Monday , February 26 2024
Is it a medieval epic journey or is it a comedy?

Blu-ray Review: Your Highness

Written by Pirata Hermosa

Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) has always lived in the shadow of his older brother, Fabious (James Franco). Knowing that he will never be king, Thadeous has become a rogue, a drunkard, and an all-around obnoxious person. He spends his days carousing with his squire, Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker). The two end up getting into all sorts of trouble and end up embarrassing the royal family with their antics.

But when Fabious’ bride Belladonna (Zoey Deschanel) is captured by the evil wizard, Leezar (Justin Theroux) during the wedding ceremony, Thadeous is given a choice. He can either be banished from the kingdom or he can go on his first quest and prove himself worthy of the family name. Not wanting to lose his lavish lifestyle, he chooses the latter.

The three men find themselves on a quest through the kingdom to find the legendary Unicorn sword, the only weapon that can harm the wizard. In order to find the weapon they will have to escape the betrayal of their own guards, defeat a tribe of barbarians, fight a Hydra, and conquer a maze inhabited by an overly amorous Minotaur.

Your Highness had a great deal of potential. The medieval setting, castles, backgrounds, clothing, weapons, fantasy creatures, stunts, and special effects are on par with any big blockbuster film. The basic quest storyline is solid for this genre, and the cast consists of James Franco and Natalie Portman.

The problem is that the writers, Danny McBride and Ben Nest, can’t articulate what kind of film they want it to be. Is it a medieval epic journey or is it a comedy? With such a split personality, the movie attains neither one. In order for it to be a comedy it needs more than just dirty words and lots of sexual comments to make it funny. It needs to be more over the top. For a serious film it needs to stick to a more standard format and not throw in words and comments that not only jar you out of the experience but also weren’t even used during that time in history.

The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen with a 2.40:1 ratio. The video is crystal clear and one of the better quality videos that you can find. With the great special effects and scenery (not to mention Natalie Portman in a thong), the film is a visual delight. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is also done very well. During some of the louder action scenes, the music does not distort or drown out the sounds of battle as some others do and during the scene in the arena you can distinctly hear the different members of the crowd surrounding you to give you that full immersion.

The disc contains a Director’s Commentary and several special features. The “Alternate Scenes”, “Extended Scenes”, “Line-O-Rama,” and “Perverted Vision” are all pretty much the same. It’s just watching a scene while hearing them throw out every possible one-liner that they could. It’s almost as if the cast got to adlib their lines over and over again until they exhausted all options and then the funniest one was put into the film. Unfortunately, the funniest lines still weren’t that funny.

The “Gag Reel” is the typical line flubbing. Does anyone find gag reels funny anymore? “Deleted Scenes” were good choices to have removed from the film because every one of them not only would have had a drastic impact on the film, but appear to have been written by someone stoned out of their mind. Watching Leezar lay an egg that hatches into a dragon, which then destroys him, was not written without the help of some kind of intoxicant. Then again “A Vision of Leezar” seems like the perfect feature for people who are stoned to watch. It’s a several-minute short with Leezar’s head floating around as the director tells him to laugh and pretend that he is having sex.

The only really interesting feature is “Damn You Gods! The Making of Your Highness”. This takes you behind the scenes with the cast and crew discussing the concept of the film, what their vision was and how it’s been in the making for the last ten years.

While the film won’t be winning any Oscars anytime soon, it’s also not the worst movie that’s ever been made. There are so many things that it does right it almost evens out what it does wrong. The writers admit that they were trying to create a film that resembled those fantasy epics from the ‘80s like The Sword and the Sorcerer and Hawk the Slayer. And if it wasn’t for all of the overly vulgar references, they would have outshone them.

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Formerly known as The Masked Movie Snobs, the gang has unmasked, reformed as Cinema Sentries, and added to their ranks as they continue to deliver quality movie and entertainment coverage on the Internet.

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