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First Knight

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 18-09-2010


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Together, Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond (Legends of the Fall, Sabrina) and Jerry Zucker,the director of Ghost, bring you a new vision of King Arthur’s Camelot. A vision of breathtaking battles, of heart-pounding courage, of the undeniable love that brought an entire kingdom to its knees… and of the undying passion that made it live forever.Amazon.com
1995 had already seen the box-office success of sword-wielding heroes in Rob Roy and Bravehear… More >>

First Knight

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This review refers to the DVD edition(Columbia/TriStar) of “First Knight”….

I was one of those who also thought that Connery and Gere were TOO OLD to play their respective parts of Arthur and Lancelot in this film. Then I viewed the film. All thoughts of miscasting went out of my head, as I just kicked backed and enjoyed this highly entertaining and captivating story. The three major stars in this film, including Julia Ormond(“Sabrina”), as Guinevere, had a wonderful on screen chemistry with each other, the scenery was beautiful, the costumes delightful, the romance enchanting, the battle scenes heartpumping, and the music(Jerry Goldsmith) haunting and thrilling.

Young Lady Guinevere is about to be married to the wonderful King Arthur and she will take her new place as Queen in the beautiful land of Camelot. It’s a time of happiness for all. But there’s trouble amiss, just as the Knights of the Round Table are pledging their undying loyalty to the new Queen, Malagant, an ex Knight who wants to rule the land, is spreading terror and destruction, and is about to envoke his wrath on the people and the home of Guinevere, her beloved Leonesse. Enter Lancelot, newest member of the Round table(having already saved Lady G twice) to the rescue, who will now lead the Knights in battle against the evil Malagant.And then there’s the battle for the lovely lady herself….

The performances were touching, as Guinevere and Lancelot form a deep love for each other, but love their King as well. Ben Cross(“Chariots of Fire”), is simply evil as Malagant and the illustrious Sir John Gielgud adds his wonderful talents as well.

The DVD presents a beautifully clear picture, with rich colors. It may be viewed in widescreen or full screen.The sounds of the era and the music are excellent. You have the choice of DD5.1 or stereo. Languages include English, Spanish and French with subtitles in Spanish and Korean, but there are no subtitles or captions in English for those who may need them(what’s up with that?)

If you’re looking for something that stays truer to the classic story, go with “Excalibur”, It’s a breathtaking and artfully directed film. However, “Excalibur” may not be suited for everyone. The violence is quite a bit more graphic then “First Knight” and there are sexual scenes as well. This one may be better suited for teens, but may be enjoyed for the pure entertainment value as well.

Get the popcorn ready and enjoy….Laurie

for a look at early sean connery:

Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie

A Bridge Too Far

Rating: 4 / 5

I am 15 years old, and I just love this movie. “First Knight” ranks up on the list with the musical “Camelot” and Disney’s “The Sword and the Stone” as a magnificent telling of the Camelot legend, and may in fact surpass these other two movies in excellance. Creative license was taken so that the “accurate” legend is not portrayed, but the charcters stay true to the story and the affect is nothing short of amazing. Lady Guinevere of Leonesse (sic?) is on her way to marry King Arthur of Camelot when she inadvertantly meets Lancelot, a very cocky mersonary whose arrogant ways hide a dark childhood. Although attempting to stay loyal to her King, Guinevere is twice saved by Lancelot (although she did a good deal of the work to escape herself) and finds herself falling in love with him. To complicate the problem, the evil Prince Malagant is determined to take over both Leonesse and Camelot. Tension builds to a stunning climax, a shocking ending, and a glorious conclusion. —– This movie is filled with both heart-pounding action cues of suspense and heart-rending conversations of real people. Richard Gere portrays Lancelot beautifully, giving him a self-assured pride and arrogance that later reveal to be merely a cover-up to the pain he experienced as a child. Although I have heard complaints that Gere is too American for the part, he added a dimension to Lancelot’s personality that few others could top. There is a chiling reason for his cockiness, and it makes him seem more human. Julia Ormond gives Guinevere beauty, but also independance. She is quite able to handle herself, and is one of the few “damsels-in-distress” that haven’t gotten on my nerves by their helplessness. Because this Guinevere is anything but helpless! Guinevere is torn apart by her love for two men, and Ormond portrays it excellently, allowing you to see into Guinevere’s soul and find the pain she is going through. Ben Cross as the terrible Malagant is perfect. He is wicked, cruel, selfish, and disgusting; the perfect villian! Not every actor/actress can play a villian so well. Great job! And what can I say about Sean Connery as King Arthur? This was the first movie I saw him in after I saw the film “DragonHeart”, in which Connery played the voice of the dragon. Perfectly cast in that movie, perfectly cast in this, Connery gives King Arthur boundless dignity, wisdom, and heart, but he also gives him a human side; vulnerable and not always quite sure what to do next. This is probably the most realistic portrayal of Arthur, and you can’t help but have your heart go out to him. —– The music, the diolodge, and the wonderful acting make “First Knight” such a great movie. For anyone who loves the Arthurian Legend, or simply a story of regular people with lots of heart, see this movie. As the song goes, “It will not be forgot that once there was a spot for once brief, shining moment that was known as Camelot!”
Rating: 5 / 5

The ’95 film `First Knight’ is a romantic and adventurous reinventing of the timeless tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. As already mentioned in several previous reviews, the script takes a very different approach to the subject matter than one would expect. There are no personal appearances nor mention of Merlin, Morgan le Fay, or Mordred. Even more unexpected is the manner in which the identities of the ‘Knights of the Round Table’ remain anonymous.

