I’m a bit late to the King Charles III party. It aired here in the US last Sunday on PBS, but I haven’t had time to watch it until now. It’s pretty bad, you guys. I know some of you had a lot of problems with The Crown, but man, that show was way better than this movie. BTW, spoilers ahead.
I actually think this premise – what will happen in the days following Prince Charles becoming King – had a lot of promise. It could have been done well and been very interesting, but it wasn’t. I liken it to the Star Wars prequels in that way. The Star Wars prequels could have been House of Cards in Space, but it wasn’t because of terrible writing and directing. King Charles III could have been House of Cards with Royals, but it wasn’t because of terrible writing and directing. And the reason I bring House of Cards into this is because both Charles and Kate talk to the camera ala Frank Underwood in House of Cards.
Back in March, the Guardian wrote up a long but fascinating piece about what will happen when Queen Elizabeth II dies, called ‘London Bridge is down’: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death. If King Charles III had been a realistic portrayal of that plan, it would have been amazing. If King Charles III had been a realistic portrayal of what would happen if the monarch took more power/went against Parliament, it would have been amazing. But the movie was so melodramatic and fake Shakespearean that nothing felt real and every decision and line of dialogue seemed so stupid.
I’ve bullet-pointed some of my thoughts:
- I hated that Charles talked directly to the camera like he was Frank Underwood in House of Cards. And I hated that Kate randomly talked to the camera for one scene halfway through the movie. I get that this comes from the fact that this movie was adapted from a play, but it did not work for this movie.
- The Shakespearean-ness of the dialogue was distracting. It may work in a play, but in a movie you cannot have Shakespearean language in a modern day setting. It is so contradictory that every time they spoke it completely pulled me out of the story.
- The fact that William and Kate were ignorant of how the monarchy and British government worked bothered me greatly. William should already know that the new monarch becomes the new monarch as soon as the old monarch dies. He shouldn’t have to be told that. And if the writers just need to impart that information to the audience, they should have picked different characters to give that information to so that it doesn’t make William and Kate seem ignorant – especially since William and Kate were supposed to be the smart heroes.
- I was also bothered by the fact that William kept referring to himself as Prince of Wales. If Charles hasn’t even been coronated yet, then William most certainly hasn’t been installed as Prince of Wales yet.
- I don’t understand the point of the hallucinations. If it had just been Charles having the Diana hallucinations, I would have eyerolled because they were stupid, but it would have made some sense since the writers were out to make Charles look a bit insane – having hallucinations, seizing power and being forced to abdicate. But both William and Harry had the Diana hallucinations, too. Was the purpose to make all of them seem like they have mental illness? William is supposed to be the sane hero, so why is he having the same hallucinations as his father?
- I very mush dislike the portrayals of Charles, William, and Kate. I think Charles is much smarter than the movie portrayed him as; I think William is much more tantrum-y than the movie portrayed him as; and I think Kate is far less confident than the movie portrayed her as. However, if the writers were going to go that route with these characters, they didn’t do a good job. Charles wasn’t as terrible as the writers wanted him to be; William wasn’t as smart as the writers wanted him to be; and Kate wasn’t as scheming as the writers wanted her to be. Overall, the writing was just terrible.
- Harry was all sorts of stupid. That questioning Harry’s paternity scene was stupid. The fact that Harry could randomly be everywhere without his RPOs was stupid. His moping was the worst. And then it made no sense that he would dump Jessica at the end. That makes no sense, especially since Harry says it was William who wanted Harry to dump Jessica when William is supposed to be the likable hero. Again, the writing was terrible.
- The secret meeting between Jessica (Harry’s love interest) and the palace PR guy did the opposite of what I think the writers intended it to do. The two met and Jessica tells the PR guy that her ex is blackmailing her with nude photos, and the PR guy tells her he can’t help her, to which she says: “If this was Harry or the king, you would do something.” The PR guy then replies: “You don’t understand, miss, you’re not part of the family.” I think the writers intended me to feel sympathy for Jessica here, but I actually came away disliking her and thinking the PR guy didn’t have a strong enough comeback. I think this interaction makes Jessica seem narcissistic and stupid. If she had a problem she wanted the palace to help her with, she should have gone to Harry from the beginning to ask him to get the palace to help her (which she did after the nude photos were published). Thinking that the palace would help her with her problem even though she’s not a royal and the palace doesn’t work for her is narcissistic and stupid. She should have been smarter and known that the palace wasn’t going to help her out unless Harry did the asking.
Overall, I think this movie was terrible. The writing and characterization were awful. But there were two parts that I did like: Charles throwing something at the PM, and Camilla slapping William. Those were fun.