Most viewers going into the theater to see The Green Knight are familiar with the tale of Arthur and the Round Table. The tales of the chivalrous knights who brought order and decency to England. We’re so used to the stories, they’ve become part of world history and even have a collection of movies made about them. The knights of the round table are part of the story but often, not the focus – with very few exceptions. One of these stories is now getting made into yet another version of the take – The Green Knight.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen The Green Knight adapted for the big screen. In fact, there’s quite a sparkly version of Sean Connery as the Green Knight from 1984. But the new adaptation of the story by A24 with Dev Patel as the lead offered potential. All of the adaptations have the same base story, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a 14th-century poem that talks of loyalty and the adventures of the King’s nephew as he becomes not only a knight but part of the lore and legend that built the knights of the round table.
What can The Green Knight being created again offer fans compared to the earlier versions? First and most importantly is a lot less glitter. Ok, maybe that’s not as important as you’d think – but we’re still wondering who convinced James Bond to be covered in green glitter paint was a great idea. But the most notable difference in the movies is the effects. Over 35 years, there have been a lot of advancements in technology and the ability to take the mythical and magical and make them happen on the screen easier. This helps with conveying the tale for viewers, keeping them in the story and making it make sense.
But The Green Knight doesn’t rely as heavily on some of these effects as we expected. Instead, it keeps it to just a few locations throughout the film, except when Gawain is traveling and minimal sets as well. Similar to a stage production, The Green Knight actually keeps to a very simple setup and story delivery.
The movie mostly kept to the origin story as well, except for when Gawain is at the huntsman’s home. This is where the film diverges some and in ways that did not benefit the story. Additionally, in a departure from the source material, The Green Knight actually changes the moral of the story some and puts a more modern eye on it – not what supposedly happened but what probably would have happened. It gives Gawain the ability to see his choices and flips back and forth a couple of times to the “what ifs”. While this is an interesting take on the tale, it seems like it was a bit gratuitous and added bloat time to the film.
Somehow even cutting out some crucial parts of the story The Green Knight, the movie still comes in at 2 hours and twenty minutes – while this is becoming more standard for movie releases – it seems like it could have trimmed some parts down to better tell the story.
The Green Knight is now in theaters.
About The Green Knight:
An epic fantasy adventure based on the timeless Arthurian legend, The Green Knight tells the story of Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), King Arthur’s reckless and headstrong nephew, who embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves, and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom by facing the ultimate challenger. From visionary filmmaker David Lowery comes a fresh and bold spin on a classic tale from the knights of the round table.