If you want to attract an honorable lady, be an honorable man.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Knights Tale: Review

 Second Review. I saw this one on the bus to Mannasass, booking through Texas, and let me tell you right now, I wasn't impressed with this movie. It is a glorified romance movie, and not much else. Here's the main theme. 
A young squire named William is following his master Knight from tournament to tournament, helping him like all squires did. After one particular bout at jousting, his master is wounded, and dies outside of the arena, leaning up against the tree. The squire gets an idea. He, with the help of the other squires that aren't as keen on the idea as he is, decks out in his masters armor and finishes the tournament for him, and wins, as the case would have it. This fuels him, a common man, to play the part of a knight and go from tournament to tournament winning fame, prestige, honor and money. He trains in the backwoods with now his two squires and rural equipment, and heads off to start his life as a counterfeit knight. Only one thing stands in his way, and that is that to register in the tournaments, you have to have a proven list of ancestry that proves you are of noble blood. It would appear that fortune favors him, because he meets a man on the road (Who happens to have lost ALL of his clothes in a gambling game gone bad) who happens to be able to write up these documents of proof. A deal is quickly struck - clothes and food, for documents. They then continue to tournaments, him winning fame and prestige along the way as "Sir Ulriech of Lictineinstein" (sp?) He meets up with a lady at one of the tournaments, and is immediately twitterpated. This Lady (of course, this is Hollywood) likes the young bold knight and makes him her knight by giving him a favor. (Small token that the knight wears in battle to prove he is fighting for his lady, for those of you who don't know medieval jargon.) He of course gladly accepts. 
He continues in this life of farce, winning more fame and prestige, and the heart of his lady, until a slight altercation breaks them up. With the help of his friends, he writes a letter to her absolutely dripping with flattery and rather sappy as well, saying that he is heartbroken, which wins her back instantly - or so it seems. She wants to prove his loyalty and asks him to prove that he loves her by losing the next tournament in front of everybody. Here comes a main turning point in this movie. Before this point, Williams main goal has been to win, and win the spot of grand champion by winning at jousting. That has been his sole goal in life. So now, the girl he loves, asks him to love her more than he loves winning. At first he refuses, but on the day of the joust, he sits there and gets clobbered for his girl. She, then seeing that he does love her, tells him now that if he does love her, to win in front of everybody. This produces a funny and rather frustrated reaction, but he wins and both he and she are happy. 
The one thing that still eats at him, is that there is one knight (who is the bad-guy) who he has not yet beaten, but he has had only one chance against him so far. He is dying for another chance to try him and beat him. Finally he has a chance to compete against him, but the tournament is in London, his birthplace. He stops in by his old blind dad for a visit, and unbeknownst to him, he is followed by his opponent. He puts two and two together, discovers Williams real identity, and plans to hatch his news at the tournament to bust William once and for all for stealing the girl that he wanted. William hears that he is caught, and despite all his friends counsel to the contrary, shows up at the tournament to take whatever may come. He is arrested and thrown into the stocks, where he is subjected to abuse and humility. At this point, several key events earlier on in the movie play in. At one particular joust, earlier on in the movie, he had tried against a Anonymous knight, who refused to reveal his identity. The anonymous knight eventually backs out of the tournament, since "He knows he is beat, but he wishes to retire with his honor still intact." William lets him, and thanks him for a good fight. 
Another key scene after that plays into effect. He is at another tournament, and the bad-knight he has been dying to fight is up in the lists before he is. All of a sudden, the bad-knight backs out, striking his colors and retires from the field. This would leave William as the next contestant against the opponent. Confused, William lines up for the lists, just as his friend (the man he met on the road) runs up breathless and tells William that the reason the other knight backed out, is because his opponent is King Richard himself - the Anonymous knight. The friend runs up to strike the colors so William can back out as well (I guess a sign of honor to the king) but William spurs his horse ahead and meets the king head on in the lists. They both tie, and after a brief parlay, call it a draw and both retire from the field.
Flip to the present scene where William is in the stocks. Up comes the king upon this sad sight, and commands that he be released. He then, as he says "to repay the kindness you once showed me" knights William as Sir William Thatcher, because, as he says to the crowd "his scholars have searched into his lineage, and although it appears he is of humble origin, he really is descended from noble blood." I have no idea if this was true or another made up lie on the spot -  the movie does not make that clear. But, this removes his disability to compete, and he is now able to compete against his foe. You get the feel from this movie that the bad-knight, although he beat him once, is scared that he can't again, hence why he got William removed from the fight. Upon learning that he is back, he rigs up a dastardly stratagem. He has the head of his lance covered with a phony head, covering up the fact that he tipped his lance, in an effort to kill William once and for all. In the lists, William is wounded in the shoulder by the knight's plan, and due to the spot of the wound, his armor makes it hard to breath, as well as he can't hold the lance. So he removes his armor, and ties the lance to his hand, in one last win-or-die effort, with those exact stakes. He actually wins in this weakened state, gets the girl, and lives happily ever after. 
The Good:
Not much, actually. The one thing I found noteworthy is that he finally was willing to give up his desires for the sake of his girl. A very applaud-able attribute. The other thing is that when he was caught in his lie, he was willing to face what came, and not run away like his friends and girl pleaded him to do.
The Bad:
Just about everything else. He lies to get where he wants to be, he lies to keep himself there, and his pride is astronomical, in fact, that was his whole reason for not running. "All I have left is my pride, and they can't take that away." So he attributes his pride to why he did the right thing. So, right thing, wrong reason.
There is also a large amount of pre-marital kissing; bucket-loads of it. Also some NOT appropriate humor.
The funny:
This is what makes this movie odd. Despite some truly funny training scenes, the thing that makes this movie odd, is that they combine modern music with old times. Not just in the score, but in the movie itself. At the opening scene in the movie, all the spectators are stomping their feet to the famous "We Will Rock You" song of modern times, all the soldiers pounding the butt of their spears on the boards with the rhythm. Then all the peasants display the famous "wave" in the grandstands at the end of the song. 
Finally then, during a banquet scene after a victory in the lists, William and his girl are in a period correct dance, that suddenly erupts into a modern rock song, with everybody snapping into break-dancing instead of period dances. A VERY odd flavor indeed. 
In fact, almost the entire score of the movie is modern songs, giving it an old movie look with a modern movie feel.
Overall rating: 1.5 stars. The 1 is for humor, the .5 is because he did the right thing, despite the wrong reason. NOT a recommended film.                      

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating. Sounds like the music- or lack thereof- would drive me nuts. :-D


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