A million spectators in one week despite the crisis, a total public and critical success: King Arthur overcame the health crisis and successfully made the perilous passage to the big screen. Far from being a formality, this success can be explained above all by the strong choices made by its creator, Alexandre Astier. Explanations (which do not sort the lenses).
The fluidity of the story
Meeting the expectations of a fan-base with almost totalitarian demands while building an entrance conducive to any neophyte insensitive to the series, the mission seemed impossible. However, KAAMELOTT – FIRST PART detuned by its protean character. Astier wanders off the beaten track, creating a clever compromise between a reference filled with allusions to the original medium and a captivating approach in a divisive universe. The director avoids the errors of his predecessors, having had to orchestrate the return of a cult saga, anchored in manners. Where many were content to open breaches, to play on a form of latent suspense (we think of the first part of the last trilogy Star wars), Astier does not ask any question without answering it and offers a coherent, approachable plot: the return of a king to his throne. This pretext with fallacious contours makes the director in reality the purveyor of general public entertainment, which resuscitates each of the emblematic figures of the series while playing with subtle twists, attractive and rhythmic. A total mastery, which confirms the qualities seen in the adaptations of the adventures of Asterix.
Recognized for the absurdity of his dialogues and his characters, Kaamelott is above all the story of a tragedy, the failure of a political regime after its peak. The conflagration of the round table and Lancelot’s coup d’état completed the epilogue of a four-year-long mythology. The film finds a pleasing continuity between the tragic subtext inherent in the history of the knights and a fully reinvested situational comedy. We grasp all the seriousness surrounding the character of Arthur from this initial low angle shot, where, with his gaze fixed in front of an insect, the outgoing king presents features marked by age and time spent far from his lands. It is equally gratifying to attend, a few minutes later, at a lunar dialogue where, during a customs control, Arthur and consort engage in a joust of insults, the arrest in sight. Where the format of the series became a funnel for its creator, the film’s medium makes it possible to explore other avenues. In this way, very beautiful ideas for staging come into the story, this sequence bressonienne where Arthur no longer gravitates around the window but crosses it to reconquer the beloved woman, until a filigree narration lingering on the youth of the king. Rare are the instants of latency and one will not hold rigor of spatio-temporal ellipses sometimes daring.
The impeccable interpretation
Unsurprisingly, the heterogeneity of a five-star cast turns out to be a paying choice. Perhaps the fourteen years of waiting play on this aspect, but the demonstrative rigor with which each one appropriates his role of yesteryear is communicative. Special mention to the old guys Alain Chabat and Christian Clavier. The first, Duke of Aquitaine, greatly participated in the return of the king through his passive determinism. The second, an unleashed antagonistic minister, is a collection of “punchlines” all by itself. None are sidelined, and all occupy a predominant place in the story, aided by the frantic pace of events. Expected like messiahs, Karadoc and Perceval redouble their absurdity without however falling into the bidding. It will indeed be difficult, even for the most reckless fans, to quote a cult sequence or a line that remains in memory. This is also one of the main qualities of the film. Humble when he is made the adder of his own mythology, Astier From its trailers refuses grandiloquence and opts for a form of more literary requirement with its audience. While we could expect strong nods to the series, only the initial rumble of the trumpets and a few tics of language remain, which are replaced by real dialogues, well thought out, where the language registers are replaced. skillfully intertwine. Enough to facilitate the integration of the most reluctant into the universe, who will be able to revel in the show without the prerequisites imposed by the television medium.
The priority epic
In the middle of the episodic structure that the film naturally displays in order to reinvest its mythology, KAAMELOTT – FIRST PART There is also the jubilant symbiosis between flashy dialogue and intimate spectacular. Great spectacle and emotions coexist, within a work that brings together all the obsessions of its creator. We know Astier’s particular taste for the epic, when he confronts his heroes with the enemy. An Asterix without a potion already had to face the Romans alone with his sword, in Asterix – The Domain of the Gods. In KAAMELOTT – FIRST PART, Arthur gradually knows the rites of an initiatory quest that will lead him to the throne. Each of the stages helps to structure a lost identity. The spectator, so much so that he has a taste for this epic imagination, will delight in the discovery of a perfectly thought out artisanal round table, a legacy of long ago. The imagination overflowing withAstier definitely takes shape during the final battle, a compendium of all his obsessions. By managing to combine all the destinies of all his characters in a single frame, he concludes a virtuoso first part in his ability to never take himself seriously. Master of the megalomaniac game in the multiplicity of functions he occupies, Astier doesn’t seem to have shed his best cards. Looking towards the future and other lands, we rejoice at the idea of participating in other adventures, by rediscovering these familiar looks, definitively updated in the era of time.