A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot is a fantasy drama inspired by the legend of King Arthur and contains bloody injuries inflicted by swords, knives, and arrows. King Arthur (Richard Short) must return from fighting abroad to protect his kingdom of Camelot from the threat of his illegitimate son, Modred (Joel Phillimore). There are frequent fight scenes involving swords with multiple characters stabbed to death. In one scene, a character's throat is slit and blood seeps from his neck. Bare-knuckle boxing is shown as a form of entertainment, with fighters being cheered on by a rowdy crowd in a tavern. Some of the violence is less realistic and linked to the magical element of the story -- bodies disappear before the characters' eyes after they die. There is some drinking, but never to excess, although Arthur is shown drinking alone as he attempts to cope with his struggles. Sex is suggested rather than shown. There is some female nudity -- two female characters are seen nude from behind.
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What's the story?
ARTHUR & MERLIN: KNIGHTS OF CAMELOT tells the story of King Arthur's (Richard Short) return to Camelot to deal with a new threat to his throne -- his illegitimate son, Modred (Joel Phillimore). After spending years fighting abroad, Arthur must again join forces with Merlin (Richard Brake) and the Knights of the Round Table.
Is it any good?
A budget drama with fantasy elements, this movie is a committed attempt to show the legendary King Arthur in a different light. Compromised by fighting abroad, he must deal with both the criticism and the consequences he faces for fighting foreign wars rather than protecting his home. Unfortunately, Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot is light on both plot and characterization. Arthur's return to Camelot is slow and tedious, leaving the audience to wait a long time for the movie's final, climactic 15 minutes.
It's also frustrating that Modred, Arthur's illegitimate son who has a genuine grievance with him, is reduced to a pantomime villain. Guinevere (Stella Stocker) is likewise undeveloped, as she wards off Modred's advances and does little else. Another criticism is that the script occasionally slips into modern speech -- Modred is described as "making a play" for the kingdom at one point -- and that many scenes repeat the same plot points through their dialogue. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that Merlin (Richard Brake) is presented as one of the lead characters, but only appears in a handful of scenes. It's another missed opportunity in this medieval tragedy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot . What are the consequences of the violence? Does the magical element make it less impactful? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
What do you know about the "Arthurian legend?" How does this movie put a new spin on it? How is British mythology adapted from its history of kings and queens, and why is King Arthur still known to this day?
Discuss the pressure on Arthur to be a good leader. How does he fail and how does he try to make things better? What character strengths does he portray? Why are these important?
Talk about the fact that Modred is Arthur's "illegitimate" son. How have attitudes to children not born to married couples changed today?
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