The Arthurian myth is a well from which the entertainment industry, both film and television, has drawn inspiration countless times over the decades. Some adaptations have been successful, like the excellent John Boorman drama of 1981 Excalibur, which arguably set the standard for accounts of Arthurian myth, while others have lacked somewhat in quality and reception, especially in recent decades. 2004’s king arthur was a solid attempt to place Arthur’s origins in his early historical roots in the Roman era, but barely broken even at the box office. 2007 The last legion bombed to the point of losing over $ 50 million. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword It was originally hoped to launch a full franchise when it released in 2017, but that dream died on the vine when it only saw a dismal box office return of $ 149 million on a massive $ 149 million budget. $ 175 million – at least double if you factor in marketing costs. Extrapolating a conclusion from this could lead to the belief that King Arthur is dead intellectual property.
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But Arthurian mythology is vast and varied, and there is still enormous potential for an incredible film if only the right writer and director could find the best way to exploit it. A24 coming soon The green knight, starring Dev Patel as Sir Gawain in a horrific and fantasy version of the medieval poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, is just one intriguing example of how Hollywood could harness the Arthurian cannon to make interesting and engaging adaptations of old mythology. It is not impossible to believe that there is still an excellent adaptation; here’s how Zack Snyder can make sure his King Arthur movie is this one.
Forget to make a “faithful” adaptation of King Arthur
Admittedly, it is difficult to know exactly what Snyder means by “faithful”, as his quote was quite vague: “I thought of some kind of story like, [a] a true sort of faithful account of this Arthurian mythological concept.“Yet, as a general rule, it is important for a filmmaker not to slavishly devote himself to historical accuracy when it comes to telling the Arthurian legend because there is no precise story for the figure of the King Arthur.
It’s important for Snyder, however, to make sure he knows exactly what era he wants to anchor his King Arthur movie and the tone he wants to set. Most adaptations based on Arthurian legend have been cut from generic fabric, turning into either bland medieval high fantasy, period dramas that have the vague pitfalls of historical accuracy, or, at worst, a mishmash. -mix of genres and periods that offers no feeling cohesion in the construction of the world. Snyder has to offer something clear and distinct.
Get out of the two most famous stories about Arthur
Hollywood has long been fascinated by the love triangle between King Arthur, his beautiful wife, Guinevere, and his loyal Knight of the Round Table, Lancelot. It makes sense; it’s a story that provides an immediate setting for conflict and an easy three-act arc. It offers the possibility to build around three of the most famous fictional characters in all literature and legend. Yet it’s also a story that now feels tired as it so often seems like one of the only stories to be adapted from the Arthurian canon. Otherwise, it’s the story of Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone.
Yet half of the reasons audiences haven’t responded so well to King Arthur movies in recent years is because they already know the stories that tend to be told. The love triangle and sword-pulling, as important as they are to the overall story of the legend, aren’t the only parts of this story to be told. These are familiar and well-drawn narrative paths and there are wilder and more interesting paths to take. Instead of focusing on the two most famous and over-the-top two stories in Arthurian canon, Zack Snyder should focus on some of the less suited stories to keep things fresh and interesting. He would do well to take Marvel’s approach of ignoring origin stories for characters we know well, like Spider-Man, focusing instead on the more interesting arcs.
Do better by the women of Arthurian legend
Like most stories rooted in centuries past and written by men, the women of Arthurian legend do not fare well. Guinevere is painted as adultery and the reason for Camelot’s downfall. Isolde is also the unfaithful wife of a king. Morgan le Fay is a treacherous witch. Elaine falls in love without consideration for Lancelot and yearns for him until his death. As Nimue, the Lady of the Lake exists primarily as a side quest to answer men’s stories; as Viviane, she is a villain who bewitches Merlin and imprisons him in a tree. The other more minor women in Arthurian legend exist primarily to be wives, mothers, chivalrous ideals or respectful intrigues, and just like the most famous female figures, every sin is theirs, every woman falls from grace. It’s a type of storytelling that can’t exist in 2021 and beyond. Any account of the Arthurian myth, even if it is claimed that the outdated arcs for female characters are rooted in mythology itself, cannot be built around the innate misogyny of the eras in which they were written.
Snyder’s films, for better or worse, tend to be primarily testosterone-focused and male-dominated. Apart Sucker PunchSnyder’s films have had few major female characters. He just has to do better than that if he wants his King Arthur movie to resonate; it’s fair to wonder if part of the reason movies based on the Arthurian legend haven’t performed so well in recent years is because there is little for female audiences who already know that women will not be centered and if they are, their plots will be problematic.
Snyder would be wise to look to TV for ways to adapt characters from Arthurian legend who are good for women: Netflix’s Damn focuses on Nimue’s origins as a magical creature from Arthurian legend and makes her the heroine of the story; BBC Merlin The series from a few years ago wisely avoided Guinevere’s infidelity, pinning her on the fact that she was under Morgana’s spell and it was just one kiss before Guinevere fought the spell. Snyder would be just as wise to find a screenwriter to write the script, or at least co-write with him.
Create fully formed characters, not mythological concepts
The characters of the Arthurian legend often come up against the problem of the “mythical figure”, as well as their cinematographic adaptations. Mythical heroes and villains aren’t so much fully developed characters as they are ideological concepts, less complex figures, and more character sketches meant to be avatars of certain quintessential virtues. Because of this, it’s rare for films based on the Arthurian legend to have well-rounded characters, focusing less on character development and more on familiar story rhythms.
To get an audience on board, Zack Snyder will need to get moviegoers to care about the characters. Character development cannot be sacrificed at the altar of clashing swords and grand combat sequences; it must be the other way around. Audiences will not ride or die with a character until their loyalty is earned, a fact that most King Arthur films tend to overlook, mistakenly believing that character development can be bypassed. with the shorthand of the action elements. Snyder likes the mythological structure, especially the symbolic elements. If he wants his Arthurian legend film to be successful, however, he has to struggle against his natural instinct to mold the characters as myth and shape them as people. Well-balanced, complex and reliable people.
It’s a big demand to create a King Arthur movie that will be relevant and resonate with modern audiences. Truth be told, Snyder has the potential to be both the key and the curse of his own project. His innate understanding of mythological rhythms, epic action, and male power fantasy can serve an Arthurian story well, provided the balance with smart, modernized storytelling, well-developed characters, and quieter, more intimate moments. . Yes Zack Snyder can crack this code, he has the chance to make one of the best movies on king arthur in decades.
Next: Everything You Need To Know About Snyder’s King Arthur Movie
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