Of course none of this would fly if Helgeland and production designer Tony Burrough hadn't put their heads together to make this world feel remarkably real. From the tiny villages to the tournament sites, from massive cathedrals to old London, one would never guess how much time we're actually spending looking at Czechoslovakia and CG mattes. Every scene is plausible and impressive.
The only exception comes with William's quest for romance. The pompous and cruel Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell, of Dark City) provides ample antagonism, but the dueling gents' shared interest in saucy young noblewoman Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon) makes no sense at all. Watching William willingly lose by her command to prove that his love for her is stronger than his pride, one wants to knock some sense into his head and tell him to redirect his manly lance toward Kate the blacksmith (Laura Fraser), or at least Jocelyn's handmaiden Christiana (Berenice Bejo). Some knights just don't get it, do they?
Ill-fitting armor or no, this Knight shines
Read Robert Wilonsky's interview with Heath Ledger in this week's "Stuff"
That point aside, A Knight's Tale delivers more pageantry, countless humors, and grand, old-fashioned storytelling than just about anything you're likely to see this year. God save the Queen, indeed. Huzzah!