With the recent successes of such blockbuster epics as Braveheart, Gladiator, The Lord of the Rings, and Troy, and with two film narratives about Alexander the Great in the works, it was inevitable that the legend of King Arthur would find a new manifestation at the movies.

Judging from his reputation with film, it has also seemed inevitable that actor Clive Owen will become a superstar. Owen's supporting roles in films like Gosford Park and The Bourne Identity got viewers' attention, and his starring role in Mike Hodges' Croupier earned him high acclaim. The rumor mill has made noises about his potential as the next James Bond.

So it seemed like a sure thing when Owen won the lead in King Arthur, from director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Tears of the Sun). The actor and the famous character seemed poised to storm onto the screen in unforgettable fashion.

They'll both have to try again. King Arthur, according to most critics, is a disappointment. And moviegoers gave the film a lukewarm opening, preferring to give Spider-Man 2 a second week at #1 and Anchorman an impressive debut at #2. Even the popularity of actress Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean), in the role of a scantily clad Guinevere, was not enough to give the film a blockbuster opening. Owen will have to wait a few more months to attain the predicted superstardom, when he'll star opposite Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, and Jude Law in Mike Nichols' film Closer. And Arthur will probably have to wait much longer than that for a makeover.

The Arthurian epic has always been of particular interest to religious audiences. But most religious press film critics are unimpressed with the way screenwriter David Franzoni (Gladiator, Amistad) treats this aspect of the ...

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