William Thatcher, a peasant, is sent to apprentice with a Knight named Hector as a young boy. Urged by his father to "change his Stars", he assumes Sir Hector's place in a tournament when Hector dies in the middle of it. He wins. With the other apprentices, he trains and assumes the title of Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein.
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‘A man can change his stars.’ (A Knight’s Tale, 2001) – Indeed, a man can. As starred by the award-winning actor, Heath Ledger and the multi-talented actress, Shannyn Sossamon, ‘A Knight’s Tale’ shows how a commoner had transformed his destiny through his willpower and courage. The action/adventure, comedy, drama, and romance film directed by Brian Helgeland () and inspired by ‘The Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffrey Chaucer will definitely knock your socks off!
The film was about William Thatcher (Ledger), who like all other peasants, strives hard to earn enough shillings for daily consumption. It is the death of Sir Ector, his master, that contributed to the unfolding of his journey. The demise of his master gave him the opportunity to pretend as the deceased man himself and so continue his lord’s jousting (an old game usually held in tournaments which involves a duel between two male nobles. The nobles ride their own horse while aiming for a hit with their lances to knock down his opponent) to earn sufficient money. After winning the tournament supposed for Sir Ector, William decided to fight again, but this time, he was known as Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein with the help of a playwright, Geoffrey Chaucer. Together with his two cohorts Roland and Wat, they entered a new world – Medieval jousting. In this new world, it is not only money that Thatcher gained but also love, friendship, and skills. (A Knight’s Tale, 2001)
This movie’s weakness is on the way medieval times are depicted. I bet most people would critic about how modernly portrayed the movie is that it disregards the medieval essence of the setting. I, for a change, will praise how it was creatively arranged. I have watched tons of medieval films for the past years and although I was amazed on how they showed people talk and act as if they lived in the old times (without any sprinkle of modernism), I still get the when-will-this-movie-end feeling when I watch them. ‘A Knight’s Tale’ injected a sense of comedy and modernity in its representation which wowed many audiences. ‘Actually lighter, wittier, and more original than it has a right to be.’ (-knights-tale/critic-reviews) - as commented by Michael Atkinson. Another remark by Desson Howe from Washington Post said the movie was ‘Savvy without being smug, cute without being saccharin, and funny without slipping into over-the-top goofiness, this is a 14th-century good time.’ (-srv/entertainment/movies/reviews/knightstalehowe.htm) The organizing of the characters was also excellent. How Geoffrey Chaucer was injected in the film was fantastic. His character gave life to the film.
I have to give minus points on how the story was revised. I think it is better if the story of Kate, William’s blacksmith friend, was emphasized for a little while. Why she badly wanted to go to Paris was pretty vague. The story behind it could’ve been shown just to put a period to some of the viewers’ questions. What’s an additional few seconds to the film’s duration two hours and thirteen minutes ()? Films actually have durations more than that. As for my personal opinion, I think it wouldn’t be boring to add up some scenes because I enjoyed the film.
By the finale of the movie, William was injured badly. Adhemar cheated when he placed a sharp tin metal point on the end of his lance. William can barely joust with his armor wrapped around his body because it disables him to breathe easily so he decided to remove it. It was also strength that he lacked that time. He can’t even carry his lance! They have to strap it on his arms so he can be able to lift it. As the two adversaries finally announced the names of the players, Geoffrey Chaucer, instead of introducing his player as Ulrich Von Liechtenstein introduced him by his real name, William. This in turn blazed in William’s consciousness and so, as he rode his horse, ready to fight, he finally changed his stars.
I think the movie is really for literary appreciation. I haven’t read the book of Geoffrey Chaucer but it would probably be very different from the film. The film was worth watching. The quotes and technicalities, and actors in the film are very fit to the arrangement of the movie. It would be a good movie to watch especially if you’re feeling blue or you have nothing to do.