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YOUR HIGHNESS (2011)

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YOUR HIGHNESS (2011)

Friday, 04 April 2014 01:06

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It seems like we don't get very many straightforward fantasy adventure films in the mainstream any more. I suppose every once in a while there's an attempt at reviving the sword and sandal genre like with the Conan remake, or the occasional gritty re-interpretation of fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, but you'd be hard-pressed to come up with a fantasy movie that's actually an original concept and not adapted from some flavor-of-the-month young adult fiction series. However, as someone who grew up watching Hercules: the Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, I do often enjoy more tongue-in-cheek fantasy when serious material is in short supply. Since Kitty stole my copy of Roger Corman's Deathstalker II (my personal favorite), I figured I'd give Your Highness a try as a substitute.

And you know, this movie got a bum rap, because I found it to actually be unequivocally “not that bad.”

 

Not gonna lie, I kindof want that armor even though it's SUPER non-historical

 

Life of the Party (Positives):

Though the promotional campaign for this movie fixated heavily on the cannabis-related humor and Natalie Portman's ass (even though it's totally a body double), this movie's biggest strengths are as a swashbuckling medieval adventure. It's clear that plenty of the film's $50 million budget went toward making a legitimate fantasy experience, as the mythical creatures, costumes, and visual effects are all very exciting, inventive, and detailed. Although Danny McBride and James Franco aren't necessarily known as action heroes, they did alright in Pineapple Express and are convincing enough swordsmen in this movie. Of particular note are the most destructive carriage-chase sequence since Van Helsing, and the arena scene mid-way through (there's ALWAYS an arena scene) where the heroes have to battle a five-headed hydra controlled by a malevolent shaman – the villain invokes the monster by plunging his hand into a cauldron, and each serpentine head mirrors the movements of one of his fingers, which is pretty neat. Little creative touches like those make it clear that the movie had the intent of being properly epic, and wasn't just the cynical “Cheech and Chong Go to the Renaissance Faire” movie that the title might suggest.

 

 The story focuses on the relationship of two brothers, the naïve but gallant Fabious (Franco) and the lazy, ineffectual Thadeus (McBride), who is envious of Fabious' status as heir to the throne. Your Highness is basically a fantasy version of the classic show Blackadder, with much of the humor coming from the characters sniping at each other in a mildly anachronistic fashion, acting in completely un-heroic ways, and seeming remarkably blasé about the magical goings-on of their kingdom. Unlike Blackadder, however, the characters do develop and grow over the course of the plot, leading to a satisfying if somewhat cliché ending, but clichés are what this kind of fantasy is all about.

 

 

 

Potential Hangovers (Negatives):

There's no getting around it, about half the jokes are just gross-out gags and broad sexual humor, which seldom impress. Without spoiling too much of the plot, the main conflict has an important sexual element, which is exploited for lots of needlessly lewd remarks, and though some people might find the “molested by a muppet” scene to be funny (there's ALWAYS a “molested by a muppet” scene), it mostly fell flat for me. You'll get good laughs from the script when it's being dry and “meta,” but about 50% of the jokes are just immature vulgarity – many parts of this script could have been plagiarized directly from the walls of a middle school boys' bathroom and you'd never be able to tell.

Not actually a line from the movie, but it might as well have been 

 

The Atmosphere (Guy's Night, Casual Gathering, Lazy Afternoon):

Though it had aspirations of being epic and exciting and often succeeds, this is definitely still a “just hangin' out” kind of movie. It's unclear how much of the script was improvised, but the dialogue flows so naturally that I seriously expected the movie to end with a shot of the actors sitting around a modern kitchen table surrounded by dice, character sheets, and Doritos, since the movie has the attitude of a casual Dungeons & Dragons session come to life. At its best, it's an especially crude The Princess Bride, at its worst, it's a really lackluster early episode of South Park. Even with a script that's a bit uneven, though, it's not nearly as bad as people say, and is worth a try if you enjoy your dragon-slaying with a side of anachronisms and dick jokes.

 

+ Really nice-looking effects and other visuals

+ Good dry humor that blends modern attitudes with entertainingly-affected "medieval speak"

- Some of the more vulgar humor just falls flat

Read 808 times Last modified on Friday, 04 April 2014 13:38

About Us

Tanked Matinee is the place to go for good drinking movies. What do we mean by that? Simply speaking, we evaluate and recommend entertainment media based on how much fun it is to watch with friends on the sofa and a cold beer in hand.

Everyone knows "The Godfather" is a great movie, but is it as great to drink with as "Roadhouse?" We can appreciate "Citizen Kane" as a masterpiece of cinema, but is it as good a centerpiece for your party as "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians?"

Tanked Matinee appreciates film as art, but when you're kicking back on Friday night with a tall Rum & Coke, you're not looking for art, man, you want to be entertained. We're here to recommend the best movies for your night in, whether it's a big party, small get-together, or just a quiet night alone with a bottle of wine or three.

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