A young squire dons his master’s armour after he drops dead during a tournament and so sets about impersonating a nobleman to transcend his peasant origins and become a champion jouster.
History gets the Hollywood treatment as the kiddie-friendly “you can be anything you want to be if you believe in yourself” message gets rammed down our throats yet again. Our square-jawed hero is of course valiant in battle but a tongue-tied boob in the company of the beautiful princess who is, as all Medieval princesses were, a cross between a Maxim cover girl and a suffragette. Accompanied by bickering, streetwise sidekicks – including Geoffrey Chaucer who is demoted to a cross between a fairground barker and Don King – and finding a nemesis in the shape of a hissable nobleman who inevitably discovers his secret and cheats his way to near victory, this is a live action film with a Disney cartoon script. As for the soundtrack which is basically a copy of a “Classics Of Rock” CD, it’s a conceptual nightmare. Having said all that, the likeable cast and pretty visuals began to win me over after a start that is little short of horrifying and it has just enough of a sense of fun and irony to make it more palatable than similar Hollywood bastardisations of history that actually take themselves seriously.
As an ageing sour puss, it’s easy to poke holes in the cliche-riddled, corn-infested script but at the same time I know that if I’d seen it as a kid, I would’ve loved it.