Arthur lives on

The action-filled drama “King Arthur” takes some creative licenses by shifting focus away from Merlin’s hocus pocus and strengthening on the chivalry and loyalty that Arthur built into a strong alliance in Britain during the Dark Ages.

Filmmakers continue to focus on the love between Arthur, well played by Clive Owen (“Gosford Park”) and Guinevere, played by rising star Kiera Knightley (“Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Bend It Like Beckham”), but Lancelot, played by Ioan Gruffudd, has a minimal impact on the romance.

The plot attempts to put a timeline on the classic tale setting the action during the end of the Roman Empire, introducing potentially unfamiliar clans such as the Woads. A great beginning scene between Lancelot and Arthur in a horse stable sets the sincere tone that helps the audience forget about previous works and myths.

Guinevere, who doesn’t appear until almost halfway through the plot, and the camaraderie among Arthur’s knights have limited success, but Arthur’s compassion and faith in God make him a truly admirable character that provides most of the film’s strength. Owen definitely has the star power and talent to fill these large shoes and should see his acting status rise in the future.

Cerdic, played by Stellan Skarsgard (“Good Will Hunting” and the upcoming “Exorcist: The Beginning”) leads the antagonistic Saxons along with his son, Cynric, played by German actor Til Schweiger (“Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life”). Director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”, “Tears of the Sun”) and veteran action movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer made the film in Ireland.

This exciting 2 hour and 10 minute tale comes recommended and is rated PG-13 for a scene of sensuality, war violence and language.