February 19, 2005

Hollywood and Heretics

Last night Mrs H and I watched the film King Arthur. We didn't get a chance to see it at the cinema - we don't get a chance to see much at the cinema - so we rented it. What a load of crap.

The acting was okay. The cinematography was good. The history was very suspect. The story was absolute rubbish.

I had heard that there was a little suggestion that Arthur was a Pelagian. The whole film is a glorification of Pelagianism. Pelagius is Arthur's substitute father. Arthur goes on and one and bloody on about the teachings of Pelagius and how they are superior to the prevaling theology (i.e., orthodoxy). Our father amongst the saint Germanus is portryed as underhanded, double-crossing, and pompous. Every orthodox Christian in the film is specifically cast as evil and despicable, enslaving the locals, while Pelagian Arthur comes to see them free, all the while going on and on and bloody on about his Pelagian views of free will.

The film is a series of heretical sermons interspersed with a few battle scenes to keep it interesting.

Merlin is depicted as some sort of Pictish king who woos Arthur over to the side of working for the blue-faced pagans rather than for the Christianised Romans. This Merlin proclaims Arthur king at his wedding to Guinevere, who has managed to wash the woad off her face, set in the middle of a mini-Stonehenge circle of standing stones.

I suppose I am more incensed than others because Merlin, the real Merlin, is the patron of my family. St Dyfrig, as the very orthodox bishop of Caerleon and the father of Welsh monasticism, crowned Arthur. Our father Dyfrig was surrounded by followers, but they were seminarians, not forest-dwelling pagan archers.

It was St Dyfrig who called the Synod of Llandewi Brefi to deal with the threat of Pelagianism and who resigned his archbishopric of what is now Wales in favour of my patronal namesake St David when the ground rose up under David's feet as he thundered against Pelagius.

So Merlin and Arthur and Pelgianism are all connected, but not at all in the way depicted by this film.

Posted by david at February 19, 2005 11:51 AM | TrackBack

This is just another sad example of how people's utter ignorance of Church History allows the enemies of Christ to create the Church in their own image, whether it be Dan Brown's DaVinci Code or the Jehovah's Witnesses, or the 2000 Jesus miniseries (I don't know if it showed in Britain or not), or this movie you've just warned us against. For that matter, a number of Protestants believe that the Catholic & Orthodox churches are "Pelagian" or at least "Semi-Pelagian" which even I, a Lutheran, know isn't quite true. So thanks for the warning. We'll probably just go to "Pooh's Heffalump Movie" instead.

Posted by: Michael at February 19, 2005 02:02 PM

Speaking as a former Calvinist, I think that some Protestants think of Catholics and Orthodox as Semi-Pelagian simply because those Protestants have moved the goal posts. Brings to mind Proverbs 22:28.

Posted by: Dave at February 19, 2005 03:48 PM

I knew from reading the reviews that historically the movie was crap - just an action pic with an ass-kicking, sword-wielding heroine - but didn't know it was this bad. Not surprising though - reminds me of how the anti-Catholic and anti-Hispanic messages in 'Elizabeth' with Cate Blanchett went without complaint from the mainstream press.

Posted by: The young fogey at February 19, 2005 05:12 PM

As someone who finds Keira Knightley a good excuse to watch any film, I was even disappointed with her performance. It may have had something to do with a Pictish princess/warrior/whatever with a Home Counties accent.

Ray Winstone as Bors was about a convincing as he was as Henry VIII. He always just comes across as a Millwall hooligan out for a rumble.

Posted by: Dave at February 19, 2005 05:49 PM

I saw Winstone as Henry VIII as well - awful rewrite of history that. (The accent wasn't really an issue as RP hadn't developed yet in the 1500s.) The King was a public sinner but no heretic - he never said the things about 'church reform' Winstone's character did.

Posted by: The young fogey at February 19, 2005 08:33 PM

arrrgh. I started to reply, but it turned into a blog entry of its own. I'll post when finished.

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