Saturday, January 18, 2020

The King vs. Henry V


Henry V is a 1989 movie by Kenneth Branagh adapted from Shakespeare's play.  The King is a 2019 Netflix film covering the same historical events. 

Henry V had a falling out with his father, so his father Henry IV appointed Henry's younger brother to be the successor to the monarchy, but Henry's younger brother was killed in battle shortly before Henry IV's death and Henry V became king at the age of 26.  He succeeded in conquering France in an ongoing 100-year series of wars between France and England.  But he died at the age of 35 and most of his military victories would later be reversed.

Henry V was a young king.  Kenneth Branagh played him at the age of 39 in the movie adaption of Shakespeare's play

One of Henry V's major was victories was at the Battle of Agincourt.  It was a battle that he should have lost because he was badly outnumbered, but a combination of strategy and weather worked in his favor.   At this battle, it was said that Henry V gave a powerful speech to motivate his men, but history does not record this speech.  Shakespeare wrote a fantastic speech for the play ("We happy few. We band of brothers."), but the movie The King substitutes something less grandiose.   Shakespeare handles the battle by having the actors march offstage and the battle is not shown, and the movie version only shows a bit of the battle.  Instead, the King gives us what feels likes a historical re-creation of the battle.

Whereas the Netflix movie The King seems more historically accurate, the movie Henry V is more fun because it is hard to top Shakespeare.

Rating:  The King:  B.

Rating:  Henry V:  A-.

P.S.  I watched The King the same day I watched 1917.  I failed to notice that Dean-Charles Chapman was in both movies.


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