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|Index||14 reviews in total|
Poul Anderson had done all the screenwriters' work for them. With a solid
historical backbone, subtle wit, and an engaging story, his novel was enough
to relegate the writing of the script to a fill-in-the-blank exercise.
Instead, the movie emerges as a pale ripoff of MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, yet with even more historical
inaccuracies (HIGH CRUSADE has
Jerusalem falling to Saracens in 1345, not 1187, and even has a trio of
Saracens attacking a keep in England!)
The dialogue does flirt with intelligence, as when John Rhys-Davies's character, Brother Parvus, insistently tries to "educate" spacefaring aliens about the Holy Trinity and geocentric cosmology, but ultimately it's just a tease. Things quickly descend into weak farce, and some devices, such as the aliens' construction of an evil human clone, are pure throwaway filler.
I sure hope Poul Anderson never saw this film. My fear is that he would never sell film rights for one of his excellent books again, which would be a shame, since in the right hands some fine movies could be produced.
This film has almost everything it needs to be first class science fiction, except a decent screenwriter. The effects, makeup, photography, and direction are all perfectly acceptable for the story. However, the script is a disaster. This is a highly inept adaptation of Poul Anderson's classic sifi novel. Most of the basic premise, and introduction, are preserved. However, the rest is terrible. Anderson's competent crusader knights are replaced by idiots and buffoons. The subtle humor of the original is replaced by inane slapstick. The result is implausible, and embarrassing. If they had simply cut for time, without trying to replace or add, the film would have been vastly better.
Rented it because of the book. Enjoyed it for it's own Pythonesque
It's not a serious movie and it doesn't take itself seriously, nor are the actors all that good. Nonetheless, it takes a very light-hearted approach that is fun if you are in the right mood. My 15-yr old son and I laughed and laughed, my wife left the room.
Did you enjoy Time Bandits (especially the scene with Robin Hood?) How about Monty Python's Holy Grail (especially the scene with the rabbit?) If yes, give it a try; if not, you've been warned. As my son says, "It's so random!!" However, from him, this is something close to praise.
For what it is, the production values are pretty good and the jokes (especially in the subtitles) are frequent. Others criticize it for not being what they wished it were. Yes, there could be a much different movie made that takes Pohl Anderson's book more seriously. It could be the basis of a good series of the SciFi Channel. But if you can take THIS movie as it is and put aside thoughts of the OTHER movie you might wish it were, you can have some fun.
That's how it looks from here.
A very bizarre movie but highly amusing, at least it was years ago, when I watched it on video. Back then, all the aliens had comedy Sean Connery accents which the English could not understand. All very high camp and kind of stupid, but definitely amusing. However, when I watched it recently on DVD, all the Aliens spoke alien gibberish which subsequently required subtitles. This lost a massive amount of the comedy value of the original version. It seems a shame that the directors or whoever, would mess with the original format when the end result is vastly less entertaining. The acting is still pretty good (for such a daft film) as are the effects. I guess the budget was pretty low but it doesn't show as much as you might expect. Certainly it has a better production values than so called "B movie classics" such as Spaceballs. For those who've read the book and are now complaining that the film is not the same, hard luck, get over it. As a movie, it was pretty good (originally).
Poul Anderson's book "The High Crusade" is an enormous milestone in the
rare genre of historic alien invasions, a true work of fine penmanship,
and this movie doesn't hold a candle to it.
In all honesty though, alien invasion movies, and historical realism movies generally require huge budgets to be done "right" by Hollywood standards, and combining the two sounds to me like a movie maker's nightmare. While it would be great to see the original book done justice, the budget needed for an epic battle between knights and aliens isn't likely to be forthcoming.
The movie version of the high crusade sticks with the original premise, but due to the restrictions of a very tight budget, it was necessary to scale everything back. The special effects are sparing, the sets are repetitive, the script is a little worn around the edges, and the actors are, for the most part, not huge names.
