have to give everything in a fight"
uniting his country as their king, Arthur (Connery) returns to Camelot in
a time of peace, to take a wife and start a family. The woman who will be
his wife is Guinevere (Ormond), who accepts his offer of marriage if Arthur
and his armies promise to protect her hometown of Leonesse. Before she met
her future husband however, she was saved from kidnap by Lancelot (Gere),
a brave sword fighter who gains favour with the King for his endeavours.
Little does Arthur know but Lancelot is attracted to Guinevere and she might
just well feel the same.
legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table has been the storyline
for many a Hollywood movie but can a more true to life telling of the tale
be as much of a hit?
In 1995 director Jerry Zucker, who is best known for his spoof comedies
like 'Airplane' and 'The Naked Gun', tried his hand at a serious take on
the Arthurian legend, concentrating more on the love triangle between Arthur,
Guinevere and Lancelot than the myths and magic that have surrounded the
stories for centuries. Gone are Merlin, Excalibur, the sword in the stone
and any of the magic that has ran through the tale of the English King to
be replaced with a more realistic version of the story but does it work?
Well the answer is yes and no.
love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot was one of the main
cornerstones of the Arthurian legend. It was this that led to the downfall
of the king and the break up of the Knights of the Round Table. The decision
just to concentrate on this factor only however is probably why the movie
wasn't as successful as it could have been on its original release.
Jerry Zucker and his creative team got right however was the casting. When
you look for an older actor to play the regal and power presence of King
Arthur than you could have looked no further than Sean Connery. One of the
great screen actors of all time, Connery's portrayal of the legendary king
is one that makes the movie much better than it should have been. The decision
to cast Richard Gere as Lancelot is a strange on however. Much the same
as Kevin Costner's Robin Hood, this is a very American version of the legendary
knight of the Round Table but Gere has always been good as creating passionate
performances and he makes Lancelot a character you would think that Guinevere
would leave a King for. The then flavour of the month Julia Ormond follows
her hit 'Legends of the Fall' with another big budget spectacular, playing
the beautiful Guinevere. When it came to casting a woman who could cry and
look emotional, there was nobody better and for the British actress these
two movies would probably be the biggest of her career. There is a good
performance from Ben Cross as the evil, former Round Table Knight Prince
Malagant and it is always good to see Sir John Gielgud in a movie.
it might not have the myth and magic of the Arthurian legend, 'First Knight'
is still an entertaining love story with some action thrown in for good
measure. With good performances from Connery, Gere and Ormond, this is a
movie worth revisiting and one that might just become a love story favourite
in years to come.
Blu-Ray disc presents the movie in High Definition widescreen 1:85 up to
1080p, with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound. The picture quality is extremely
good, showing the excellent art and production design of the piece but it
does make the film look a little too clean for the time period it was set.
and Producer Commentary
Director Jerry Zucker and producer Hunt Lowery come together to provide
a reflective commentary for 'First Knight'. As is usual with Jerry Zucker,
he injects a large dollop of humour into the mix by questioning why someone
like him, who was best known for comedies would direct a movie like this
but the pair do try and take the track seriously, talking about the mammoth
production of the sets and what is was like working with this amazing cast.
This is a good commentary track for the movie and one that is quite funny.
Quest for Camelot (18.51 mins/Standard Definition)
Director Jerry Zucker, producer Hunt Lowery and stars Sean Connery, Julia
Ormond, Valentine Pelka and Ben Cross talk about their adaptation of the
legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Creation of a Kingdom (18.11 mins/Standard Definition)
Director Jerry Zucker, production designer John Box, art director Robert
W. Waing and stars Sean Connery and Julia Ormond talk about the sets for
Camelot, Leonesse and Malagant's castle.
Shining Armour: Knights in training (18.32 mins/Standard Definition)
The director of The Association of Renaissance Martial Arts (ARMA) John
Clements and his fellow members talk about how sword fighting was an art
in medieval times. They take you through the their study of how knights
thought and the techniques and skills they used during the dark ages.
and Extended Scenes (7.16 mins/Standard Definition)
Entitled 'Stable council', 'Horse whispers', 'Swords and woods' and home',
these deleted and extended scenes suffer from the lack of a commentary track
or an introduction to reveal why they were removed.
Previews of 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Edition'
and 'The Jane Austen Book Club'
Blu-Ray treatment for 'First Knight' is one that fans of the movie should
enjoy. With a funny and informative commentary and some decent featurettes,
this has a good selection of special features but it is a shame that these
are no different than that of a DVD release.
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