As if that wasn’t enough to send the Arthurian purist screaming into the night there are more surprises ahead. You will find no Holy Grail, no pagan deities or prophetic utterances and no mention whatsoever of the sword Excalibur in this film. When all is said and done the movie resembles the ’38 classic `The Adventures of Robin Hood” more than anything else.

Oddly enough, in eliminating the usual esoteric elements long associated with Gnostic Christianity and Celtic paganism the developers of the film saw fit to replace the time honored storyline and symbols with a strong, more traditional Christian allegorical subtext. Relying heavily on the vivid, literary themes and imagery found in John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and Dante Aligheri’s ‘Divine Comedy’ the film centers on the ages old battle waged between good and evil, the war between God and the rebellious Lucifer, once the greatest of all the heavenly host.

Ben Cross does a superb job of exploring the persona of Lucifer in the role of Malagant, the “first knight” (hence the title of the film). Now banished from the hallowed walls of Arthur’s realm, Malagant (i.e.: malignant, maligned) is definitely the embodiment of the “Great Adversary” bent on overthrowing the ideals of Camelot (Heaven) and its fatherly ruler King Arthur (God). As he waits impatiently for the right moment to attack, this black armored knight dwells with his followers in a dark, dank fortress appearing more cavern than castle. The passageways within his abode are poorly lit with an occasional torch here and there. This nocturnal environment was most certainly designed to conjure images of a Dantesque Hell.

This suggested association of Malagant with the Luciferian archetype is made crystal clear when he makes a dramatic appearance before King Arthur and his knights during a Round Table gathering. In true Milton fashion his arrogant demeanor and boastful rhetoric are straight out of `Paradise Lost’.

While `First Knight’ lacks the depth and substance the more mythical Grail elements would have supplied, the loss is more than made up for with a tender romance acted out beautifully by Richard Gere (Lancelot) and Julia Ormond (Guinivere). The two forlorn lovers are perfectly matched. Gere is at his best, delivering in my estimation his most memorable film performance and Julia is mezmerizing as the strong-willed, yet hesitant Queen of Camelot. Not one to miss the obvious, Julia looks absolutely beautiful which always helps to maintain the complete, undivided attention of the males in the audience.

I certainly wouldn’t consider this to be the definitive Arthurian film, but it’s certainly an enjoyable one. I could watch ‘First Knight’ over and over again and when all is said and done isn’t the repeatability factor the litmus test for any movie?

My Rating: -4 ½ Stars-.
Rating: 4 / 5

As I watched First Knight, I couldn’t help but think that if this film had been freed of the constraints of the original Arthurian tales, it would have been a complete success.

But for the original Arthurian tales, the casting of Richard Gere probably wouldn’t be as problematic. But for the original tales, the final siege of Camelot would be more believable.

Instead, we do feel a tinge of oddness at Gere’s attempt to play Lancelot du Lac, who in Arthurian legend is very much a French aristocrat trained in all the chivalric ways, not the ranger-like, orphaned free spirit he is here. It’s too bad we do get distracted by the mismatch between character and actor, because he has some truly great moments with Julia Ormond (strong and pleasingly complex as Guinevere), hot looks, internal torment and emotional cat-and-mouse in that classic Hollywood tradition. No need for Keira Knightley-style bared stomachs and bow and arrows here. The conspicuous absence of important Arthurian characters like Gawain, Gareth and Mordred, of course, also distances this film from Arthurian legend so much that the Camelot setting becomes pretty much cosmetic, with only the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot love triangle being the intact element. And even then, the film treats this relationship far differently from the original tales (the complete opposite of what happens in the legends, in fact).

If you’re a purist for Arthurian legends, you will definitely be distracted by these elements. However, distance yourself from the original tales and you’ll find a classic Hollywood love story with unusually effective emotional layers, good performances, and absolutely stunning cinematography coupled with impeccable editing, the work of two masters — director of photography Adam Greenberg (cinematographer for Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Ghost, among others) and editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now). The group shots in this film are eye-popping, recalling Akira Kurosawa’s style, and director Jerry Zucker keeps the narrative flowing with nary a wasted moment.

I duck one star because of the King Arthur baggage. To a certain extent, I feel that if you’re going to change the story so much, you may as well call it something new, rename your characters and so on. That is a small criticism, however. First Knight, viewed on its own merit, is a highly well constructed, old-fashioned romance adventure with balanced strengths and, again, a beautifully light touch in the emotional and acting departments. It’s really something to watch the familiar story of the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot triangle come into life this satisfyingly, and just for that, First Knight would already deserve high marks.
Rating: 4 / 5

A very pleasing all-around movie is how I found this Knights Of The Roundtable-type story and a good one for DVD, even one that’s been on disc for quite some time. For an early DVD, this was a real treat for the ears with some great rear- speaker sound. The story, however, not the sound, was the main appeal of this film for me.

The three main stars in this movie were very appealing: Richard Gere as the cocky-but-good guy Sir Lancelot; Julia Ormond as Guinevere and Sean Connery, aptly cast as King Arthur. He certainly looks and acts the part, as does Ben Cross as the villain, Prince Malagant.

This is a straight adventure story, too, with none of the hocus-pocus sorcery baloney who often see in these King Arthur stories. This is beautifully filmed with a city of Camelot that is awesome to view. Nice values in here, too, with – gasp – the importance of prayer mentioned. No wonder so many reviewers out there hated this message.

This is simply a classy, great adventure and highly recommend to literally everyone who values a nice story that has values.
Rating: 5 / 5

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