Movie Preview: “Arthur the King” 

arthur the king

By Randal C. Hill 

“Arthur the King” has nothing to do with the mythological king of Britain. Rather, it’s about a dog—and friendship and resilience and companionship. The story is based on a 2017 true-life adventure book called “Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home,” by Swedish extreme athlete and author Mikael Lindnord.  

Lindnord is portrayed in the film by Mark Wahlberg (“Boogie Nights”). In addition to Wahlberg—renamed “Michael Light” for the film version—two important co-stars include Simu Liu (“Barbie”) and Nathalie Emmanuel (“Game of Thrones”). 

The tale centers around Light as a seasoned professional athlete about to retire and who is gearing up for one last challenge by striving to win the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. The soul-crushing, 10-day event involves 435 miles of mountain climbing, biking and kayaking. As his team’s captain, Michael struggles with challenges both physical and personal.  

One day, as the group is resting, a scraggly, injured mutt limps into their camp. Light offers the emaciated creature a meatball, and a powerful bond forms that will change both of their lives.

Related: Movie Preview: “All the Light We Cannot See”   

The team meets the same stray canine hundreds of miles later. The second time fate brings them together, the dog saves Michael’s life by barking at him just as he’s about to step off the edge of a steep cliff. “Extra meatballs for you, my friend,” he tells him.  

Michael’s fellow competitors initially see the mutt as a nuisance but eventually come to love him and even adopt him as the team mascot, since he displays as much heart as any of the human adventurers. Later, as Light and the creature slog their way through a swamp together, he proclaims, “He’s the king…I think we should call him Arthur…Arthur the King.” 

Prolific TV director Simon Cellan Jones and scriptwriter Michael Brandt (“3:10 to Yuma”) helped to bring Arthur’s story to fruition. 

The Lionsgate PG-13 release of “Arthur the King” opens in theaters on March 22.