Sony // 2001 // 132 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // October 15th, 2002
He will rock you.
William Thatcher (Heath Ledger) is a squire for a jousting champion, Sir Ecter, who just happens to croak in between matches for a tournament. With his friend's help, William quickly slips on the amour and fights in the tournament as the noble Sir Ector. Deciding that "hey, I can do this!," William and his buddies make a decision to enroll in different tournaments so they can win money for what they consider to be the really important things in life (i.e., food and clothing). Now known as Sir Ulrich of Gelderland, William is able to snag the proper documents to prove he is of true nobility by picking up a naked writer named -- ever hear of him? -- Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany, A Beautiful Mind) who helps forge the papers. As Sir William makes the rounds at the local tournaments he encounters two people who will play an intricate part in his jousting matches -- the nasty Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell, Dark City), who becomes William's personal nemesis, and the lovely Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon, 40 Days And 40 Nights), a princess (or something like that) who is obviously way out of William's league. Let the games begin!
I'll make this short and sweet since you can already read the full length review of A Knight's Tale at DVD Verdict (penned by our very own Erick Harper). The film is a rousing action piece that's well worth your two hours. Mixing 13th century action with 20th century rock and roll (there's nothing more strange or gratifying than watching two men jousting in merry old England to a Queen song), A Knight's Tale makes for a wonderful Friday night rental. Maybe what makes this film so good is that there's something for everyone: romance for the ladies, action for the men, and its PG-13 rating provides ample entertainment for the kiddies. Director Brian Helgeland (who also penned the critically acclaimed L.A. Confidential and the better-than-you-think Mel Gibson flick Payback) has a sure hand for action, and since he wrote the screenplay and produced the film, you can bet he knows just what he wants the whole thing to look like. Lucky for the viewer it looks like a pretty good time -- Heath Ledger (10 Things I Hate About You) as the lead does a fine job and Rufus Sewell is amply grumpy and cross as the film's resident baddie. Even a few of the supporting actors (Mark Addy, The Full Monty and Alan Tudyk, 28 Days) stand out in each of their respective roles. I was a little surprised to find myself liking this movie much more than anticipated -- filled with bone-crunching action, fine performances, and a really great music track (both the songs and Carter Burwell's score), A Knight's Tale should make any moviegoer feel like a king...if only for two hours.
A Knight's Tale: Superbit Edition is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. As most of you are well aware by now, the Columbia Superbit editions were made for providing viewers with the best possible picture and audio available on DVD. Living up to its name, A Knight's Tale: Superbit Edition looks super with a vast array of bold black levels and strikingly bright color patterns. After looking long and hard (well, maybe five minutes -- after that I paid attention to the story), I couldn't find any dirt, grain, or other major defects that would otherwise mar the image. Columbia has done a great job on this transfer and should be commended. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround as well as DTS 5.1 Surround, both in English. Much like the video portions of this disc, both of these soundtracks should provide viewers with an ample amount of directional effects and well utilized surround sounds. The track features crystal clear sound without any hiss or distortion getting in the way of all those fun rock songs. To be honest, I couldn't tell much difference between the DTS and Dolby 5.1 mix -- as the package might read, "they will rock you." Also included on this disc are English, French, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, and Korean subtitles. On par with most all other Superbit releases, A Knight's Tale: Superbit Edition doesn't include a single solitary extra feature (that is unless you actually want to count "scene selections" as supplements). If you're looking for a commentary track, deleted scenes, featurettes, et cetera, pick up the original release on DVD. If you're looking for a wonderful viewing experience, this disc is the way to go.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* DTS 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 132 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13