A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Issues of justice and decency are at the forefront of characters' thoughts and actions throughout. Many instances in which characters must choose between self-interest and decency, betrayal or loyalty, personal happiness, and the greater good. Arthur's former knight, Malagant, has chosen a path of vengeance and disloyalty. Lancelot and Guinevere must also weigh their personal interests with their values, their country's interest, and their allegiance to their king. Even King Arthur eventually must weigh his need for revenge and personal satisfaction with the forgiveness and the needs of his people.
Violence & Scariness
No outright gore, but oodles of old-fangled violence: vanquishment, thrashing, maiming, spearing, arson, and all the death and destruction than one army of ruthless warlords can do innocent villagers. Mostly, women and children are traumatized and orphaned and widowed -- not killed themselves. The wide assortment of medieval sling-shots, flaming bow and arrows, mallets, and other weapons are generally violent but not vividly awful.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Overtones of erotic suggestiveness and light bodice ripping, but most of the sexual energy hinges on desire and not consummation.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that First Night is a retelling of the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot love triangle that has action, romance, and scads of bloody battle sequences, death, maiming, and other assorted medieval savagery. Still, its more quantity than "quality" -- expect lots of red swords and red-drenched clothing, but no gory displays of visible entrails, decapitations, or amputation. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Sticklers for any semblance of historical accuracy will be exasperated by this Fantasy Island version of the Arthurian legend. Fans of credible acting will likewise be irked at the box-office minded casting and sub-par performances. First Knight appears to be a vanity project in which Sean Connery is striving for some regal gravitas and Gere is stretching his matinee idol wings by delving -- rather lamely -- into period drama. He's got half an English accent going, and even his scripted lines are utterly anachronistic. (To be fair, his Lancelot is aptly smug.) The age difference between Arthur and Guinevere -- and their lack of chemistry and apparent love -- dilutes the thorniness and anguish of Guinevere and Lancelot's betrayal.
But while the film offers nothing but cardboard characterizations and awful dialog, the action sequences rouse even the most cynical viewer. Gere's Lancelot is the Jackie Chan of medieval action figures, fighting an army of swordsmen single-handedly with dazzling dagger tricks and nonstop awesome wallopings. There's also a satisfying amount of horse chase scenes, waterfall leaping, and longing glances. But with the feast of cinematic alternatives in the genre of Camelot action flicks, why chose this corny afterthought?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.