"A Knight's Tale" - a future cult classic

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a single statement in Cafe Society with which I more strongly disagree.

Anyway, somewhere out there, there’s someone who’s as much a medieval music geek as you’re a medieval armor geek, who’s making exactly your argument in reverse. There’s no particular reason to laud the anachronism of the soundtrack, and criticize the anachronism of the costuming, except that one happens to intrude on your personal area of interest, and the other does not.

I personally found A Knight’s Tale a fairly enjoyable sport comedy and the Chaucer character was great fun, but the whole blind dad thing was too cheesy and the romance plot ticked me off. I was in college when the movie came out and saw it in the campus theater with several of my friends. Afterward, and even the next morning at breakfast in the dining hall, everyone who’d seen it was saying “I could not believe he didn’t wind up with Kate. What the hell was up with that?” FWIW this was at a women’s college, so we were of course all young women. I don’t know if guys would have felt differently about this, but I think the movie would have been more popular with women if Heath Ledger had ditched the noblewoman for the blacksmith.

I’m generally in agreement with you. That said, it’s easy to make the argument that the music is intentionally anachronistic, whereas the armor is just laziness or sloppiness.

No, I’d have to say that’s completely undercut with the ‘Nike’ scene. That’s another director’s statement that this isn’t about accuracy but story and fun.

We’re watching this right now in my freshman English class, because I’m introducing Geoffrey Chaucer. The look on their faces (the ones who haven’t seen it before) when the opening sequence starts (We Will Rock You) is priceless.

Since my word is beyond contestation I dub this movie one of the funniest that I had seen in a while.

And you hit like a girl.


Heath who? Oh, yeah–he was the one I kind of looked at when Rufus Sewell wasn’t onscreen. :smiley:

But yeah, I like the movie. In fact, I was just talking about wanting to see it again today.

I would say this is correct, and no, I don’t think it’s necessarily undercut by having a small Nike marking on a suit of armour. They took armour very seriously back then (do I really need to explain that?) and the styles of armour that corresponded with each Medieval period were as emblematic of their era as styles of music, clothing or automobile design are emblematic of various decades in American history. It would be like having a movie that took place in 1965 have a a character driving a 1995 Ford Taurus. For the whole movie.

Nobody would say, “hey, it’s just a car, it doesn’t really matter.” The cars of the 60s and the cars of the 90s are unbelievably different; so is the armour of 1370 and the armour of 1450 and of 1550. But the kind of armour they wore in A Knight’s Tale was never worn by anyone, anywhere, at any point in history; it’s Hollywood armour. With the exception of the Count of Anjou’s armour which is somewhat historically realistic.

So, are we agreed Roland was going to wind up with Jocelyn’s maid, and Wat is going to die a lonely death, surrounded by cats?

That, or an unfortunate accident with a lance through the ribcage… :smiley:

As for the inaccuracies—look, I’m as big a nitpicker as the next nerd, but there are times where I simply have to make allowances. If the movie was a straight drama, or even a period adventure film, I could grumble. But the fact is, comedy or not, this movie is basically a fantasy movie that just happens to be set on Earth. It’s about the magic and the spirit of the tale—the fact that it was any way more accurate than The Court Jester was just an enjoyable plus.

Now if it was a crappy fantasy movie, or if it got up it’s own ass with The Message, I’d be more inclined to gnaw at it some more. But as it is, it pulled itself off marvelously, and with a lot of heart. 'Works for me. :slight_smile:

Love this movie, love Paul Bettany and his blue eyes during the serious naked scene where William saves him from having his gambling debt taken out on his flesh. Love Wat and Roland and the drop-dead gorgeous Black Prince. Could do without the character of Jocelyn.

And every time we watch it I point out enthusiastically, “That’s Philippa, Katherine Swynford’s sister!” and my husband rolls his eyes at me.

I’ve written more or less the same thing about this movie before on this board. It was a fun little movie. I’ve only watched it a couple of times, but I like it.

I think all of the historical inaccuracies were deliberate. I saw the movie quite a while ago, but I seem to remember a few scenes where period music blended to modern, and a few where archaic formal speech patterns faded into modern casual ones. The movie was trying to make a point about how the people of the time thought and felt about things by relating everything to modern equivalents.

Logos are modern heraldic symbols. Instead of a lion rampant facing a unicorn passant on shield pale crimson and gold (totally made up heraldry, by the way) they have a Nike swoosh on the armor. They knew exactly what they were doing there.

