I was just watching A Knight’s Tale with the late Heath Ledger and I feel fairly certain that in time, maybe 10 years, this movie is going to be a cult film with a lot of fans. I remember when it first came out, it was widely mocked, and even now it’s not taken very seriously. It’s considered one of Ledger’s stupider movies, especially in light of the really amazing performances he put in prior to his death. But I think the cheerful anachronism of A Knight’s Tale and the sheer honesty of the movie - with no ironic or self-conscious connotations whatsoever, a completely unashamed and unpretentious effort - puts it above the average feel-good comedy. I mean, American honky-tonk music playing in the background of a tavern in 14th-century France? The opening sequence with We Will Rock You, at the end of which you actually see the heralds with trumpets “playing” the last bar of the song (even though you can’t hear them)? The only meta-reference that is kind of annoying is the Nike marks on the armour, but I’m willing to let that slide.
There are some irritating historical inaccuracies in the aesthetic of the film. I know a lot of peoples’ reaction would be, “come on!” but, I believe that even with the anachronism of the music and everything, they should have still made an effort to keep the time period of the film accurate and keep the costumes and armour consistent with that. It’s possible to have something be completely farcical and still have the setting of it be consistent with reality. And in reality, you would not have seen knights jousting in full plate armour in 1370, when the movie is supposed to take place; they probably would have worn a combination of chain mail and plate with a heraldic surcoat over it. And contrary to what movies would have you believe, plate armour was very closely fitted to the body and did not have such a clunky and bulky look to it. You also see helmet types that did not appear until 130 years later, and at one point “Ulrich von Lichtenstein” competes in a sword duel wearing a barred-visor burgonet, a kind of helmet that was used in the mid-1600s during the time of Oliver Cromwell, not remotely consistent with the late Middle Ages. Actually, the helmets in A Knight’s Tale have no basis in history at all - they have giant vision slits that in reality would have been suicidal to joust with. And where are the plumes and helmet crests? And…they win gold trophies in the tournament, and then sell them for silver florins? But I’m willing to overlook that; the movie is still fun as hell.
Does anyone else like it? Or is liking this movie one of those things that none of the kool kids are supposed to cop to?