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Film / Your Highness

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"One of the heroes even wears the penis of a minotaur on a string around his neck. I hate it when that happens."

Your Highness is a 2011 adventure comedy fantasy film directed by David Gordon Green of Pineapple Express fame that could best be described as a tongue-in-cheek take on the High Fantasy genre.

The film centers on Prince Fabious (James Franco) and Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride), who are of the bold/valiant and slovenly/slacker variety, respectively. Fabious' bride to be, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), is spirited away by an evil wizard, and her fate rests in the hands of the two princes, who embark on the journey of journeys to rescue her. Joining their quest is Isabel (Natalie Portman), a warrior skilled in the art of deadly combat with her own personal agenda for stopping the wizard. Together, the trio faces a variety of deadly and at times hilarious dangers, from witches and knights to minotaurs and hydras.

Not to be confused with TVB comedy series.

This film contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Fabious is basically a very-much intended pastiche of Prince Charming-types: A good-natured man but also a brave warrior, who captures the heart of a beautiful, young, virgin and also good-natured woman. A source of conflict in the movie is that, despite he and his brother genuinely loving each other, his brother Thadeous feels that he can't measure up to him.
  • Action Girl: Isabel is an archer and swordswoman who's shown as the biggest warrior of the film, save Fabious.
  • Actor Allusion: Isabel has moves worthy of Darth Maul. One of her weapons is even a staff with two blades! For added points, she first shows up in an arena with a monster in it.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of movies such as The Lord of the Rings, Stardust, and The Princess Bride.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Isabel is an Action Girl in order to allow Belladonna to be a Damsel in Distress.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The movie ends with Isabel coming (ahem) to Thadeous with his next quest.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Since Thadeous smokes pot on a regular basis, the Wize Wizard's smoked herbs do not really affect him.
  • Armored Closet Gay:
    • Given the large amount of Ho Yay in the film, Leezar certainly seems to give this sort of impression considering what he says when trying to complete the ritual with Belladonna.
      Leezar: I'm just not attracted to you!
    • Also Boremont, who confesses his love for Fabious just before he dies.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Julie. No explanation is given, though it's likely simply that he's a neuter homunculus.
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • The entire plot centers on the impending (less commonly played for laughs male-on-female) rape of Belladonna as part of casting a spell. The jokes mostly have to do with Leezar's reluctance to do the deed, either because he doesn't really want to or has some sort of severe performance anxiety. Later this gets inverted when the early stages of the spell temporarily turn Belladonna into a sexually-aggressive Succubus who, herself, won't take no for an answer.
    • A minotaur in heat harasses Courtney in the labyrinth.
    • When Fabious and Thadeous go to meet Wize Wizard, Thadeous and the audience discover that the Wizard likes to greet his visitants with kisses. Flappy, open-mouthed kisses (Thadeous manages to get by with a quick pec on the lips). Fabious then reveals that he's been visiting the Wizard since he was a kid, and back then they used to do other things (though he and the Wizard claim that it was on the lines of jumping shirtless on a bed and nothing more. Thaddeus nonetheless suspects the Wizard did molest him).
    • Courtney casually mentions how he was once a sex slave for some gypsies when explaining to Thadeous his pickpocketing skills.
  • Blood Knight: Isabel is a warrior of the "see her enemies wailing and covered in blood" type. It kind of creeps Thadeous and the others out.
  • Booby Trap: One of these quickly kills The Barbarian. Also a very literal instance when the characters first meet the White People.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Many examples, but one stands out: Thadeous' servant Courtney is skilled at pick-pocketing because he grew up as a sex slave for gypsies. This helps them reclaim a MacGuffin and is never mentioned before or after explaining that.
  • Brick Joke: Not in the finished movie, unfortunately, but gets started in one of the Deleted Scenes on the DVD. After having escaped Marteetee's arena, Isabel threatens to cut off Thadeous' dick and wear it as a necklace. Now guess what happens with the Minotaur's "horn".
  • Butt-Monkey: Courtney gets no respect, especially from Thadeous. To a lesser extent, Thadeous in turn gets a lot of misery for not living up to his brother.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Boremont to Fabious. Fabious thinks he means "brotherly love", like between himself and Thaddeous. Nope. That kind of love.
