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.
When my diminutive bottle of Dà Mhìle seaweed gin arrived this week in the post, I wasn’t sure what to expect of it. I know that it’s organic, that it’s made from seaweed gathered on the beach at New Quay in Ceredigion, Wales, and that this boutique brand officially launches on 1st March.
Yes, yes, yes…but would I actually like it?
So for two days, it has sat on my kitchen shelves amongst the half-filled (okay, mostly empty) bottles of whisky, cachaca, elderflower liqueur, absinth, rum, Campari, more gin, and Harvey’s Bristol Cream of questionable origin. (For the life of me, I don’t remember where the sherry came from, but there it sits, gathering dust and daring me to pour it down the kitchen sink).
But now it’s Friday, and I’m feeling that familiar weekend recklessness coming on.
Time to pop the cork—or rather, unscrew the little gold cap—on my mysterious sample of gin. Dà Mhìle has been drafted for active duty. (more…)