We’re in the middle of an attempted summertime Arthurian renaissance. I say attempted because it hasn’t been going all that well. King Arthur and his knights are always swirling around somewhere in the creative, storytelling mix, which makes it interesting but not totally unexpected that we have arrived at such a Camelot moment.
The first attempt at summertime Arthurian renaissance was a few weeks ago with the release of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Aside from a few director-inspired flourishes, the story of an unknown king raised in the rabble wasn’t all that great. Rumor has it that the movie was meant to be the opening salvo in a franchise, which I can’t anticipate happening now that is has only brought in $38 million domestically (though it has brought in $100 million internationally).
The second attempt at a summertime Arthurian renaissance is this week with the release of TransFormers: The Last Knight. Does it look like a mess? Totally. I’ve only seen one TransFormers movie from the recent run (Dark of the Moon?). It was utterly forgettable. But look: Sir Anthony Hopkins!
There’s also some pseudo-Unicron imagery in there, but I’m trying to know as little about the movie as possible in case I actually see it.
The third and final attempt at a summertime Arthurian renaissance arrives the first week of August with The Dark Tower. Whatever else the story might be (and it ends up being many things, thankee-sai), the life of Roland Deschain falls in line with the world won and lost by Arthur and his knights (here they use guns instead of swords). If it’s done well, this could be the most-true of the three.
It’s funny: every few years we get at least two movies within two months of one another where the same story is told (the best example: Armageddon and Deep Impact). This is not quite the same but still interesting. King Arthur deserves to fare well, I think. Maybe by the end of this summer he will.