King Arthur (the movie) was really bad in MY book. The dialogue was cheesy, the characters were weak, the story was too linear, and the acting was unremarkable. As a movie that is supposed to tell the 'true story' of the legend of King Arthur, it ended up trying to be a Gladiator-Braveheart-Troy clone that tries too hard to be credible.
To tell the truth, even a mindless parody of the legend like Monty Python and the Holy Grail was better than Jerry Bruckheimer's re-imagining (and murder) of the legend (more on Monty Python next time :) )
Anyway, while King Arthur the movie was bad, I asked around and found out that King Arthur BOOKS are pretty good. At least that's what people have been telling me. I personally have just started on T.H. White's The Once and Future King, and it is pretty promising. Here are other King Arthur related books that were recommended to me:
- The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- The Pendragon Cycle (Taliesin, Arthur, Merlin, Pendragon & Grail), by Stephen R. Lawhead
- King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, by Roger Lancelyn Green
On the other hand, House of Flying Daggers was a great 'wu xia' movie that had captured the elements of wonder and martial arts that I loved so much in the comics I mentioned before in my previous post Spiderman vs the Storm Riders.
My major gripe about the movie is the fact that Andy Lau sticks out like a sore thumb. His pronunciation of Mandarin was pretty weak, and I just don't think he can carry of a Chinese traditional costume as well as he can carry off a suit. His face just looks too... modern.
Other than that, the movie visuals were stunning (it IS a Zhang Yimou movie after all), Zhang Ziyi and Takeshi Kaneshiro gave good performances (Takeshi had some really good lines) and had pretty good chemistry, the fight scenes were good (but not spectacular), and the opening dance sequence was just beautiful.
My favourite part of the movie has to be the flying daggers themselves. I'm not talking about a faction or a group here, but the actual DAGGERS that the fighters threw. I was in awe every time the daggers appeared, soaring through the air, twisting and turning, stabbing and cutting. You could see every detail on the dagger, how it turned, how it punched through wood and flesh, and how each fighter employed the daggers in their own way. Flying daggers (and arrows) were always a favourite of mine when I read the Hong Kong 'wu xia' comics, so to see them come alive on screen was just magical.
My verdict? Although it is not a movie you might want to watch again and again (though some actually might do so), House of Flying Daggers is a movie that simply MUST be seen, if only to see the beautiful scenes and the FLYING DAGGERS! (Yes, I'm obsessed with them to the point that I wish they'd make a replica of it for me to keep at home)