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A Knight's Tale

Starring: Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Mark Addy and Alan Tudyk
Directed ( and surprising written) by
Brian Helgeland

 

My lords and ladies, dames and squires, I sayeth this is by far the greatest of far fetched farces to hitteth our fair screens in more than a full moon's time. For whometh is this filmeth?

Right from the very first thirty frames you know you'd better have a keen sense of where the red exit signs are...You'll be wanting, nay, yearning for their swift release shortly.

Poor Heath Ledger. Such a handsome young lad in a wholesome-then-rough-then-wholesome way. He's just picked such a stupid movie. It could have been fantastic. We've all been seasoned in period pieces with hunky Australian stars recently, and are minds are open to the next delight. Even Heath himself was one of the men from down under softening our cold hearts in The Patriot.

The story is sweet. It's really the sets, costuming, and physical ambience of the cast. I have seen far better attempts at recreating mediaeval hovels and towns by tribes of rowdy- traveling-patchouli- wearing-hippy-like- one -step-from-Barnum-showman who joust each other for a Carney's wage at the Renaissance Festivals. The costumes these traveling actors throw together, for probably under 13.00 are better researched, as well as realistic, then their Hollywood cousins. The best repetitive example of time-piece no-nos is the fashion choices for our knight's beloved, Jocelyn (an exotic gal Shannyn Sossamon- hardly a chick you'd find in merry ol' England back then). She continually looks as if some one has stolen a wardrobe from the production next door. The worst get up this gal sports is reproduction look-a-like from the Björk World Tour 1991. The best? The Audrey Hepburn circa Breakfast at Tiffany's ensemble she wears to the mud and blood jousting event of her would be lord.

And even worse then the set and clothing faux pas? The brilliant straight TEETH the whole cast of A Knight's Tale's has! If we know nothing else about England we all know their teeth are and have always been a bit icky. Geese back then if there was a solitary tooth peeking out from the ruddy ruby lips you were of great blue blood. Just give us one black tooth; a hint of gingivitis, something.

AKT's Story goes...Young William Thatcher (Heath "switching agents as we speak" Ledger) is a servant. His boss kicks the bucket conveniently in the middle of a jousting tournament. He gets a thought. He'll take his lord's place and win the round. He does. Then he thinks, " Hey, that was a bit of fun, wasn't it. I think I'll go again."

He and two of his close friends (Mark Addy and Alan Tudyk), also unemployed by the lord's demise, assist the young buck in training for the next soiree of swords, and loud lances (scenes too long and dragged out to keep their comic appeal). They find a wonderful character enroute to their next game Geoff Chaucer (Paul - stole every scene he graced and almost made them bearable - Bettany), a scribe. A writer . He helps William with his pedigree papers.

You see you have to be nobleman to have your torso slammed with a big stick by a armored man trotting at you at 40 mph, er, joust. Not just anyone gets that privilege! No peasants, street people or regular Joe's. No siree Bob. It's for the upper crust.

William, now cleverly disguised with a snooty upper crusty name, Sir Ulrich von Lichtenchittychittybangstein, starts to really kick mediaeval butt. And naturally Ulrich/Will falls armor over heels for a prissy lady in waiting, Jocelyn (Shannyn- think Winona Ryder-Sossamon).

This Jocelyn is a grade "A" bitch in any century. This is the starlet that's taking the academy award for the most noticeably wrong costuming- ever in a motion picture. Did anyone involved in this film ever even see Camelot? I mean shouldn't you try and match the movies era a wee bit for the sake of avoiding audience laughter? She had hairpieces strung with florescent highlights; her breasts were hanging out of her see-through gothic/punk/Björky get-ups more then once upon a time. As if she wouldn't have been burned at the steak as a witch long ago.

So, Ms Jocelyn starts ordering her new love William/Ulrich to prove himself to her, after a one awkward date. Hag girl wants him to prove his love by losing the tournament!!! Yeah, that's sweet huh? Natch, he obeys.... even in 1458 they had the term "pussywhipped" they just called it "ode-ing to the warm undergarments" or something.

Oh- but there's more suspense. Ulrich/Will has a nemesis named Count Arbruzzisausageadhemar (Rufus -who is this magnet of my affection?- Sewell) or something. He wants the tournament, and he wants the girl. Yawn. Though he's rather sexy in an extremely token bad guy way. If they had one more redundant shot of The Count's eyes full screen, CUT TO: Heath's ( Will/Ulrich's) eyes full screen I was physically walking out. Professionalism aside. It was so campy you could almost hear the high plains drifter music from Hang 'Em High.

No there's nothing here folks. Well, except this young cutey Paul Bettany. He's the only one really worth watching. He appears to be a real actor. I mean he managed to rise above even this crap le filtheth and deliver his parts with style and depth. Not an easy feat. Keep an eye out for this bloke of extreme talent!

The soundtrack is not what you'd first think: balalaikas and harpsichords. The film makers have got the badly clad extras chanting Queen's "We Will Rock You" at the jousting match, and teen-heart throb Heath and Shannyn dance to David Bowie's "Fame" at the great noble hall. Is Bowie that old??? Was he around back then too? Glamour rock was in a while ago...Hmm I'm going to check out the back of my cd for copyright info...

SKIP this. If you've got a young member of the family who's smitten with Ledger first try and convince them to re-rent The Patriot. Then, if you must go, remember you're the one who chose to breed and take your medicine in the form of a really pathetic film that doesn't know if it's a romantic tale about a manly would-be- knight or a thrown together vehicle for one of the cutest actors to burst on the scene since we first laid eyes on Mr. Brad Pitt.

Blunt aside: I still think Heath is a reincarnation of Andy Gibb. When did Andy die? I must check this theory out.

Snack recommendation: A bucket of those huge tacky turkey legs you find at the huge tacky Renaissance Fair- or a seedy meat market.

 

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