On Second Thought, Let's Not Go to Camelot...

>> Tuesday, March 29, 2011

picture by Gustave Doré
I love the legends of King Arthur. The only problem is that there aren't any good (or appropriate) movie adaptations.
What is this apparent fascination with making King Arthur movies that completely disregard the legend? Would it kill them to portray it accurately? I know there's creative license, but this is just ridiculous. It seems to be very out of hand.

Despite the many adaptations, there doesn't seem to be one I like. The most recent film replaced the magic  with Romans. And as for that new Camelot TV show...Well, I couldn't even get past the first five seconds of the trailer without cringing.
The only one I even vaguely approve of is BBC's Merlin. While it may not be the most correct version of the tale, it does not try to be an authority on all things Arthurian. And at least it foreshadows, something other adaptations can't boast of.

Merlin: So, come on, just for the sake of argument. If you had to [chose]: Arthur or Lancelot?
Gwen: But I don't have to and I never will.
Merlin: You are no fun, Gwen.

And it's not just movies. It's the general pop culture. Everyone knows Launcelot's name. But nobody knows who he is. And if I were to list off the names Ewaine, Percival, Gareth, Geraint, and Bedivere, chances are nobody would know what I was talking about.
It's frustrating.

I'm not saying I'm an expert on the Arthurian legends. I just wish someone would make a movie that didn't take an English legend and completely ignore everything about it.
But maybe that's just me.


D. S. Dahnim March 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM  

No, it's not just you, I entirely agree. I haven't seen BBC's Merlin, but I have seen the latest movie with the Romans, and I agree with you absolutely. Why can't they make a good adaption? An adaption that is like the legends even just a little bit? Good post, and nice picture.

D. S. Dahnim

Marian March 29, 2011 at 11:02 AM  

I know how you feel...it's kind of like Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes. Every wants to make a spin-off movie, but there's only a handful of accurate adaptations. :(

Lady Greenleaf March 29, 2011 at 1:17 PM  

May I just say I LOVE Gareth? I read the Idylls of the King a few years back, and Gareth and Lynette was definitely my favorite. :)

Celtic Traveler March 29, 2011 at 2:42 PM  

Fascinating. Gareth and Lynette are my favorite too. And I thought I was the only one:)

Liz March 31, 2011 at 3:37 PM  

Hahaha! The title of your post made me laugh. Sooo true! I have yet to find a good version too. But the old legends are so awesome! Have you read the Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead? Those were an interesting retelling of the legends.

Anyways, thanks for the fun post! If you ever discover a good movie version (or one that's at least passable) you'll have to let me know!

~ Liz

Fiona Everest April 7, 2011 at 7:42 AM  

I feel your pain! It is awful isn't it?
There is one sort of accurate movie called Camelot. But it is a musical. So I guess it is not all that accurate.

Anonymous April 11, 2011 at 9:49 AM  

See, Gawaine is my personal favorite. I like Pelinore too. But I have READ so many different versions of the legend that i can kind of understand why the media a hard time capturing the fullness of it. I think my favorite one to read though is "The once and future king". I love BBC's merlin because even though it doesn't fully capture the legend it is well made and captures the most intriguing aspects of the character's personalities. But we'll talk more next time i see you

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