Fight Film Friday: Your Highness

Posted: April 8, 2011 in fight film friday
Tags: ,

Your Highness
USA, 2011
Genre: Action, Adventure, Medieval Fantasy, Comedy
102 minutes
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1240982/

Danny McBride and James Franco star in this adventurer’s parody, off to rescue the prince’s bride and find some good herbs along the way.

From director David Gordon Green, who brought us 2008’s Pineapple Express, comes the latest genre comedy, Your Highness. Lampooning fantasy films of the 80s and 90s, it feels both like a parody as well as a fond tribute. There are numerous tropes and homages to classic adventure and fantasy movies from the past, giving the sense that Green definitely grew up with and appreciates those films. The visuals are incredibly strong, something I was not expecting walking into the theater. The costumes and settings were not exactly historically accurate, with a mix of pieces from all over European history, but I imagine not too many history buffs take much offense from the mix up. Still, that aside, everything looked gorgeous, from the on location greenery to the amazing village sets. Creature effects by Spectral Motion looked incredible, and there was a very solid combination of digital and practical effects. The score is very genre savvy, and adds to the feeling of nostalgia for classic questing films.

Green stated in interviews that there was a great deal of improvisation during filming, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it on screen. The actors play off each other well, and the dialogue flows well between everyone. McBride and Franco play their roles with gusto, although I feel like Natalie Portman’s heroine definitely deserved more screen time. The bigger issue is whether this is your sort of humor at all, in which case you may have already decided whether you’re going to see this or not. It’s an extremely ridiculous and vulgar movie, stuffed from both ends with penis jokes, sex jokes, and plenty of drug references from start to finish. That said, I was surprised that I found it so funny. It’s juvenile, it’s crass, it’s about as over the top as it can possibly be, and yet it all just works. For what it wants to be, it accomplishes everything with pride and style.

Another surprise for me was the quality of the action in this film, which was much better than most spoofs would have bothered with. The fights are well choreographed and performed, although the photography is only just decent. Still, working with some great visual effects and solid editing, it all works out pretty well. Your Highness is a faithful tribute and ribbing of those old fantasy tales, making it more like a Shaun of the Dead than a Disaster Movie. Honestly, chances are that if you liked the trailer, you’ll like the rest of the movie. That said, I was not expecting to enjoy it, but found myself laughing right along with the rest of the theater.

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