A Knight’s Tale is one of those movies that everyone seems to really like a lot and I can’t figure out what’s so great about it. I know that when it came out it was supposed to be some “different” kind of movie, I guess because it mixed “tales of knights” with modern day music and such, but I never really understood what people thought was so special about it. Maybe the public just gets hungry for certain kinds of films and movies like A Knight’s Tale satisfy something that speaks to that? But there was nothing about this film that really grabbed me and made me say, “They need to release this DVD as an extended cut with a ton of bells and whistles!”
This is a very rudimentary story about a squire who poses as a knight and becomes one of the best “jousters” in all of Europe. He woos a princess and their relationship begins to blossom, until she finds out that he is not the person he has been portraying himself to be. Okay look, this is a big budget movie so you know the rest of the story, right? I hate being so critical of a film like this, especially when it isn’t awful. I guess I just think that there are so many more interesting films that deserve the treatment that A Knight’s Tale is getting and never will. Still, there are some funny moments in the movie and Heath Ledger does a very good job of carrying this film in what I think was his first starring role.
Over 10 minutes of footage added back into the movie; HBO Making-of Special; 11 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes;
They have really gone overboard here, so much so in fact that it’s almost laughable. First you get a version of the movie with 10 more minutes added back in. As I have not seen this movie since it was in theaters, I honestly couldn’t figure out what the added footage was. Truthfully, this movie just felt a little longer. The “HBO Making of Special” and the “11 Behind the Scenes Featurettes,” are interchangeable. I feel that I personally, could have just watched the “HBO Special” and that would have told me all that I needed to know about the production of this movie. These featurettes look at the how this film “looks,” putting together the “jousting sequences” and pretty much everything else that makes this movie A Knight’s Tale. While I said that I think this is redundant, I am sure that other people that are fans of these kinds of movies, will be very pleased with the amount of supplemental materials these DVDs have.
Brian Helgeland and Paul Bettany Commentary; Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker's Intros
These two bonus features were my favorites, mainly because I always like hearing from Director’s like Brian Helgeland. He is someone who I think is going to be around for a very long time, because if you look at his body of work on IMDB, you will see that he is a Director and writer who can work in a number of different genres. Anyway, the banter between him and Paul Bettany was a lot of fun. It’s nice to see two people who you can tell are friends, sit back and watch something that they created together. I got this same sense when I watched Helgeland introduce the “Deleted Scenes” on this disc. It is very easy to see that this movie is one that he is very proud of. My main question is why isn’t Heath Ledger on the commentary track? Paul Bettany is there and he doesn’t seem like he’s been any less busy than Heath? Either way, for me, these two “Extra Features” would make this DVD worth owning if I was a fan of the movie, but already owned a copy of it on DVD.
Widescreen. This movie looks big and it is every bit a period piece. When you consider that the filmmakers achieved the look they did with this film, on a budget of $41 million dollars, that is pretty darn impressive. Also, I really liked the way the action sequences were done. I never felt that Heath Ledger was ever in any kind of danger, but I did think that the way these parts were shot and assembled did a lot to play into the bigness of this movie. This is a very lush looking film and it seems to have come from nowhere. Before this movie came out, other than seeing a lot of billboard ads for it in Santa Monica, I didn’t think this movie had a ton of hype around it. Then it came out and it was one of those films that people really seemed to respond to.
5.1 Dolby Digital. Dolby Surround Sound. Additional languages are French, Portuguese and Spanish. Subtitles are also available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. The audio on this movie has a hand in contributing to this film’s “bigness.” While I can appreciate Helgeland wanting to do something different with this kind of movie, I don’t altogether know if he pulled it off. By mixing the music of the present day (or pretty much the present day), I think this sort of hurt what a grand film this could have been. Then again, maybe if they hadn’t modernized things, the audience wouldn’t have turned out like they did for this film? This is simply one of those questions we will never know the answer to. One thing I do know, is that I like my movies to stay within their genres and when I see commercials for movies that take place in space, yet have modern music in them, I just lose all sense of “disbelief.”
They have made the cover look really good (almost like this is a completely different movie) by not just having it be just Heath Ledger’s face. We have Ledger and Shannyn Sossamon with a really nice looking black and red look to them. Something about this cover makes this film seem more important. The back features some shots from the movie, a description of what A Knight’s Tale is about, a “Special Features” listing, a cast list and of course technical specs for your DVD system. All in all, I think this may be the first time I can say that I like the DVD packaging MUCH more than I liked the original artwork for the movie. I just think this new look really gives A Knight’s Tale the weight and depth that it needs to be seen in the same class as Gladiator. Even though, this movie isn’t in that class.
This seems like A Knight’s Tale would be one of those movies that they would have made a sequel out of by now. Maybe Ledger, who has made some very interesting choices in his acting career, doesn’t want to do it and that is what is holding the project up? I don’t know but you would think that if a film made close to $60 million, on a budget of $41 million (and who knows what it did on DVD already but it’s probably a lot), somebody at Sony would have put a sequel in the pipeline. Considering that studios are starting to take franchises like American Pie and turn them into straight to video knockoffs, it would look like it’s only a matter of time before we see A Knight’s Tale 2.
Overall, if you are a fan of A Knight’s Tale then this extended edition will be right up your alley. If your reception to this film was pretty warm, then I don’t know that you need to have this DVD in your collection.
A Knight's Tale was released May 11, 2001.