Tale, A (SE)/D, B+
Chaucer would have died, or better yet, written an ode in offal
dedicated to the last man awake for the predictable conclusion of the joyfully specious
anachronistic joust through the middle ages. Watching A Knight's Tale, I felt vaguely like a
refugee from a summer of endless Renaissance festivals played with all the verisimilitude of
porcelain Marx Brothers figures. Can you even imagine a view of the middle ages from the
perspective of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood? If a new age style middle ages meets your needs,
perhaps A Knight's Tale will be a gas. For me, it's paging Monty Python: Do we ever need you
|Playing Knight for Chaucer.
Writer/director/producer Brian Helgeland's romp depicts the sudden rise from
vassal to knight of young William Thatcher. Set in 14th century France and England at a succession
of joust tournament sites, A Knight's Tour depicts the equivalent of a season of tennis
tournaments culminating in a grand battle of the champions. Squire Will seizes the moment
when his master fails to answer the call to contest in a silent death between bouts. Disguised as
his master, the young imposter succeeds in this dubious debut performance. After as short confer
with the other two servants of his former master, it is decided Will will go on as a knight
contestant. Wandering writer Geoffrey Chaucer enters the picture at this point and provides additional
humor and a necessary boost of sophistication so that A Knight's Tale may ride fully armed
into the joust. There's a fair maid to conquer, a dark knight to overcome and lots of broken lances
along the way.
The production is very colorful and Helgeland makes sure to throw in some less
than welcome anachronistic charm here and there. I am no expert on 14th century dress, but some of
the clothing looked positively Issey Miyake.
There's plenty of jousting repetition. The shot selection a crucial moments is
almost always the same alternating close-ups and the exciting push-off by Thatcher's team. A
Knight's Tale moves to its own beat, freely mixing contemporary and medieval elements and
sensibilities. You could say its a daring conceit but it appears that Helgeland took a few too many
lances to the head when concocting the script.
Heath Ledger is called upon to transform William to a knight worthy of a ladies
lust. I am not sure anyone could step into this script and do an adequate job. Ledger, at least,
fits very well into the contemporary/medieval time crack. Rufus Sewell stares him down in a one
note performance as arch Count Adhemar. Paul Bettany bares all delivering Chaucer's choice bombast
and Shannyn Sossamon plays the lady Jocelyn with a totally modern feel.
A Knight's Tale is a very good looking DVD. Busy set designs sets are
replicated with well-saturated colors. Individual colors stand out with delineated clarity. Complex
fabric treatments retain a feeling of texture. Image is mostly sharp and unenhanced. Shadow detail
and black levels are excellent. The picture packs plenty of punch into the contests. The Dolby
Digital 5:1 surround is active and exciting.
Delivered as a packed special edition, A Knight's Tale features commentary from
Helgeland and actor Paul Bettany, deleted scenes, an HBO Making of Special, Behind the scenes
featurettes, a music video and theatrical trailers.
The wonderful comedy of Danny Kaye comes from a sweet source, making it live for audiences of
all ages. Patter songs and graceful dances are part of Kaye's world. Click on the image for Any Day
Quite simply one of the funniest comedies ever made and the transfer is gorgeous.
Movie Poster Archive includes extensive poster images from the films of stars like Susan Hayward,
Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and many more. Our featured star is Errol Flynn.
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