Sunday, April 17, 2011

Your Highness

If you ever truly wanted to know the most common themes of a particular genre of movies, the best strategy is to watch a parody film.  For example, Keenan Ivory Wayans' Scary Movie (2000) tapped into the convensions and themes of the horror genre to provide a source of humor.  So, in the classic tradition of Terry Gilliam's Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) and Terry Jones' Eric the Viking (1989), the new film, Your Highness does the same theing for the Sword & Sorcery genre.

Your Highness tells the comedic story of Fabious' and Thadeous' quest to save Fabious' betrothed, Princess Belladonna from the evil Warlock Leezar and the prophecy of the "fuckening" - when Leezar takes a virgin at the centennial union of the two-moons.  In the course of this journey, Thadeous grows from a slacking layabout to a noble prince like his brother.

So what are the themes parodied in the film?  Well, for one thing, the tale is one concerning destiny and prophecy.  The film starts with the opening of a book and the voice of an omniscient narrator telling of a brave knight, evil warlock, beautiful maiden and "other really serious shit."  This alone calls attention to the prominence of "destiny" as a theme is Sword & Sorcery.  Beyond this, though, the story tells specifically of a prophecy (the "fuckening") when Leezar takes the virginity of a maiden (Belladonna) at the "union of the two moons."

The theme of initiation also figures prominently into the story, as the plot is put in motion by the King's demand that Thadeous, ne'er-do-well younger brother of Fabious, accompany his brother on the quest to save Belladonna from Leezar and the prophecy.  In the course of this quest, Thadeous fidns the "Unicorn Sword", which is the only weapon that can defeat Leezar.  When they return home to the king, Thadeous is honored as a hero along with his brother.

Naturally, no Sword & Sorcery film would be complete without the symbolic conflict between swords and sorcery.  At the most basic level, Fabious and Thadeous are warriors in convlict with teh magic of the warlock Leezar.  This simple opposition becomes more complicated, however, because Fabious and Thadeous visit the "Wise Wizard" where they are given a magical compass and told to seek out the magical Unicorn Sword.  As it turns out, though, the Wise Wizard is portrayed as a drug-addicted, child-molesting version of Yoda, so there really is no representation of sorcery as being good in the film except, perhaps, in the form of the Unicorn Sword which slays Leezar.

A last obvious theme of the film is reincorporation and it refers to the fact that so many Sword & Sorcery films conclude with the hero's marriage and acceptance into the community.  This happens for both Fabious, who marries Belladonna, and even Thadeous who has found the warrior-woman, Isabel, along the way.

There are many other sub-themes and details left to be discussed when the Blue-Ray becomes available.

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