  • Evil Overlord: Leezar fits this trope to a T.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The tower where Leezar lives might as well be the tower where Frankenstein's moster was created.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Boremont and his knights.
  • Fake Shemp: A body double was used for the scene where Isabel strips down to her bikini since Natalie Portman refused to do it.
  • Fanservice Extra: Most of the "White People" are played by topless glamour models.
  • Fetish Retardant: Invoked. The three witches cast a sex spell on Belladonna that winds up giving her an The Exorcist-possessed voice. It really creeps Leezar out.
  • Fingore: Marteetee loses fingers due to being synchronized with his hydra.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Courtney and Julie are both men.
  • Gladiator Games: Marteetee's arena, complete with champion that Fabious must defeat.
  • Groin Attack: After killing the Minotaur and learning that he can't cut off the horns as trophies, Thadeous chooses to cut off the Minotaur's penis and wear it like a necklace.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Fabious tells Thaddeous he wants him to "be gay" (meaning "be merry" in archaic English) with him and their father. Thaddeous prefers to fence shadows and brood.
  • Here We Go Again!: Gotta get rid of that cursed chastity belt if you want to get it on with Isabel, Thadeous.
  • High Fantasy: The movie is set in a parody High Fantasy world. (Tee-hee, high fantasy!)
  • Honey Trap: The "White People" trap adventurers by sending out a lovely young woman to run around naked so they're too busy concentrating on other matters to defend themselves.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Fabious when it comes to the Wize Wizard and Julie.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Lazar's entire plan revolves around raping Belladonna to produce a dragon during the joining of the two moons. He also licks her cheek when he kidnaps her from the wedding.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Thadeous is lazy, selfish, arrogant, humiliates Courtney and even plans to leave Fabious behind when he is captured. However, after his visit to the labyrinth, he decided to go and rescue his brother.
  • Karmic Death: In the space of ten minutes, Julie is thrown down a shaft and lands on the Death Trap he put Fabious in, and Boremont's Blade Below the Shoulder is sliced off (with his arm!) and shoved into him.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Marteetee, with Isabel's spear through his guts.
  • Love at First Note: Fabious fell in love with Belladonna before he even saw her from hearing her sing.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: The Minotaur.
  • Manchild: Thadeous is a lazy, petulant brat who always wonders why he's The Unfavorite compared to his brother.
  • Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration: Leezar is confident he can perform with Belladonna as he's "tested" himself via masturbation. Near the end, Thadeous was also preparing for this when Fabious comes in.
  • Meaningful Name: Belladonna is Italian for "beautiful woman". Incidentally, it's also Latin for Deadly Nightshade.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: All of The Middle Ages are blended together, along with elements of indigenous tribal, Roman and Far Eastern cultures. Oh yes, and Simon, the sentient clockwork bird.
  • Missing Mom: Fabious and Thadeous's mother died sometime in the past. Isabel mentions having lost her father and brothers, but what happened with her mother is not revealed (she was probably also killed though).
  • Ms. Fanservice: Isabel strips down to her undergarments before bathing in the river as Fabious and Thadeous watch. She knows, but simply ignores them. Otherwise she also has on a bodice showing her cleavage.
  • Mysterious Past: Isabel, before she reveals her backstory to the heroes.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Apparently Isabel's arm band is able to repel magic lightning, though it's vaguely hinted by observation. In the opening scene we have her knight ancestors blocking the magic with their armor and Isabel later claimed that her armband was made from her brothers' shields, assumed to be of the same make of the armor of their ancestors.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Leezar claims that only the Sword of the Unicorn can kill him. Sure enough, that's what does him in the climax. Then there's also the power-up he gets when the eclipse happens.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Soul of the Maze that totally isn't Sean Connery.
  • No Ontological Inertia: The sex spell on Belladonna ends as soon as Leezar's mothers are killed.
  • No Social Skills: Being locked in a tower since she was a young girl, Belladonna has no real clue about many social conventions, such as forks and choreographed dancing. She also confuses "cervix" with "service".
  • Offhand Backhand: Leezar to Isabel. With a fireball, no less.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: Shortly after the group meets Isabel.
