knight did at times, the action in the film is mostly choreographed well and serves as the most entertaining aspect of the feature.
And the cast of First Knight add a decent touch to the film.
Richard Gere is a decent lead. Although the slim characterization of Lancelot leaves him with little to work with, his handsome charm and physical capabilites make him a decent lead. The film is more of a vehicle for him than anything and it doesn't demand his best abilities as an actor, but he engages in solid swordplay in the film. Richard Gere grasps his weapon with confidence in First Knight and engages in battle fearlessly, as well as the fact that he maintains his standard charming demeanour with the other characters.
Sean Connery's performance is a very welcome aspect of First Knight. Taking on the role of King Arthur, Sean Connery makes an easy fit for the role because of his natural sense of charm and sophistication. He stands with a confident stature in the role and delivers his lines with gusto which makes him the finest cast member of the film. There are some moments in First Knight that demand him to step up and deliver some true dramatic strength, and he manages to do that without problem. He easily fits the profile of the part in the physical sense alone, but he manages to actually bring a sense of honour and spirit to the character. With Sean Connery's Academy Award winning talents on board, director Jerry Zucker can walk away from First Knight knowing that he managed to create at least one strong character for First Knight thanks to Sean Connery who interacts with the universe of the film wihthout problem.
So there is good production values, decent action scenes and a strong performance from Sean Connery to boot in First Knight. But the tonal inconsistencies and lack of originality blunt it over the course of its long running time.
Fazit: Gute Darsteller in einem oberflächlichen Film, der mit angezogener Handbremse läuft!
(1995) First Knight
HISTORICAL FICTION ACTION ADVENTURE
I tried watching this, but I couldn't get into it, and was able to watch it on my second attempt after watching the 1950 film "Knights Of The Round Table" starring Robert Taylor. I mean, I don't mind seeing an alternate version of "King Arthur", but this movie is too pretentious and silly to be taken seriously, since it assumes viewers are already aware about the story, or in this case the characters. The story has been concocted to focus on the one-note romance between Lancelot(Richard Gere) and Guinevere(Julia Ormond). And that's not the only problem I had, I had a very hard time on the physical aspects too, such as accepting acting veteran Sean Connery as King Arthur who looks like he's old enough to be playing Guinevere's father, who's not much older than the person playing Guinevere's father as well. I mean, if viewers didn't know who Sean Connery was, and were to turn the sound completely off, it sometimes looked like Guinevere is making out with her sugar daddy, or another Hugh Hefner type of person so-to-speak who enjoys making out with younger women. In the movie, he said Guinevere was the first woman he ever fell in love with, but later on in the movie, viewers later find out that he's already been married 4 times prior to falling in love with Guinevere. In the 1950 version of "Knights Of The Round Table", Lancelot's main intention was to serve King Arthur, but in "First Knight", they end up meeting by chance-as in Lancelot completing the dangerous obstacle course without padding. Am I watching something from the 'family movie channel' or is it supposed to be a movie people pay money to watch.
Some of the more corniest scenes has to be Lancelot himself, played by Richard Gere, which the movie portrays him as a person who lives in the forest, sort of like a bushman. He has no arrows but only a sword. He sleeps in the forest, like he needs no blanket probably except the clothes on his back, which his lifestyle is similar to Tarzan except that he has a horse. What kind of foolishness is this, 'King Arthur for dummies? I must have grimaced at least 3 or 4 times, since Lancelot's conceitedness is so cocky and fake, it's like it's intentioned for the simple minded. And the main villain is so stupid, it would've been all over had King Arthur pursued him in the first place, but it's like stall. And then stall again, because Lancelot knew where the main baddie's hideout was, but they just wait and wait and then wait, until he attacks first making the set up for the battle scenes one of the worst in movie history. It's like seeing the worst PG 13 rendition of "The Lord Of The Rings". It said that it's made in 1995, but it looks older, since it's a nothing but a higher budget of something Roger Cormon could've thought of, or Ed Wood.
1 star out of 4 stars