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DVD Review: Your Highness

August 9, 2011

Your Highness – A Universal Pictures’ Release

DVD Release Date: August 9th, 2011

Rated 18A for violence, coarse language and sexual content

Running time: 106 minutes (unrated version)

David Gordon Green (dir.)

Danny McBride (writer)

Ben Best (writer)

Steve Jablonsky (music)

Danny McBride as Thadeous

James Franco as Fabious

Natalie Portman as Isabel

Zooey Deschanel as Belladonna

Our reviews below:


Your Highness DVD Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

I wish that I had better news to share across thy fair land, but Your Highness fails to live up to the potential of its grand cast or cheesy special effects.  Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) is a stoner constantly jealous of his overachieving brother, Prince Fabious (James Franco).  But when Fabious’ lovely virgin bride Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) is kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) who plans on raping her when the two moons align, the brothers must set out on a quest to bring her back.  They are joined on their journey by a tough and epicly beautiful warrior named Isabel (Natalie Portman), who can more than hold her own alongside their big muscles.

Despite the strong leading cast, the humour in Your Highness is an awkward mix of scatological dialogue that is delivered with all the verve of a young teenager who has just learned about sex and how to swear.  There are a few brief amusing moments here, but nowhere near as many as there should be for a big budget comedy with a running time of 106-minutes.  The violence and cheap gore is so overdone, that by the time we reach the climax it does nothing but nauseate.  I’m a big fan of Natalie Portman, but even the recent Oscar-winner can’t save the film when her character finally appears in the middle of the second act.  In the end, watching Your Highness is a bit like witnessing a train wreck.  At first we view things with mild curiosity, but the appeal and lack of big laughs wears thin rather quickly.

The DVD includes audio commentary with director David Gordon Green and actors McBride, Franco and Theroux, several deleted and alternate scenes as well as a 30-minute making of featurette.


Your Highness DVD Review by Erin V.  

* (out of 4)

In Your Highness, Prince Fabious (James Franco) returns from a quest and is set to marry fair maiden Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel).  His brother Thadeous (Danny McBride) is jealous of all the attention Fabious is getting, and when Belladonna is kidnapped by evil warlock Leezar (Justin Theroux), he is reluctant to go along on Fabious’ quest to get her back (but his father, the king, makes him).  Along the way, the two brothers meet up with another warrior named Isabel (Natalie Portman),who may or may not help them.  They battle a bunch of crazy looking creatures, as well as men, leaving a fake-looking bloodbath in their wake.  Honestly, not that I like to stereotype, but this is a film made with a very small target audience in mind.  Adolescent males.

You know, if you think about it, Your Highness stars two Academy Award nominees (Franco and Portman).  Both of them nominated last year, with one of them winning.  I have no doubt this kind of film would be fun to make – you get to run around like a bunch of kids at drama camp, wearing silly costumes and acting out a story, but it’s not quite big screen (or little for that matter) material.  Especially if you weren’t involved – it’s like a home video joke that doesn’t quite translate.

I don’t know what’s worse – the fact that this made it from script to screen, or that it is written with a last scene that leaves things open for a sequel.  Sure, there may be some amusing moments within (I’ll admit to a couple of laughs, mainly near the beginning before I grew tired of it), but nothing that really justifies watching an hour and 45 minute movie for – let alone another one.  Maybe a 10 minute short film might have been amusing…  Maybe.


Your Highness DVD Review By Nicole

*1/2 (out of 4)

You’ve read fairy tales of brave knights, princesses and fantastical creatures.  Your Highness has all that, but it is not a children’s fairytale.  In this story, an evil wizard named Leezar (Justin Theroux) has captured Princess Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) with plans to rape her when the two moons align.  What planet is this movie meant to take place on?  Belladonna is engaged to noble Prince Fabious (James Franco), who is always going on quests and defeating monsters.  His brother Thadeous (Danny McBride) is jealous, as Fabious gets all the attention.  But with Belladonna in danger, the two of them must work together with a warrior named Isabel (Natalie Portman) to defeat Leezar and free Belladonna.

Your Highness, by all means, is a terrible movie.  It goes over the top with rude sexual conversations and people (and monsters) getting impaled with lots of fake-looking blood.  The film tries to be like Monty Python, but it lacks clever wit.  The storyline here is dumb and will only appeal to those a little too young for the film.  Your Highness is only worth checking out if you are looking for a film with raunchy and juvenile humour.


Your Highness DVD Review By Maureen

*1/2 (out of 4)

In a tale of knights, princes, wizards and warriors one would expect epic and noble things.  Your Highness is not that tale.  This tall and tawdry tale has two brothers, Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) and Prince Fabious (James Franco) on a mission to rescue the lovely Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) who has been kidnapped by evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux). Their mission is aided by an even mightier than they are warrior, Isabel (Natalie Portman).  Their adventure brings them face-to-face with a variety of odd creatures and obstacles that must be slayed in gruesome and bloody ways.

The humour in Your Highness can only be described as raunchy and grotesque.  True, there are a few funny lines (mostly vulgar) that are funnier because they are delivered in olde english.  But with such a strong cast, I expected more of the film.  However, teenage boys who will end up renting Your Highness likely won’t care that this isn’t a model of good filmmaking.


Your Highness DVD Review By Tony

*1/2 (out of 4)

Your Highness is a spoof of swashbuckling films of nobility against wizardry. The dissolute prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) is jealous of his older brother Fabious (James Franco), just returned from his latest crusade to marry the naive maiden Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel). When the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) and his three witch “Mothers” snatch her away, Thadeous is ordered to accompany his brother on a quest to bring her back. The warrior princess Isabel (Natalie Portman) has issues of her own with Leezar and reluctantly joins forces with them. Other characters include the squire Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker) and minions Julie (Toby Jones) and Boremont (Damian Lewis). Obstacles include a five-headed dragon manipulated remotely by a vile character (John Fricker) who loses a finger every time a head is lopped off, and a horny (sic) minotaur guarding the enchanted sword required to kill Leezar.

Your Highness rarely rises above a [middle school] sophomoric level of crude humour, typically inserting gratuitous “swear words” into faux-medieval English dialogue.  Though Danny McBride can be really funny, the largely improvised script sketched out by him and Ben Best under the direction of David Gordon Green mostly falls flat, making McBride and the rest of the usually brilliant cast just look bad. At least I hope the nine months James Franco spent on fencing training will prove useful in much better films.


Consensus: Despite boasting a strong all-star cast, Your Highness is bogged down by mostly unfunny raunchy humour and special effects that are as cheesy as they are gory, making it an unfortunate missed opportunity on pretty much every level.  *1/2 (Out of 4)

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