The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

A Knight's Tale

Despite being a rousing, exhilarating, amusing and vivacious flick, the main problem with the new "I'm gonna slam a long stick into your chest" flick, A Knight's Tale, is that it just ain't right.

I've scoured the web, read the books, searched high and low, but have been completely unable to find one report of a large crowd in the Middle Ages bursting into a chorus of Queen's "We Will Rock You."

Now if I missed something, that would be astounding. Imagine the reaction when the world learns that Freddie Mercury's hypnotic song was, in fact, a remake of a classic lute and recorder ditty from the 14th Century! Perhaps all modern rock and roll is nothing more than an attempt to recapture the melodies and mysteries of our ancestors!!! Maybe In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida actually means something!

But I doubt it.

It's not that the music is out of place. The song would work well as a memorable theme to the bloodless ultra-violent stick-ramming scenes. The beat is catchy and really brings up a mood unlike anything this side of Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll, Pt. 2.

I just have a problem when noble lords from the 14th Century are singing along.

It just ain't right.

What we have here is a concept flick. Mr. Big Shot Director says "I know! Let's depict the culture of jousting and compare it to the sporting events of our time! The crowds will chant the same, cheer the same, and sing the same music!!! I'm brilliant!!!"

No, you're not.

The truth of the matter is that the movie just barely manages to overcome its own concept. It just does manage to walk the fine line between watchability and absurdity, but only just barely. Every time you start to get drawn into the movie, you pause and think "Wait a minute, they're singing along to David Bowie!!"

And that just ain't right.

And we haven't even begun to discuss the very un-14th Century-like costumes, hair-styles and what have you. It's as if Mr. Big Shot Director wanted to throw as much as possible between you and your enjoyment of the film. Suspension of disbelief? Forget it. For this movie, you need a suspension of reality that borders on the heroic.

And yet...

The movie rocks. When grown men thrust wooden rods at each other at high speeds, you can't help but think the XFL was for sissies.

This movie excels at jousting and little else. Luckily, a whole heck of a lot of the movie is filled with jousting. They joust in France, they joust another area of France, they joust in yet another area of France, they joust in England, they do more jousting in France. There's a lot of jousting going on. Each bout is able to feel new, each joust ups the ante from the previous joust, and the final joust is nothing short of climactic.

What's jousting? Jousting is when two guys strapped in armor charge their horses at each other while trying to knock the holy bejeesus out of each other with long wooden poles. Or one guy on a flying bird trying to turn enemy birds into eggs. Depends on what generation you belong to.

So what's the movie about besides Jousting? Dunno. Basically, a young heartthrob pretends to be a Knight in order to joust. He becomes quite good at it. Until, surprise surprise, he has to face his past and make some difficult choices. There's a princess to woo, a mean knight in black to boo and a naked Geoffrey Chaucer to remind you that this isn't based on a true story.

It's also quite long, over two hours, but you barely notice it, which actually surprised the heck out of me, since I had emptied a large soda just before the opening credits. Usually I wouldn't be able to concentrate on the movie in such a situation.

But still, from the rock and roll to the Nike emblems on the armor, there's something about this film that just ain't right.

I'm giving A Knight's Tale 3 1/2 Babylons. It really wanted to be a lot better, over 4 Babs, but when a movie takes you out of its own reality so often, it pays the price.

Editor's Note:

Was the SMC trying to be mature and legitimate in that last sentence? Forget trying to figure out who I am- sounds like there might be multiple SMC's, or at least one SMC with multiple personalities.

Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Mr. Big Shot Director (Brian Helgeland)
Starring: Mr. Yummilicious (Heath Ledger), Mr. Warm and Happy Sidekick (Mark Addy), Mr. Boy I'm Evil (Rufus Sewell), Mr. Naked Writer (Paul Bettany), Miss Hot Babe (Shannyn Sossamon), Mr. Pointlessly Silly Sidekick (Alan Tudyk), a bunch of horses and some long and pointy sticks.

Join the Self-Made Critic Mailing List Back to The Shuttlecocks Homepage