Exploring the Medieval Comedy Genre

Anytime the framework of comedy is switched out, it can put something in a new perspective. Putting modern concerns or even just ones that have been plaguing humans since the middle ages and beyond in front of a castle just makes these issues seem more classy somehow. It also comes with an amazing sandbox of kingdoms, fairy tales, singing virgins, and dragons to play with. So why are there so few Medieval Comedies out there? As far as I can tell, to do well in this genre takes vast amounts of writing skill to make the scenes funny yet relevant, demands perfect timing of the actors, as well as staying in the golden cheese/tongue-in-cheek level. Balancing the cheese levels alone has to be maddening, so I understand how certain parts of Your Highness, for example,  turned rancid. The main issue with Your Highness is that I am sure on paper it was all freaking hilarious. Once put on film, however, you have moments that are inspired followed by moments that suck any enjoyment out of you. I was so excited to see that film for the first time, and it still saddens me because it was close to being amazing. Damn you cheese level! Sometimes everyone involved in a project can fall so in love with the cheese that it screws the balance.
There is a possibility that I am overly concerned about this because soon there will be two more entries to this brand of comedy, both of which seem very promising. Into the Woods will be released in theaters on Christmas Day, and then the television miniseries Galavant on January 4th. As an added bonus, they are both musicals! Musical Medieval Comedy, rarest of breeds, and love of my life! Since Into the Woods is remade from the Stephen Sondheim creation of the same name, I have very little to worry about there. The filmed original Broadway production is already one of my favorites, and the movie looks incredibly faithful to it. The only nitpick I have is that I wish Bernadette Peters had come back as the witch, but I can overlook this. Probably. Galavant is more of the unknown quantity. It looks amazing, has Alan Menken writing songs for it, and Timothy Omundson as King Richard is so perfect in the promos I would watch the series just for him. The only pause I have is for the horrible reviews already circling the production. This is not enough to keep me from finding out for myself if I will like Galavant anyway, especially since reviews are not the most reliable source when it comes to predicting my tastes. Here’s hoping for more wondrous comedy with castles in the new year!

The World of Existing Medieval Comedy Movies and the One Miniseries So Far Ranked by My Particular Love of Them

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

2. Army of Darkness

3. The 10th Kingdom

4. Into the Woods (Filmed Broadway Version)

5. The Princess Bride

6. The Court Jester

7. Ella Enchanted

8. The Sword in the Stone

9. Shrek

10. Brave

11. How to Train Your Dragon

12. A Knight’s Tale

13. Erik the Viking

14. Robin Hood Men in Tights

15. Your Highness

16. Once Upon a Mattress

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