All things considered, the movie does especially well for what it has. The slick, smart humor of Poul Anderson is cut out to make room for a lot of silly European humor, but thankfully, it all works great. Certainly, there are not a lot of surprises, but the gist remains funny, and it is the first movie I've seen my boorish father laugh at in over five years, which has to say something.
Also, the movie is pretty clean. The worst language is the repetitive use of "bloody," "bastards," "Hell," and "Devil's." The bloodiest wound in the movie is a bump on the head. Two battle scenes, and a severed leg don't spill a drop though. A certain amount of reproductive humor adds a bit of spice to the movie, but this is done in as tasteful a manner as the matterial can be done.
Certainly, a lot was lost from the book, but the movie that is left makes for several good laughs, and memorable one-liners.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Thankfully I've not read the book because this incredibly silly
medieval comedy entertained me from start to finish. Some friends made
a double-feature with this and A Knight's Tale and I Knew next to
nothing about it, which added to my enjoyment because the alien focus
came somewhat unexpected.
Mild Spoilers: It tells the tale of a knight and his soldiers that kidnap a spaceship and try to use it against the Saracens in the Crusades, but the ship ends up heading to an alien planet and they must fight using their medieval mentality. The movie looks nice for a mid-nineties European flick, and even some cheesy special fx add to the fun so, no problems here.
The humor is what will certainly put some people off, but if you dig flicks like Monty Python's Holy Grail, Brancaleone, A Knight's Tale or even Kung-Pow, you may find something to like here.
The annoying french bard reminded me of Asterix.
In one of his books Terry Pratchett describes a light that would "make Steven Spielberg reach for his copyright lawyer." I've always felt Mr. Andersons book was like that light. It was the sort of thing Spielberg or Lucas or the Disney studios could grab and run with. Unfortunately this version is a stumbling fumble. Hopefully Lucas or Spielberg or someone will read the book one day and go for a remake and we can forget that this wasted effort ever existed. My children bought me the DVD of this movie because I'd told them for years that someday the book would be a great motion picture...they still apologize now and then for not watching it first and buying me a tie instead.
I have to strongly disagree with the previous review, and perhaps it's because I haven't read the Poul Anderson book; in fact I never knew there was one. This is one of the funniest Brit-com pieces I've seen, and it only gets funny once you get past the thick brogues of the dwarf aliens, and of course you have to already have a taste for Python-esquire humour and understand some of the references in the rapidly-delivered alien speech. The madcap slapstick and pathetic buffoonery of the story's "hero" and the villainy of his alter-ego cracks me up every time. I recommend this film quite often and have never considered anything but magnificently twisted. Sorry it's not faithful to Anderson's book; it's not the first time that Hollywood's savaged a novel.
At first, I have to say, that I didn´t read the original book, so that I can´t be disappointed in the way, the story was changed in the movie. The movie is original, and can be shown to all ages. Yes, the humor is strange! As well as the idea to let a bunch of medieval knights fight against aliens. But, hey - Don´t take this movie serious! Its wonderful ironic and stupid, with his black humor and the crazy heroes. Some of the gags you get only by watching the movie again and again. For example this two gay soldiers at the beginning, how Ray Cokes looses his leg, or the cute equipment in the torture chamber ;-) To describe the movie short: It´s cool! I can remember only one time it was shown on TV, but it´s worth renting! And if you get the chance, watch as well the making of! Have fun with it!
Years ago the very first SF magazine I ever saw had a knight battling an alien -- it was Astounding SF with "The High Crusade." For a kid it was a great adventure, reading as an adult it is truly hilarious. Poul Anderson handled comedy and tragedy equally well. Had they filmed the book they would have had a hit. Rick Overton would have been a perfect Sir Roger, John Rhys-Davies is worth watching even if he isn't very 'parvus (ie. 'measly.')They clearly did not have the budget for the cast that would have been required The best lines are the ones taken from Anderson's book, such as the 'negotiation' scene. My recommendation, if you have time to kill Rhys-Davies is always worth watching as is Overton. The novel was recently brought out again by i-Books in a cover evidently modeled on the movie. Add the book to your collection and enjoy. Really, it's a very good book and someone should make a movie out of it.
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