Arthur the King (Blu-ray Review)

True story films can be a bit of a gamble. There are the ones that stretch the truth and there’s those ones that are encyclopedic in their accuracy.  Sometimes there are the rare films that toe the line between the two.  With Arthur The King, star Mark Wahlberg takes on another true story role, this time as Michael Light (real name Mikael Lindnord), who is a professional endurance racer.  When light and his racing team encounter a dog, their whole journey changes. How does this true story translate to film you ask? Find out below and click the cover art at the end to order a copy of Arthur The King for your collection.

Film Dexter-_5

In ARTHUR THE KING, an unbreakable bond is forged between pro adventure racer Michael Light and a scrappy street dog companion dubbed Arthur over the course of a grueling 10-day, 435-mile racecourse. An “inspiring story for the whole family” (Rachel Wagner, Rachel’s Reviews), and based on true events, ARTHUR THE KING follows Light, desperate for one last chance to win, as he convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. Pushing the team to the outer limits of endurance and sacrifice, Arthur redefines what victory, loyalty, and friendship truly mean.

I am intrinsically a “dog person.” I gush over dogs in real life and on social media.  I wish I could have one of my own, despite living in a pet free home.  Upon hearing of this film, I was ready to review it bang on! I am to my core a person who feels like dogs are pure joy and to see a film with a dog who perseveres as this film’s Arthur does of course tugs at my heartstrings. Call me a sap, I’ll own it.

As we meet Michael Light at the beginning of the film, he is in an embarrassing predicament. He has decided to take an opposite route on the canoeing portion of his latest endurance race, and his teammates immediately troll him.  This seems lighthearted but we know it’s affected Light tremendously. Years later, Light has the opportunity for one last race. He gathers up a new team and pushes forth to the Dominican Republic and they begin their journey. As the team takes a break at a camp, Light finds and feeds a stray dog.  Dirty and injured, he catches up to the team the next day in the jungle.  He refuses to leave the team’s side and he continues the race with them. Pretty simple right?

Arthur The King pushes on with the basic story points. Man suffers defeat. Man rises and tries again. Man meets dog. Dog stays with man who feeds him.  Completely basic. The thread is all in line. The meat of the story takes place during the race.  The team endures a ton of obstacles and struggles. Arthur does too. He takes the brunt of the punishment.  This may or may not upset those other dog people watching the film.  For me, this is a simplistic story told well, but missing or having too many points to make the film feel complete and cohesive.  Wahlberg does his best, but regardless, the movies he’s in are basically Mark Wahlberg being a variation on himself in one way or another.  Simu Liu and Nathalie Emmanuel turn in some good supporting work as teammates of Michael Light. And then there’s Ukai, the dog actor playing Arthur. He’s shaggy and cute and of course he melted my heart.  Again, call me a sap and I’ll own it.


Stills are for promotional use only and not from the Blu-ray.

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1


Layers: BD-50

Details: Arthur the King comes to Blu-ray with a transfer from an 8K master. How this didn’t go for 4K UHD Blu-ray is beyond me.  The overall look is excellent, and one has to scratch their heads as to why we got denied a 4K disc.

Depth:  Depth of field overall is excellent too.  A few moments of soft focus are not overshadowed by an otherwise sharp and complimentary look through the entire film.

Color Reproduction: The greens of the jungle and the varying colors of water and fire look excellent, even without the push from an HDR grade.  There is a lush color palette that is recreated well on the Blu-ray.

Black Levels: Black levels are spot on for the entirety of the movie.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look natural, with no oddness in sight.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio Dexter-_5

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

Dynamics: Arthur and Michael’s journey is accompanied by a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.  This brings depth and a wide soundstage for the mostly outdoor aesthetic of the film.

Height: Nature sounds envelope you as the team pushes forth on the race.  From above the sounds of wind, leaves rustling, water flowing and sometimes music cues appear.

Low-Frequency Extension: Low end is given mostly to the score cues, with deep bass when needed delivering the goods.

Surround Sound Presentation: The basic surrounds give more depth to the action as they continue the immersion nearer to the listener’s ear. The same natural sounds come up in these channels and music and off screen dialogue can show up here too.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue sounds clear and fully intelligible at all times.

Extras Dexter-_5

Extras for Arthur the King are surprisingly good! There are three different and interesting commentaries and some short featurettes.  The disc comes with a bundled DVD and in it’s first pressing, a slipcover.


  • Fandango at Home Exclusive Featurette – “Adventure Racing: On Set” (Digital Only)
  • Blu-ray™ + DVD Special Features:
    • Audio Commentary with Director Simon Cellan Jones and Author Mikael Lindnord
    • Audio Commentary with Producers Tucker Tooley and Tessa Tooley
    • Audio Commentary with Producer Mark Canton and Executive Producer Dorothy Canton
    • “Finding Arthur” featurette
    • “A Love Letter to Arthur” featurette
    • “A Dog’s Journey: Making Arthur the King” featurette
    • Mark Wahlberg and Best Friends Animal Society
    • Theatrical Trailer


Overall, Arthur the King will work well for some audiences and not so well for others.  The film it solid but in a sense or two mediocre.  The Blu-ray comes with ample short supplements and a nice audio and visual presentation.  Fans of adventurous true stories will love this film, and for us sappy dog lovers, it’s one to watch too.

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