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Arthur The King

Arthur The King

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Arthur The King


Arthur the King is an adventure film set to release in 2024. Directed by Simon Cellan Jones, the movie features a talented cast including Mark Wahlberg, Simu Liu, and Juliet Rylance. The screenplay, written by Michael Brandt, draws inspiration from Mikael Lindnord’s non-fiction book titled “Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home,” published in 2016. The story revolves around the captain of an adventure racing team who forms a special bond with a wounded stray dog named Arthur. Together, they embark on a challenging 435-mile (700-km) endurance race across the Dominican Republic.

“Arthur the King,” can be likened to an inspirational classroom poster brought to life on the big screen. While it carries good intentions and a meaningful message, it mostly follows a predictable path as an underdog tale.

Wahlberg portrays Michael, an adventure racer who has yet to taste victory in a competition. The story begins with him facing a major setback during what he considers his final chance at success. Fast forward three years, and Michael finds himself in a mundane routine, working for his father and living a comfortable life with his wife and daughter. Despite his wife’s sacrifices for their family, Michael remains fixated on his past failures.

Driven by an unrelenting desire to prove himself, Michael embarks on a quest to secure sponsors for his racing endeavors. The film draws inspiration from the real-life story of racer Mikael Lindnord and his book recounting the incredible journey of “Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home.” While the canine companion adds a unique element to the narrative, its significance only becomes fully apparent halfway through the movie.

Directed by Simon Cellan Jones, “Arthur the King” struggles to delve deeper into its characters and story, resulting in a somewhat rushed and superficial portrayal. The film lacks a distinct personality, relying heavily on picturesque shots of the Dominican Republic and a conventional musical score. Additionally, the female characters, such as Michael’s wife Helena, are portrayed in a stereotypical manner, diminishing their impact on the overall narrative.

Their daughter exhibits an undeniable charm and engages in precisely three adorable activities, all of which revolve around her father. Afterward, she quietly retreats into the background, presumably to entertain herself. Nathalie Emmanuel, on the other hand, has the opportunity to be a part of the racing team, although her only notable characteristic is her concern for her father who is battling cancer at home.

There is a rather remarkable and tense scene involving a malfunctioning zip line, where our adventurers find themselves suspended in mid-air with their bikes, attempting to reach the other line. However, I’m uncertain if the sense of adventure truly takes hold. Even the playful banter among teammates (including Ali Suliman and Simu Liu) fails to leave a lasting impression.

Throughout this 435-mile journey, you simply move from one checkpoint to another, while Michael becomes increasingly attached to the dog and less focused on winning. Somewhere along the way, Michael even develops a genuine care for his teammates.

As the race concludes, the dog assumes an even more central role, tugging at the heartstrings (although it’s not particularly challenging to evoke emotions when a camera is trained on a potentially dying dog). At some point, Michael admits that he has never been fond of dogs or owned a pet, yet somehow, this particular dog breathes new life into him. In fact, the real Michael establishes an animal welfare foundation as a result of this experience.

Perhaps the film will draw attention to the existence of the Arthur Foundation, but while it is relatively easy to digest, overall, it leaves a somewhat unsatisfying impression. “Arthur the King,” a Lionsgate release hitting theaters this Friday, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association for “some strong language.” The film has a runtime of 90 minutes. 

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