PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
Thadeous (Danny McBride) and Fabious (James Franco) are the sons of King Tallious (Charles Dance). They are both warriors, but Fabious is dashing and skilled whereas Thadeous is lazy and ineffectual with both an inferiority complex and poor track record in quest taking. While celebrating his latest victory over the evil sorcerer who has been ravaging Tallious’s kingdom, Leezar (Justin Theroux), Fabious reveals the virgin Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) he freed from a tower and wishes to marry her. Though he is made the best man, Thadeous skips the wedding after overhearing Fabious’s Elite Knights, led by Boremont (Damian Lewis), talk about him negatively. But the wedding is then crashed by Leezar, revealing himself to be the one who placed Belladona in the tower before spiriting her away. Returning to the castle with his servant Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker), Thadeous is forced into joining Fabious on his quest to rescue Belladonna.
Visiting the perverted Great Wise Wizard, the brothers learn that Leezar is attempting to fulfill a prophecy of a warlock having intercourse with a maiden when the two Moons converge, impregnating her with a dragon that will allow him to take over King Tallious’ kingdom. To destroy Leezar, they are given a magic compass that would led them to the fabled Sword of Unicorn which is located with a labyrinth. On the way there, after finding that Fabious’s slave Julian has been reporting to Leezar of their progress, the brothers learn that Elite Knights are also serving the warlock and escape from them alongside Courtney. While collecting themselves at a river, after his brother sends his mechanical bird Simon to tell the king of the Elite Knights’ betrayal and request reinforcements, Thadeous, Fabious and Courtney are captured by nymphs under their leader, Marteetee (John Fricker), who imprisons them at an arena where Fabious kills off Marateetee’s finest warrior. In retaliation, Marteetee summons his hydra-like familiar to kill them.
However, they are rescued by Isabel (Natalie Portman), a warrior that is seeking revenge for her father’s murder at Marteetee’s hands. Later that night, as Fabious and Courtney leave them for the mood to set in, Thadeous learns that Isabel is also after Leezar for the slaughter of her brothers before accidently revealing their quest and the compass to her. The next day, the party learn too late that Isabel stole the compass from Thadeous and ran off. Finally infuriated of his brother’s selfish behavior as they arrive to a village, Fabious decides to find the Sword of Unicorn alone as Thadeous and Courtney go to a tavern, where they find Isabel and steal the compass back. But finding that his brother has been captured by Leezar’s men, Thadeous wins Isabel over as they join forces, entering the labyrinth where they encounter a minotaur. Getting separated from the others, Thadeous retrieves the Sword of Unicorn and, after a test of worth, slays the minotaur as Isabel used a panflute to soothe the monster as he was about to rape Courtney. A changed man, proudly wearing the minotaur’s severed penis as a trophy necklace when unable to get one of the beast’s horns, Thadeous and his group make their way to Leezar’s castle and free Fabious while giving him the Sword of Unicorn. As the others kill off Julian and Boremont’s men along with Leezar’s mothers, Fabious then uses the Sword of Unicorn to end Leezar’s life before he isable to rape Belladonna, saving the kingdom.
After their victory, the heroes go back home, but Isabel goes on another quest. Fabious and Belladonna marry as Thadeous retreats to his bedroom to masturbate before going to bed. There, he is approached by Isabel, who reveals that she has fallen in love with him. However, for them to have sex, he must first slay the witch that cast a spell on her, locking her in a chastity belt. Though he was not in the mood to go out, Isabel’s suggestion to cuddle convinces him to go on a new adventure.
Your Highness is one of those films that I just didn’t know what to think of when it was initially released. I passed on seeing it in theaters because it didn’t look like something worth wasting $8 to go see. I still hold to that, but this does make for a decent rental.
I won’t beat around the bush. If you’re coming into this film thinking you’re going to get some sort of epic medieval masterpiece, then you will be supremely disappointed. Your Highness comes off as nothing more than a bunch of frat boys playing around with what they know about the era and some _____ (insert recreational drug here).
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but apparently critics seemed very turned off by it. I often wonder if, in order to become critics, they had to get a stick shoved far up their ass, because it seems as if the only film they really love are the kids that audiences don’t really get excited over, and yet something like this, which is not meant to be anything more than entertaining, they treat like it was a pox on civilization.
Sorry for the little rant there, but I get so frustrated when I read the things critics say about films that obviously aren’t meant as anything more than mindless fun, which is all this is.
Now, I mention the frat boy mentality this film has. The humor of this film is mainly centered around lewd and crude humor. For goodness sakes, at one point in the film, a Minotaur’s penis is cut off and Danny McBride wears it around his neck.
What is odd about this film, though, is save for one scene near the middle with naked women, there is nary a bare breast to be seen. The tone this film set leads one to belive you would see more. If anything, they could have put Zooey Deschanel and Natalie Portman is traditional Renaissance corsets, but I guess they wanted to focus more on the men, for some reason.
Speaking of the girls, this was released after Portman’s Oscar-winning role in Black Swan. Some have criticized her for it, but if you’ve watched her career, then you know she’s very versatile and this is much lighter faire than playing a ballerina on the verge of insanity and anorexia. All that said, she does a real good job in this role, but are we really surprised.
I do have to criticize Zooey Deschanel, something I never do, though. She seems rather wasted here, not to mention the fact that her personality doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the whole “damsel in distress” thing. Then again, maybe I’ve been watching her sister too long on Bones and now have them confused. Either way, I think she should have gotten more screentime than just a couple of scenes. Although, the possession, or whatever that was supposed to be, was qite…um…different.
The plot of this film is filled with all types of whole, and yet, they aren’t really detracting from the story, except the thing about the two moons and dragons or something like that. Not really sure where they were trying to go with that, or if I just missed something, or what the deal was, but it left me scratching my head.
Finally, the special effects in this film are two-fold. The first is the creatures. While most of them look like rejects from Narnia, the Wise Wizard looks like he came straight from Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, or some other Jim Henson film.
The next part is the special effects laden final act. Now, if you’ve seen many of the summer blockbusters in the last few years, then you know that they almost all rely solely on effects for the big climactic battle.
I think that was the idea here, but it just didn’t work the way they wanted it to, mainly because of how the characters were developed…or rather not developed. Still, it was a worthy attempt, I’ll give them that.
Your Highness is not a film for everyone. The humor lies in its crudity, so if you can’t handle that, you won’t find this film funny. Having said that, somewhere past the middle it stops being funny and just goes into this weird autopilot mode until the final scene. I enjoyed this film, and while I think nothing really needs to be changed, there are some things that could be altered to make things better. That point aside, I wold highly recommend this to all that aren’t easily offended by frat boy-type humor.
4 out of 5 stars