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Published on April 12th, 2011 | by Peter


Movie Review: Your Highness

I was supposed to interview Damian Lewis for this which would have been good – and – I could have gone to  a meet up of sorts with Danny McBride – that I really would have liked. For reasons closer to home I simply couldn’t make that gig. Would have been nice nice to see how that worked out though…

That said, I did get to the press screening last week and – in case you maybe wondering, there’s not much difference between a press screening and a normal screening apart from I got to see it earlier than some. Same seats, same screens etc…

To the film itself, the official blurb goes as follows

Prince Fabious (James Franco) is brave, handsome and valiant in a medieval world where rescuing damsels, slaying dragons and conquering evil are second nature to any heroic knight. His brother Thadeous (Danny McBride) on the other hand………not so much. Lazy, foul mouthed, useless and tired of being passed over for adventure, adoration and the throne, Thadeous has settled for a life of wizard’s weed, hard meed and easy maidens. But all changes when Fabious’s beautiful fiancée Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) is kidnapped and Thadeous is ordered by the King to buck up and join Prince Fabious on a quest to rescue her from the evil clutches of the wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux). Thadeous must prove to all that he can rise to the challenge and join his brother on the quest of a life time that will seem them face all sorts of obstacles including a giant hand snake, well endowed minotaurs, Dwarf Queens, magic mother fuckers and wacked out wise wizards.

My thoughts…. I’ve a tendency to day dream when I get bored. Not bored, just my mind goes wandering sometimes. By way of compliment, in this film it didn’t happen once. More importantly I would pay in to see it again. But as you can gather from the official blurb [above] if a few F’s and a bit of [erm…] body parts [?] may upset your day, then I suggest you stick to the history channel and some classical music. The only other reason I might avoid Your Highness is, if you were on a sort of first date. It might just cause the potential other half to wonder what on earth you brought her here for. But then again, maybe the history channel is for her/ him too and well… that’s grand…?

As medieval fairy taled comedies go… it is a very different spin on the [un]usual and one that I was glad to see. It’s a good barrel of belly laughs, the story line and script is good [if that’s a usual line to use then so be it… but it’s true]. The baddies like Leezar have funny lines and the man I almost got to not meet Danny Mc Bride is ruddy hilarious. Funnily enough the twist in the tale is that of the role played by Damian Lewis and although the London born Liverpool supporter [you see, I had done my research….] turns out to a baddy in the end, the ginger man does it pretty darned well. For all things other than a good plot, Zoey Deschannel would make me want to take up archery. I wondered at times about her role and whether this was just a strong cast, of names [I was taking notes you see… ]. But it is a very strong cast, in a very good film that until the very end doesn’t entirely make sense… that is however what kept me intrigued.

Love it. Saw it. Would go again. Most likely will. Haven’t bought the t-shirt, just yet.

As a by the way Leezar, played by Justin Theroux is in fact [in case you were wondering] the brother of Louis and there’s a Q & A which I’ve popped in below.

It must be amusing playing an evil virgin warlock…

Yeah. Leezar has got some issues. He is basically the baddie, the wizard, and has got a lot of magic but not a lot of skills, and he is a virgin. I guess he is about a couple of hundred years old, as bad guys usually are in this genre, and towards the end of the movie his whole motivation is to steal this virgin [Zooey Deschanel] to have sex with her. When he impregnates her with his dragon sperms, because he has sperm from a dragon, he will give birth to a son who will go on forever, eternally. It’s a big ambition, but what we all want in life (laughs). He’s all about the dragon sperm, basically.

Why do you think Leezar’s such an evil dude?

I don’t know. Three women raised him, which is not why he is evil, but they may have taught him in the ways of sex, probably. They were his teachers and instructors. So that might have something to do with it, making him a sort of a Norman Bates psycho character. I am guessing. Too much feminine energy might have turned him inward a little bit. He’s pretty arch. You are supposed to like him in that you would like to see him die.

The genre seems ripe for some comedy action, although it has been done before…

It has been done in different versions, broader, like in Robin Hood type movies [Men in Tights]. The idea probably came out of Monty Python and The Holy Grail, but specifically this film is pulling from [the original] The Clash of The Titans and Labyrinth and Krull and The Lord of The Rings, a sort of hybrid of the fantastical.

Were there any fantastic cinematic baddies that inspired your performance?

I watched Gary Oldman as Dracula, and I knew that if I could improve on his techniques and acting, then, frankly, we would have a hit on our hands (laughs). No. We watched that and we somewhat stole from that but just enough to know that we won’t get accused of plagiarism! Gary’s Dracula is the inspiration behind it.

Do you like playing the bad guy?

Yes. Bad guys are great because you just come in and shout, muster up a little speech and then zap someone and go out. And then you get to do all the fun fighting and action scenes. And I must say that it has been a brilliant experience: I’ve got to play like a 10-year-old boy, basically!

Do you keep in touch with Louis?
Yes. He’s great. He is such a talent. He’s fucking funny. I haven’t seen his documentary one on crystal meth.

Is he the same in real life as he is in the documentaries?

Yes. He is actually. He’s not far off that at all. He’s a very, very smart guy and he has a very dry sense of humour.

Do you ever talk about working together?

Yes. I’d love to. We actually talked about it once but we didn’t know what we could do: he wouldn’t want something scripted and I wouldn’t want to do it for real, so that was a stumbling block. But one day, hopefully.

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About the Author

Horticulturist. Yapper. Gardener. Human. Landscaper. Loves coffee. Dublin. Makes gardens. Radio Podcasts The @Sodshow. Lives in a tree in Dublin @DoneganGardens or www.doneganlandscaping.com

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