April 10, 2011
I’m absolutely shocked.
Okay, so in the first scene, the “bad” brother is about to be hanged by the dwarven king. Things look bleak. Sure enough, the platform drops, Thaddeus falls — and hits the ground before the rope goes taut. Because it’s dwarves. It was silly, predictable, and I thought: You know, that’s actually pretty clever.
Next scene, we meet the maiden the “good” brother has rescued from the tower where she’s been imprisoned her whole life. She’s trying to comb her hair with a fork, because she’s never seen one before — because she’s spent her whole life imprisoned in a tower. And I thought: This movie has done two clever things in five minutes. Holy crap.
Then, fifteen minutes in, I thought: This feels like playing a pretty good Dungeons and Dragons campaign with the crassest, rudest people I know. Because you see, I’ve actually played Dungeons and Dragons with people/characters who would cut the genitalia off a minotaur and wear it around their necks as a trophy.
Then, twenty minutes in, a little voice in my head whispered: I think I like this movie.
Essentially, Your Highness is nine gagillion times better than the actual Dungeons and Dragons movie that came out awhile back. I know! Totally shocked!
The thing that made it for me: this wasn’t actually a full-on parody. Everybody played their parts straight — it wouldn’t have worked if they hadn’t. It made the whole thing an actual fantasy quest adventure story — in which everybody swears like a sailor and makes very crass jokes — with some actual honest-to-goodness spooky/scary fantasy quest moments. (The labyrinth, that hand monster, the mothers…) It may even be better plotted than the last three movies I’ve seen.
Mind you, this isn’t to say it’s actually a good movie, if you know what I mean. But I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.
I have to wonder, though: Is this movie going to appeal to anyone who hasn’t a) played way too much D&D, or b) spent their childhoods mainlining movies like Willow and Beastmaster?