Wringing praise from critics for Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has been as challenging as, well, wriggling that stubborn blade from a stone. But the mythical landscape, filmed entirely in the United Kingdom, proves to be just the ticket…or at least, worth the price of one.
Here’s a quick look at the highs and lows of a movie which, at times, can be as challenging as the terrain.
If you’re a fan of Ritchie’s films, you probably won’t be disappointed in this action-packed popcorn gobbler. True to form, its filled with fast-paced banter, a throbbing modern soundtrack, and manic, crime caper-style energy, as Arthur (played with tough guy bravado by Charlie “Sons of Anarchy” Hunnam) and his merry band of miscreants have fun stormin’ the castle.
Admittedly, I could’ve done without the improbably oversized evil elephants. Ditto Ritchie’s dystopian vision of Camelot, which has nothing in common with the most congenial spot for happily-ever-aftering regaled in the 1960s musical Camelot, where “the rain may never fall ‘til after sundown.” (In England? If only.)
Ritchie’s kingdom, by contrast, is more akin to Mordor. It’s a dungeons-and-dark-magic fortress where you half expect an army of ornery orcs to charge in to aid Jude Law’s villainous King Vortigern, usurper to the throne.
The director’s decision to bequeath David Beckham a cameo as a scar-faced soldier has attracted a few derisive sniggers, but there’s one bit of casting Ritchie did get undeniably right. Namely, awarding some of the most magnificent settings in England, Scotland and Wales a guest starring role as Arthur’s legendary landscape.
VisitBritain has prepared an interactive map for those who wish to walk in Arthur’s footsteps and see the best of Great Britain for themselves. Read on below for the filmmakers’ top pick of UK film locations and behind-the-scenes scoop.
Behind the Scenes
Filming in the UK might seem a natural decision, but as location managers Amanda Stevens and Lottie Mason reveal, it almost didn’t happen.
As the French Riviera celebrates the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival, fasten your seat belts for a whirlwind ride along the Cote d’Azur.
“Belle! Belle!” a man calls out from a corner café as I round a bend in my 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster. Whether his hoot of approval and accompanying wolf whistle are for me or, more likely, for my rented wheels hardly matters. With the top down and the sunshine of the French Riviera casting a golden glow across the landscape, I’m smiling ear-to-ear either way.
I only hope I’m out of sight when I stall the car on a slope, the gears grinding and growling like an angry grizzly as I try to cajole the temperamental stick shift back into first.
Never mind. I’m going to enjoy my movie star moment, ensconced in a red bucket leather seat as I clear the coast and head into the pine-scented hills.
This is silver screen country, after all, where dozens of seminal films have been shot since the 1950s.
My hired ride from Rent a Classic Car is the same model favored by James Dean, and my hair is pulled back into a wind-defying blonde bun, a la Grace Kelly. All that’s missing from this picture is Cary Grant…and a snazzy score by Henry Mancini to drown out the carnage I’m inflicting on the motor.
Cruising in a vintage car is the perfect complement to my cinematic tour of the Cote d’Azur, which will take me from Cannes to the ridiculously picturesque mountaintop village of Eze, with stops in Antibes, St. Paul de Vence, Nice, and Villefranche-sur-Mer along the way. (more…)