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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 04.03.09] movie review short scifi action fantasy

Year: 2009
Director: Matthew Cooke / Vincent Lund
Writer: Matthew Cooke / Vincent Lund
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 8 out of 10

There's a rumor floating around that out of work doctors turned filmmakers, Matt and Vince, are hard at work on a feature length version of their hilarious short and, after just viewing the 14 minute film, I'm crossing my fingers that this is indeed true. Why? Because Arthur's Lore is much more than just a spoof flick made by a couple of British dudes who think they're the next Pegg and Wright. It showcases the two as budding talents who are just as capable of making an exciting and action packed movie as they are at having a laugh. Plus, there's just as much of an influence from Jessica Hynes from Spaced so it wouldn't be fair to just point to the Pegg / Wright connection.

But anyway, read on to learn more about how bad Karaoke can save lives, what the difference between a Druid and a Droid is and how a night at the pub can turn you into the savior of the world!

It's just another night at the pub for regular guy Arthur. His girlfriend's determined to embarrass herself at karaoke, his mate's trying to steal his Guinness and some punter's at the back looking for a smack. But, for Arthur, tonight is anything but another night. It will change his life forever because he's about to become the savior of the world when he inherits the powers of the late King Arthur. How exactly? Well that's a little unclear. See, that punter at the back is actually the current protector of the world but he gets killed by a roving hoard of hoodie wearing teenage ghouls on his walk home. So, when Arthur happens upon him he tries to help but instead gets the man's magic tattoos which somehow transfers the power. Now he, and his friends become entangled in a race to save the world from an ancient curse. Sorry but in 14 minute movies these kinds of things happen pretty quickly so you'll excuse me if this all seems rather vague.

Matt and Vince cram a lot into 14 minutes. There's a high flying fight scene, screaming banshees and loads of well delivered gore and special FX. For a film that cost a mere £10,000 it certainly manages to pack quite an adrenaline fueled punch.

And, of course, it's also got loads of gags. So many in fact that if you're too distracted by the action you may even miss a few key punch lines. Some standouts include Arthur's girlfriend getting jealous over a mysterious "Avalon" tattoo that appears on his back, Arthur getting chucked through a wall after misunderstanding the legend's riddle, bad karaoke actually being how you defeat banshees and when he learns his friend is actually a Druid sent to help him (and not like from Star Wars... cause that's a droid).

Sometimes you can tell that the actors don't have tons of film experience because some of the performances become somewhat over-the-top in places. However, each one is solid enough to make the cast feel like an ensemble. Each is also equally funny and likeable. Jay Sutherland who heads up the cast as Arthur is particularly good and clearly has a bright future ahead of him.

There were only really a couple things that stood out as problems in the film. The choral score was somewhat over-used and went from quirky to annoying very quickly. Some of the CGI could have been better rendered (but considering the budget it's not surprising) and some of the comedic timing could be tightened with editing.

Another thing I found interesting about Arthur's Lore is that, instead of mining America for satirical inspiration as Pegg and Wright have done with both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Matt and Vince have decided to lampoon distinctly British material. Whether or not this will help or hinder a feature length film reach a wider American audience remains to be seen but I found it made the film feel original. I mean, how many zombie spoofs can one man take?

It's unfortunate that not a lot of people will be able to see Arthur's Lore. It's funny and full of energy and would be a high point of any film fest's short film program. Here's hoping some programmers are paying attention and give Arthur's Lore a chance to grace cinema screens. Until then, bring on a feature length film!

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burdasingh (13 years ago) Reply

Big fan of this! Great review - I agree wholeheartedly!


(10 years ago) Reply

Fantastic! When will the big guys spot their talent??!

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