Few opening credits feel quite so redundantly unnecessary as the appearance of ‘a Guy Ritchie film’ does at the end of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword‘s preluding five minutes. Already, by this early stage in what can only be described as a bonkers romp into the thickets of Arthurian legend, Ritchie has slam dunked a checklist of his signature motifs. Whilst giant elephants and villainous Magi stampeding on a pseudo-medieval castle, led by bad-egg wizard (Volde)Mordred, may not be typical of the Snatch and Sherlock Holmes director’s oeuvre, a flippant attitude to real time motion and laddish vibe are both very much present and correct.
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Humanity has long endured a difficult relationship with nature. It’s a coexistence that has oft been tackled by literature and film alike: that desire for conquest and struggle for omnipotent domination, so perfectly epitomised by Caspar David Friedrich’s romanticist painting: The Wander Above a Sea of Fog, that has driven many an explorer to madness, their sanity a sacrifice to their ambition. From Livingstone to Scott, all have found the natural world to be a fearsome opponent.
Less well known than those Boys’ Own heroes is Lt. Col. Percival Harrison Fawcett, the subject of David Grann’s article, and later published biography, The Lost City of Z, now brought to the big screen by director James Grey. Between 1906 and 1925, Fawcett, portrayed in 2017 by Charlie Hunnam, undertook seven expeditions to South America, spending the most of those years in search of an ancient civilisation, proposed to have been long since lost within the jungles of Bolivia, akin to Hiram Bingham’s 1911 rediscovery of Machu Picchu in Peru.
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