The Green Knight on Prime Video — Fantastic Arthurian Rendition

Posters and Trailers lie about the action in the movie. source

Lately, I have stopped watching trailers and stuff for most of the movies. Sure, I will watch an occasional Batman movie trailer and such. Otherwise, when I watch a movie, I am usually going in with a blank slate.

That helps because, the trailers for this movie make it seem like an epic fantasy filled with action and loud battles. That’s not true at all.

Fortunately for me, I did not watch any of the trailers. I was expecting a slow tale of magic and moody. That’s exactly what I got and I loved it.

Arthur Legends are Fun

Epic at low scale. source

I grew up watching stories of knights and fantasy and such. Those were the only movies that we could watch in India in the 80s and 90s. You kind of blend into it as a child. Then, I remember playing the heck out of Witcher 3, simply to enjoy that fantasy wonder land. The world of witcher 3 filled with ghosts and kings and vampires and magic…ah!

Arthurian Legends are sort of like that. You see inspirations of these legends all over the place. However, a proper adaptation is hard to come by. That is why, The Green Knight is such a special movie.

As with most Arthur legends, once again, we are dealing with a Knight. This story is about Gawain, one of the ‘less’ famed knights from the round table. The setting is that of a ageing Arthur, his empire running out of steam. Gawain is an young man, who is wasting away. Arthur still likes him though.

At this stage, his mother (is she a villain or just teaching her son a lesson? Or is it someone else pretending to be mom) summons the Green Knight, sort of. A lot of stuff here is left purposefully ambigious. The Green Knight invites Arthur’s court for a game of beheading.

The game is fairly simple.

  1. One Knight tries to harm the other Knight’s neck.
  2. This can go to the extent of a full fledged beheading.
  3. Or, as simple as a small scratch on the neck.
  4. The other Knight returns the favor.

But, hold on, if the first Knight beheads the second Knight, then, the second Knight cannot obviously come back and behead the first Knight. However, if the first Knight spares the second Knight, there is no guarantee that the second Knight wont go for a a full decapitation.

The only thing at stake here is honor, not life.

Anway…the young Gawain, eager to prove his ‘worth’, behads the Green Knight using the famed Excalibur. But, the Green Knight does not die! Now, as per the game, Gawain has to go to Green Knight’s castle and complete the game i.e. offer his own neck for beheading.

It’s certain death. I know I am recapping the whole story, but this is just the first few minutes. What follows is an epic journey of experiences, ghost encounters, moral dilemmas, aggressive female with forced handjob and tough decision making.

All the usual stuff you would expect from a standard Arthur legend story. Except for the hand job, I guess.

Fantastic Visuals and Music

Love the costumes, setting and cinemtography. source

Game of Thrones, season 8, for all its faults, still looks amazing. Even that war episode which was so dark and impossible to watch. The Hobbit movies got progressively boring, but by god, they looked and sounded amazing.

The Green Knight has none of the story problems of GOT S8 or Hobbit. Further, it has some of the best fantasy visuals I have scene in a long time. Watching it on the MacBook Air, was an incredible pleasure. The colors are vivid. The fog looks fantastic. The costume design is timely and speaks its own language.

The acting is all around amazing.

I never realized how good of an actor Dev Patel is. I was wondering, why cast him to portray a character from England. He is really good and fits right in with the legendary fantasy setting. I did some homework about Gawain after watching the movie. Gawain was an ‘odd man out’ sort of Knight. He was not totally heroic but he was not totally a coward either.

He is more of a ‘every man’ and more ‘realistic’ and ‘believable’ knight. If Gawain lived today, you could expect him to join you for a cup of coffee, speak about the problems of working from home, before taking off on his jetpack to slay some space monster. He’s kind of cool and everyday.

I think, that is why, casting of Dev Patel makes so much sense. I also want to say that the Green Knight character looks fantastic. He’s only on screen for a few minutes, but the effects (practical or CGI, I cannot tell) would be perfect in one of Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy movies. Now that I think about it, that green plant monster from Hellboy 2 was probably inspired by the Green Knight.

Final Note

The Green Knight. Wow. source

I have an old, child hood habit of watching the same TV shows and movies, again and again.

The Green Knight is going to be one of those movies. Just like ‘John Carter’ and both the ‘Blade Runner’ movies, this is a movie that I will be watching again and again on a slow afternoon, allow my eyes to feast.

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