Directed by: David Gordon Green | 102 minutes | comedy, adventure, fantasy | Actors: Danny McBride, James Franco, Rasmus Hardiker, Natalie Portman, Toby Jones, Justin Theroux, Zooey Deschanel, Charles Dance, Damian Lewis, Simon Farnaby, Deobia Oparei, B.J. Hogg
For the story of “Your Highness” we travel back in time to the Middle Ages. A time when kings, princes and princesses still ruled. The princes from “Your Highness” are two very contradictory princes. Prince Fabious is the type of prince that every king can only wish for. Brave, heroic, beloved, the ideal heir to the throne. His brother, Prince Thadeus, is his complete opposite. Lazy, casual, uninterested, those are Thadeus’s greatest characteristics. On Fabious’s wedding day, when his fiancée, Belladonna, is kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar, Fabious and Thadeus (the latter with fresh reluctance) go out together to rescue her. However, it soon becomes apparent that a major conspiracy has taken place and they learn that virtually the entire tour group they are traveling with is conspiring with Leezar, leaving them virtually alone on their dangerous quest to save Belladonna from death.
There is not much wrong with the cast of “Your Highness”. For Fabious and Thadeus, James Franco (known from among others “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) and Danny McBride were chosen respectively. We previously saw this duo perform together in “Pineapple Express” (2008), a film that, like “Your Highness”, was directed by David Gordon Green. Natalie Portman has been chosen for the role of Isabel, the sexy archer who has her own reasons for getting revenge on Leezar. There is therefore enough experience available to lead to something beautiful.
The strange thing about “Your Highness” is that, despite the good cast, it feels a bit like a cheap production. For example, for a number of scenes a lot of attention was paid to “The Lord of the Rings”. The tower where Belladonna is locked up is very similar to that of Sauron. The many trips through the mountains and nature are filmed exactly the same as in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and otherwise the way in which the company enters a maze later in the film is the same as the way in which Frodo entered the mines of Moria with his company. . Although this is all done with an obvious wink, it contributes to the simple look of “Your Highness”. In addition, the film lowers itself a lot to adolescent jokes, both sexist and the many well-known pee and poo humor. For example, a pub where the tour group enters is called “horse piss inn” and Thadeus constantly wears a male genitalia around his neck and is not afraid to advertise it.
It certainly takes some getting used to seeing Natalie Portman in a much less serious film after her earlier daring roles in “V for Vendetta” (2005) and “Black Swan” (2010). Still, she’s a welcome addition to the cast. Because where the two princes, and especially Thadeus, often seem too forced and a bit childish, the handsome and slightly more serious Natalie Portman is a pleasant change. She also stands her ground fighting and the acrobatic way in which she kills the enemies is certainly worth seeing. And when after a while you have taken for granted the many silly jokes in the film and have accepted that “Your Highness” does not want to be taken too seriously, it turns out to be quite a nice comedy. The many bizarre situations and characters that you as a viewer are confronted with, such as the intense cage fight in which Isabel makes her first appearance and the strange, humorous scenes in the labyrinth, they all certainly provide the necessary comical scenes. Don’t expect any miracles from “Your Highness,” but as a fairly simple comedy that alternates silly jokes with hilarious situations, it’s certainly good for an evening of entertainment.