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Movie Reviews

A Knight's Tale  

Get ready for the first genuine surprise of the summer. When I saw the preview for this film, it looked like it was going to be a dud. I mean Knights who looked like pretty boys jousting each other while AC-DC music blares? It looked as if critics and film fans would line up to rip the film apart. So when the opening of the film shows a mid-evil jousting stadium filled with people clapping along to Queen and then doing "the wave" I thought I was ready to rip it to shreds. And then the first joust scene happens. Then a few jokes are made. Before you know it you are in the middle of one of the biggest surprise hits of the year.
Knights Tale, A
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The film follows a young page called William. When the knight he has served for year's dies in the middle of a jousting match only one point away from victory, William decides to take his place so that he and the other squires may eat. William wins the match and the money for the tournament. He convinces the other two pages to give him their share of the money so that he can buy equipment and train for the next tournament. The two agree and they are off to the next town to enter the tournament. Along the way they run into a writer by the name of Chaucer (yes that Chaucer). He helps William by forging some papers that show his "noble" lineage. William becomes Sir Ulrich Von Liechtenstein. But that's just the start. Will.. uh, Ulrich has to keep the rouse going and that's half the fun. He also has to defeat Count Adhemar, played perfectly by Rufus Sewell, and get the girl Jocelyn.

The film works because it never takes itself seriously. While it is full of great jousting and swordfight scenes, in between them are a better than average storyline, a ton of jokes, and it also pokes fun at today's sports culture. The fans with painted faces, the ticker tape parades, people doing the wave, soccer chants, catching a foul ball (or knights helmet) and corporate sponsorship are all lampooned. Also, a lot has been made about the modern music used in the film. When the first song played I thought it was going to make the film awful. The second song, during Williams training session, didn't bug me so much and by the time that the guys were riding in to London to Thin Lizzys "The Boys Are Back In Town" I couldn't wait for what song would come next. I don't know how or why but the music works!

Heath Ledger, who was last seen in The Patriot, is on the fast track to superstardom after this performance. He gives a light but touching performance as William. Mark Addy, who played Dave in the Full Monty, and Alan Tudyk play the other squires who help William with his quest. Laura Fraser is a blacksmith who comes up with a new lightweight armor for William. The real gem in this movie however is Paul Bettany who plays Chaucer. The film wouldn't have been half as entertaining if he wasn't in it. He is responsible for announcing William before each joust and his description gets more ridiculous and hysterical with each joust!

This film is very much like a stealth bomber. It comes from out of nowhere and when it's through with you, you're blown away! The fight scenes are intense, the jokes are funny and the film is well paced. Combine that with a great story and a kick ass soundtrack and you have the perfect lighthearted summer film that shouldn't be missed. On a one to ten, it is a very entertaining 8.5

Paul Ferris

Wheeldeal Review

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