Friday, August 15, 2008

Review of The Last Legion

This isn't really going to be a detailed review, but I finally saw The Last Legion the other day. For those of you who don't know, it's a re-telling of Arthurian legend that takes place as the Roman Empire is crumbling, and the title is a reference to the last Roman legion loyal to the Caesar -- i.e., the good guys. I'd been avoiding it because so many people told me how terrible it was.

I shouldn't have avoided it so assiduously. The movie, while not good, was not that bad. I was expecting the child actor playing the last Caesar to be horrible, but he was OK. He was no Victoire Thivisol, but then, who is? The annoying butt-kicking Grrl Power character who seems to be mandated in every medieval film these days was ridiculous, but not so bad as Keira Knightley's* character in King Arthur.

The big problems with the film were a bad case of LotR-wannabees, a Vortigern who is so flat (and inexplicable) that he could probably slide under locked doors, and an insecurity about the Arthurian themes so severe that the last five minutes just smash you in the face with them. Note to filmmaker: If anyone still did not get that the sword was Excalibur by the end of the film, no amount of spelling out the letters was going to help.

So, basically, mediocre. Don't bother renting it, but if you and your friends are sitting around bored, and one pops in the Last Legion DVD, go ahead and watch it. If, on the other hand, your friend pops in the 2004 King Arthur, he's no friend of yours. Destroy the DVD, kill your friend, and systematically erase all evidence that either he or the DVD ever existed. You'll be doing us all a favor.

*With a name like that, shouldn't she be in ever medieval film?

1 comment:

  1. I agree: this movie isn't nearly as bad as some reviewers made it out to be. For all its preposterousness, I quite enjoyed it, probably because I didn't know at the outset that it was going to be an Arthurian movie.

    I think one of the film's biggest flaws, though, is that it's too short and fast-moving for the epic grandeur the filmmakers were aiming for. I mean, really, don't expect me to feel something just because you blare triumphant, LoTR-style fanfare every time someone crosses a mountain or comes within sight of a town!

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