Peter M Howard ::

wintermute.com.au

Artorius Rex

16July2004 [myth]
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I’ve wanted for years now to make a film about King Arthur - when I heard about the new version I thought I’d have to postpone that, especially given it was going back to historical roots, something I also wanted to try - but after seeing it this evening I’m just in more of a hurry to make my own version.

The history is straightforward enough - Arthur is a Roman-Briton who leads his knights, defeats some Saxons… There are a couple of different locations for the myth though - the movie sets it in the North, at Hadrian’s Wall. The alternative version sets it in the south-west - Wales and Cornwall (the location of Tintagel).

Not a lot actually happened in the movie - bad enough; but what really bothered me was their approach to/myth of Christianity… First off was an obsession with pushing Pelagius - Arthur, the only decent Christian in the movie, goes on about Pelagius’ doctrines of “free will and equality”, and frees slaves to prove his worth. Unfortunately, Pelagius was a heretic who denied Original Sin and Christ’s subsequent Redemption.
(Catholic Encyclopedia - the first couple of paragraphs are the important information)

On top of the only decent Christian being the follower of a heretic, there was the usual smattering of evil/corrupt/weak ‘Christians’ - only one kid seemed vaguely decent, but that’s probably because he didn’t open his mouth a lot.

Then what appeared to be the main ‘theme’ of the movie, at least in relation to Arthur: at one stage Arthur offers his life, Christ-like, as a sacrifice for his friends… But by the end of the film God betrays Arthur, taking instead his friends - on the battlefield at the end Arthur cries out to God: “it wasn’t supposed to be like this”, and proceeds to marry Guinevere in a pagan ceremony, with no Christian symbolism whatsoever, which I couldn’t help but read as Arthur rejecting God (and Christianity) after God rejected him.

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