Arthur the King

Arthur the King

Arthur the King

Arthur the King
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Simu Lau, Juliet Rylance, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ali Shuliman Bear Gryllis and Paul Guilfoyle
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Scriptwriter: Michael Brandt based on the book “Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home” by Mikael Lindnord
Composer Kevin Matley
Cinematography: Jacques Jouffret
Municipal Pictures/Lionsgate
Rating: PG-13
Running Length: 107 Minutes

There are dog stories and then there are dog stories.  “Lassie” and “Benji” have character, are intelligent and protect their humans. They, also, have movies about them. However, in “Arthur the King,” we have a stray dog in a foreign country and with unimaginable skills of his own. The setting in this true story is about a special type of endurance race in the Dominican Republic. No pulling snow sleds here, this is rough jungle terrain. The human star is Mark Wahlberg (playing Michael Light) who wants to try this horrendously difficult race just one more time.  Director Simon Cellan Jones takes his time with the storyline together, and then, away we go. Jacques Jouffret’s cinematography enlightens the activities involved in the race.

The year is 2014 and in Costa Rica, Michael Light (Wahlberg) is a runner who makes a bad decision in this adventure race. There are bad results. Years pass, and Michael is still thinking about that race, decisions made and wants to try it again.  How to do it? Here comes Olivia (Nathalie Emmanuel) who is a climber, and Chik (Ali Suliman) who is older than the rest and healing an injury. Then, an extra person, Leo (Simu Liu.)  Finally, they are ready for the 5-day adventure race through jungle.  However, Michael feeds a stray dog and from then on, the dog follows them through thick and thin, up and down, and they can’t get rid of him.  He even saves people. The race continues but is the dog now an asset or baggage? Decisions.

By this time, the audience is caught up in dog-love. So “Arthur” (name given by the group) becomes quite a buddy No matter what happens, the dog is always there.  Almost a miracle, at times. Photography brings the audience into the intensity of this race, both for humans and the dog that follows them. Mark Wahlberg’s “Michael” is a person who has a lot to learn about himself and little by little becomes a different person. The others on the crew have their moments, but it goes back to the dog and the relationship between Michael and Arthur. Bonded at first sight. We find that Arthur had a sad background. Makes you want to go home and snuggle with your four-legged friends, and not just one time, either.

“Arthur the King” is family fare, but rated PG 13. The story gets in gear in the second half. Be aware of danger moments during the race. Things to discuss as a family could be learning humility, compassion and the ability to keep going until the end. Also, treat animals properly. There is only one trophy given to the winner, but to the rest of the competitors, they can give themselves a trophy for trying and being their personal best.

Three Tocks

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