Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
January 2020

I had high hopes for this one, I really did. Sure, they weren’t going to be using Shakespeare’s language in this movie based on two of Shakespeare’s plays, but that’s not always a negative. Goodness knows I’ve watched, and reviewed for you, a lot of movies based on Shakespeare but not using Shakespeare’s words. (Some of the best weren’t even in English, like Ran and Throne of Blood.) And I wasn’t unduly concerned about some of the complaints that I heard of historical inaccuracies. Even Shakespeare took liberties with history in the interests of making a better, more engaging story. And, in fact, in watching this movie, I was impressed by the quality of the cinematography, and the realistic “feel” it gave of the time period in which it was set, at least some of which was bolstered by some of the sites where it was filmed; for example, in Lincoln Cathedral in England, a classic piece of High Middle Ages architecture. (You want a middle ages feel to a film? Shoot it in places that existed at the time in which your film is set!) But the more I watched, the more the departures from actual history started weighing on me, and the more some of the “gimmicks” the film makers used increasingly distracted me from truly enjoying this movie. It’s not that I consider it a bad movie, but it could have been so much better with very little work. But thus it is that this month, Da’ud Bob reviews for you Netflix’s 2019 offering, The King.

Starring Timothée Chalamet as Hal/King Henry V, Ben Mendelsohn as King Henry IV, Joel Edgerton as Sir John Falstaff, Robert Pattinson as the Dauphin, Thibault de Montalembert as the French King Charles VI, Lily-Rose Depp as Catherine, Philip Rosch as the Lord Chamberlain, Andrew Havill as the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Tom Glynn-Carney as Henry “Hotspur” Percy, this film can be summed up as: Hal, wayward prince and reluctant heir to the English throne, has turned his back on royal life and is living among the people. But when his tyrannical father dies, Hal is crowned King Henry V and is forced to embrace the life he had previously tried to escape. Now the young king must navigate the palace politics, chaos, and war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life - including his relationship with his closest friend and mentor, the aging alcoholic knight, John Falstaff

Good points: Much of the armor. Real chain mail. The sets. The herald’s tabard. Some of the costuming. There was enough mud in the scenes of the Battle of Agincourt. The ships. The trebuchets! The massed cavalry. Falstaff yawning during the Dauphin’s threat speech.

Bad points: It messes about - a lot! - with the actual history. Some of the costuming; e.g., the rabbit fur “ermine” robe collars. Fisticuffs in full armor. Knights wearing the Royal arms. Too many ships in the cross-Channel fleet. The livery collars. The Dauphin himself coming to the English camp. For that matter, King Henry himself going to the French camp. (In real life, they would have used heralds for that sort of back and forth.) Addressing King Henry as “Your Majesty.” (Henry VIII, yes; Henry V, nope.) Not enough arrows at the Battle of Agincourt.

Zero breasts. 1½ gallons of blood. 161 dead bodies. Sword fu. Dagger fu. Axe fu. Trebuchet fu. Crossbow fu. Polearm fu. Arrow fu. Mace fu. Mud fu. Knights roll. Heads roll. Waves roll. Gratuitous dirt. Gratuitous dancing man. Gratuitous mechanical bird. Gratuitous camels. (No, really!) Gratuitous assassin. Academy Award nomination to Joel Edgerton as Sir John Falstaff for, “Never have I felt so vile as standing victorious on the field of battle.” A 53 on the Vomit Meter. 3 Stars. Da’ud Bob says, “If you don’t watch it thinking that you’re seeing real history, but rather something more like Game of Thrones, it is well-done, interesting, and entertaining. But real history it ain’t. Check it out!”


Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

Like last month, and the month before that, I still got nothin'. I keep checking for new and upcoming releases, but the medieval/Renaissance/fantasy market looks like it's being ignored, at least for the next several months. Sorry! Until someone releases something new (and the new Disney live-action Mulan being released next March 27 may qualify, but otherwise, it's a wasteland out there), I guess we're all going to be stuck seeing what's on Netflix or Hulu.

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