Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Knight's Tale

A Knight's Tale

When movies start with Queen's "We Will Rock You" there's a good chance they're not going to be high cinema. When that is accompanied by medeival peasants stomping and clapping to the beat, there's a good bet you're not in for Orson Welles, or even The History Channel.

I'll admit up front that I absolutly hate intentional anachronism.
n 1: something located at a time when it could not have existed or occurred [syn: mistiming, misdating]

Almost always, when people do this kind of thing on purpose, it's played for laughs. Filmmakers usually try to make the things fit, by quaintly changing them to make them more accurate but still pointing at the modern concept.

There are also those cutesy little moments that are put in films where people go talk about something in their time period, and since they aren't the viewer, they don't know that what they're saying is ironic or amusing. That's like a scene I've been told is in Titanic where somebody says Picasso or Van Gogh won't amount to anything. Oh, teehee, we as the audience know that Picasso and Van Gogh are way famous! That means it's funny! This phenomena is exactly why I don't bother every watching Shanghai Knights even though I loved Shanghai Noon.

All that being said, my outlook towards A Knight's Tale was rather absymal. I thought it might be amusing, and my best friend liked it so I thought, why not? So I rented it.

Two things happened in the opening credits that proved that I would at least enjoy the film: the names Alan Tudyk and Paul Bettany. Tudyk could make faces to the camera and I'd be amused, he's great. Bettany actually made me like a romance movie like Wimbeldon, the likes of which I usually get bored with.

And really, Heath Ledger is quite a looker. Not to mention that jousting is neat.

So let's say I went in with low expectations. I was served them back with only a small return on the investment in the end. Tudyk was fantastic, and as usual every time he opened his mouth he said something funny.

Bettany was a little different, as he was the only real "known" player, taking on the role of Geoffrey Chaucer, affectionatly called Geoff. He was the source of most of those "teehee" moments I mentioned. He tells some men who threatened him that he will "eviserate [them] in fiction." And I'm sure if I could remember much of the Chaucer I read in high school, I would have gone, "Oh, that's funny because in Cantebury Tales..."

But I forgave him, as I did most of the things that usually bug me. In the end the only fault that still bothers me is that well, it was kind of boring. That doesn't make sense even as I type it, since it was a movie full of grown men bashing each other with sticks...but still, I was bored.

Maybe it was that the characters were all so one-dimensional that they could have put up cardboard cut outs and animated moving mouths and it would have worked just as well. No, not the acting. The acting was fine, it was the script that I'm talking about. You have William, the stalwart young man determined to change his lot in life. His father, the man who didn't get a chance but is determined his son will have one. Wat, the funny one with the bad temper. Roland, the wiser, happy guy (who can sew!). We can't forget Kate, the girl-blacksmith who is just as good as the boys, even better because she invents better armor.

Along with our merry band is Jocelyn, the beautiful woman who hates that she's so beatiful people don't respect her, so sad. There's also the eeeeeevil Count Adamar, a man so sinister he needed a handlebar mustache. He's there to poke men with big sticks, knock them off their horses, take the woman as his prize, and sneer at anyone who isn't him.

Of course, overall this was really just a sports movie. As a sports movie, it did really well. There were plenty of heartbreaking moments where you wondered if the hero would win or fall off his horse. He even does the last tilt without armor so you can see his pretty face.

I'm making more critcisms than I meant to. In the end, it wasn't a wasted evening. I had fun, watching it with my friends. We wanted to fast forward a few times, but the urge wasn't as strong as say, Dragonfly, which I didn't fast forward through because I was cleaning my living room and couldn't find the remote.

It's not a bad Saturday afternoon rental movie. But I wouldn't put off mowing the lawn to watch it either.

Oh no, I just discovered that Alan Tudyk is in Dodgeball: A True Underdog story. I might have to watch a Ben Stiller movie...whatever am I going to do?