  • Power Fist: Thadeous dons a spiked gauntlet as an off-hand during the climax.
  • Precision F-Strike: Leezar.
    Leezar: Magic... Motherfucker.
  • Pun-Based Title: Your Highness features two members of royalty who in one scene get stoned together.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Throughout the film Faboius is pretty lenient towards Thadeous, despite the latter resentment and jealousy towards him. However, when Isabel steals their compass after Thadeous tells her about their quest, which he was previously told not to do, his brother finally becomes fed up with his brother’s selfishness and chooses to continue the quest alone. Fabious forgives his brother after the latter shows up to rescue him.
  • Rape as Comedy: Implied between Courtney and an undoubtedly sex-starved minotaur.
  • Red Shirt: The two nameless prisoners alongside our heroes in Marteetee's arena.
  • Roguish Romani: Courtney is skilled at pickpocketing because he grew up as a sex slave for gypsies.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Manious. Also a bit creepy/squick in that he tastes the blade of grass that he states has been urinated on, rather than just smelling it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The barbarian the heroes meet in the bar is a clear shout-out to Conan the Barbarian. He's not quite as successful as Ahnold, however. Similarly, the practice moves Thadeous goes through after he obtains the Blade of the Unicorn mirrors a scene from that movie.
    • Simon, Fabious's mechanical bird, is a reference to Bubo from Clash of the Titans.
    • The Wize Wizard is Yoda crossed with the smoking caterpillar. Leezar and his mothers even have Force Lightning.
    • The chastity belt revelation is borrowed from Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
    • To just about every fantasy movie from the eighties on, really. Much of the design and special effects resemble Willow, not least of which is the multi-headed dragon.
    • A scene in a montage references the Gates of Argonath from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
    • The set during the Labyrinth sequence is very similar to, well, Labyrinth.
    • Belladonna, having No Social Skills due to her backstory, uses a fork as a comb before being instructed on its proper use.
    • In the scene where Julie is chanting magic words to communicate with Leezar, you can clearly hear him say "Hufflepuff".
    • The carriage chase scene between the brothers and Boremont's men is a shot-for-shot remake of the carriage chase scene in Sleepy Hollow (1999) between Ichabod/Katrina and the headless horseman. Anyone's guess as to why?
    • A couple of shout-outs to Game of Thrones with the names Boremont (Mormont) and Thundarion (Dondarrion).
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The language of the realm, pretty much.
  • Strange Salute: "...Crossed swords and touched tips" sounds like yet another gay joke. However, Fabious and Thaddeous do this in the climax as a sign of mutual respect; it really does involve swords and the crossing thereof.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Sword of the Unicorn is the only thing that can kill Leezar.
  • Synchronization: Marteetee has a cauldron of magic mustard that causes any body part he dips in it to manifest itself as a monster in the arena. Unfortunately for him, if the monster is harmed, so is he.
  • Tar and Feathers: Courtney is given this treatment by the dwarves for associating with Thadeous and shows little more than some annoyance.
    Courtney: Children, I'm allergic. Please - let’s not.
  • This Cannot Be!: Leezar's reaction when he sees Fabious is wielding the Sword of the Unicorn.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When Thadeous is first introduced, he's about to be hanged for sleeping with a dwarf queen and simply says, "Oh, fuck me."
  • Thong of Shielding: Isabel is shown to wear one while bathing in her smallclothes. It's actually her chastity belt.
  • Threshold Guardians: The Soul of the Maze.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Thadeous.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: Leezar's ritual must be performed during "the joining of the two moons", which appears to be an eclipse of one moon by the other, and happens once every hundred years.
  • The Unfavorite: Thadeous feels like this.
  • Uptown Girl: Gender inversion - Thadeous is a prince and while his reputation isn't great, all indications are the kingdom is rich and important. Meanwhile Isabel is a commoner and a homeless adventuress.
  • Virgin Power: Leezar's ritual will only work with a virgin.
  • Vulgar Humor: Gay jokes? Check. Sex jokes? Check. Characters unable to go a few sentences without at least one swear word? Oh so very check.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The nubile savages led by Fat Bastard Marteetee.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Mostly averted, but randomly shows up a few times for no apparent reason. Usually for a low-brow joke that relies on archaic English to work.
  • You Killed My Father: What motivates Isabel to get revenge on Marteetee (he killed her father) and join up with Thadeous and Fabious (Leezar's "mothers" killed her six brothers).