Are you ready to rock? This comedic film, a favorite by many, uses classic rock as a unique vehicle to bring a modern audience into the Middle Ages. A silly, fun adventure, A Knight’s Tale is full of wit, heart, and Geoffrey Chaucer.
When the elderly knight Sir Ector, master of poor squires William, Roland, and Wat, dies between rounds at a jousting tournament, William takes up his lance to finish the last round for his erstwhile master. With the prize in hand, the three squires are now faced with a choice: split the earnings and follow their immediate desires, or use the money to further William’s training so that he can masquerade as the knight he’s always dreamt of becoming. With the lure of future prizes, the trio help to train William. During their quest for glory and riches, they encounter Geoffrey Chaucer, a blacksmith named Kate, the lovely lady Jocelyn, the villainous Count Adhemar, and Edward the Black Prince of Wales.
Intentional anachronisms pepper this film beyond the obvious music choices. More modern language is also used, as well as period-inaccurate armour and dancing. According to director Brian Helgeland, this was done to translate the medieval era to a modern audience. And there’s something to the notion of the crowd at a jousting tournament performing the well-known stomp-stomp-clap from Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” as they might at a modern day sporting event – it captures the spirit of entertainment and of humanity in a charming and fun way.
For the more literarily inclined, it contains entertaining references to The Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer is a prominent character in the film as he tags along with William, helping him continue charade of knighthood. The entire film contains several parallels to The Knight’s Tale in The Canterbury Tales, and a scorching view of the Pardoner and Summoner in the film, which are implied to be Chaucer’s inspiration for their respective tales.
A Knight’s Tale is a fantastic pick-me-up film, a light and fun adventure that’s great for rainy days or movie nights with friends – or anytime, really! It’s light on plot, but thick on comedy both clever and base.