Some of the spectacular stuff that is historically accurate wouldn’t work in a movie like that. Ironically, modern audiences wouldn’t buy it. Argent’s fantastic-looking but historical helms would be way too elaborate for people to believe they were real. When you’re pushing suspension of disbelief in one way, you sometimes find that they’re resistant to accepting small details that may actually be real, but do not quite fit with what they believe to be true.

Romeo + Juliet did a similar treatment, keeping the original language, but making the settings and costumes thoroughly modern in an over-the-top action film kind of way. Let’s face it, Shakespeare would have been closer to Michael Bay crossed with Spielberg than Hitchcock or Welles. He didn’t consider a fight scene to be very good unless the first few rows were covered in pig’s blood by the end of it.

I have only seen the film twice, but I also love it…

as to whether or not Chaucer did MC at jousting tournaments I really don’t care - Its easy to imagine that he could have. Someone great with words and a quick wit would be a natural for that, and its was very believable that an artist would need to make ends meet by doing whatever he could. This was what I liked more so that whether or not Chaucer actually did it (does that make any sense?)

What do you mean “future”? I’ve always loved A Knight’s Tale, & I think the OP seriously underrates its appeal.

Wat could have been Wat Tyler, who went on to lead a peasant rebellion in 1380 and was killed. His lifetime was consistent with the time frame of A Knight’s Tale.

I’ve seen it twice, and it’s good fun. Bettany and Ledger are both great. I hold the movie to no rigorous standard - hell, no standard at all! - of historical accuracy. I just hope no impressionable teens are doing so.

I hold this movie to the same degree of historical accuracy I hold Shakespeare In Love to. That is, none at all. Go with the story and don’t try to nit-pick.

For me, it’s the David Bowie that makes the movie.

I like it a lot, it’s got a lot of heart, and it’s pretty rewatchable. Most of the criticism had to do with the anachronisms, but that was intentional, the point being to show ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’. I didn’t notice the Nike stuff but of course did with We Will Rock You and had heard about and so noticed the “Princess as fashionista” aspect. Besides being enjoyable in it’s own right, it could be a useful tool in acting as a bridge for youngsters who don’t realize the commonalities between modern times and older material they are asked to study.

Not sure if it will gain more cult status than it already has though. If it was going to, it probably would have gained some ground on Ledger’s death but it didn’t. And though it’s highly rewatchable, it doesn’t seem to actually get a lot of replay on tv the way films like Shawshank Redemption do.

There’s definitely something to be said for the highly rewatchable film,among which I count Knights Tale. I wouldn’t use that as my only criteria though. There are a few films which I count among my favorites, such as Se7en and Primer, which I loved and had great impact but I wouldn’t really want to keep rewatching.

I like the movie a lot. It’s not perfect, but it has a lot of good actors, a decent story line, lots of action and cool use of music.

Even so, I can see how “experts” get upset with misrepresentations. If someone spends years of their life writing a doctoral thesis on the plumage adorning helmets in jousting tournaments… well, incorrect plumage probably comes across as a personal affront. For the vast majority of viewers, though, they really don’t care. They have certain preconceptions of what a jousting knight should look like and the movie gives it to them.

For a movie such as **Braveheart **I expect more historical accuracy; for A Knight’s Tale liberal use of artistic license is fine with me.

In A Knight’s Tale they didn’t have plumes; they didn’t have crests; they didn’t have heraldic surcoats or indeed any heraldic identification on their armour or horses whatsoever. To anyone with even a basic knowledge of Medieval tournaments this is a ridiculously glaring omission.

It’s like if they made a movie about NASCAR drivers and had them driving completely blank cars with no advertisements or decorations whatsoever. Or made a movie about NFL football and had all the players wearing blank jerseys! That’s really the best analogy I can think of.

If you don’t know anything about the historical setting of the film, it doesn’t matter. If you do know anything about the historical setting, it seems absolutely ridiculous that they’d leave it out - and it’s not just because I’m being a huge stickler for historical accuracy. It’s because crests and heraldic decorations are cool looking and the movie would have been way more visually interesting if it had included them! They had a great opportunity to show off something that would be historically accurate and extremely colorful eye candy - and they missed it.

Doesn’t make me dislike the whole movie but it is a strike against it.