Where to Watch:
A 12th-century knight and his servant attempt to return to their own time after being transported to the 20th century. Hijinks ensue.
The Uncondensed Version:
This movie is so weird, guys.
It starts out with Sir Godefroy travelling to marry his fiancée, Frénégonde, after saving the King of France; however, en route he encounters a witch. Instead of killing her, he brings her back to the castle to burn her. I’m not really clear why. Possibly so the people will at least get to enjoy the entertainment of a public execution. Or maybe medieval knights were way bigger believers in habeas corpus than I realized? Either way, this turns out to be a really bad idea. The witch drugs Godefroy so that he believes his fiancée’s father is a bear and kills him. You can be sure that wedding isn’t happening now.
In an effort to change these events, Godefroy asks a wizard to send him back in time. Because I guess even though witches practice dark magic, wizardry is perfectly acceptable to the typical medieval knight.
The wizard makes everything much worse by, in fact, sending Godefroy and his servant, Jacquouille, to the 1990s. There, Godefroy encounters his descendant, Béatrice, who looks EXACTLY like his fiancée. There were, in fact, a few times when I thought she was going to become her own great-great-great (etc.) grandmother, which was so uncomfortable. Don’t sleep with your ancestors. That is the first rule of time travel. (It’s okay…nobody breaks this rule in The Visitors, but it comes pretty close.)
Béatrice, for her part, spends the majority of the film thinking Godefroy is her long-lost racecar driver cousin. So she is usually trying to reintroduce him in polite society, which equates to cleaning up his messes.
I don’t want this to be the longest entry ever and I would like to leave plenty of space for me to rant, so suffice it to say Godefroy keeps trying to find a way back to the 12th century for the rest of the movie. I think there were a lot of puns and general archaic language I didn’t understand.
Finally, one of the wizard’s descendants gives Godefroy a potion that will take him back to the past. Godefroy and Béatrice share a moment in which they proclaim how glad they are to have met each other. I SERIOUSLY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY SHE WAS GLAD TO MEET HIM. HE JUST FUCKED EVERYTHING UP. I was also having a major Kindred (Octavia Butler) moment and thinking that this is why you’d never want to actually meet your ancestors: you don’t want to know all of the awful, screwed-up things they have done, no matter how normal or even honorable they were considered at the time.
The end was pretty funny, though. Jacquouille switches places with his descendant, who’s a huge jerk, and manages to stay in the 20th century with his girlfriend. I felt (appropriately for this blog) it was a bit of a Pink Panther ending.
Meanwhile, Godefroy returns to the 12th century, kills the witch, marries Frénégonde, and everyone lives happily ever after. Well, everyone besides the witch, that is.
I think I’m used to the kind of time travel movie where you have to learn a heartwarming lesson about yourself and/or the importance of family. Probably the influence of too much Disney/Back to the Future. Sooooooooooo I was pretty much expecting Enchanted in French, but also Monty Python. OKAY, FINE, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT. But Godefroy didn’t learn anything from his whole time-travel escapade, and that upset me.
And I couldn’t help thinking Jacquouille’s got it right in this situation. I suppose no matter what time you are from, you would probably want to get back because it’s full of the people, geography, and worldview you are familiar with. But I don’t know, if you could live in a time and place in which you are less likely to die of the plague or an infected splinter or whatnot, wouldn’t that be appealing? Wouldn’t you at least take some penicillin with you?
There’s apparently a sequel as well as an American remake (of course), but I’m not sure I’ll add those to the bucket list. They both look so very painful.
Sorry every film I review seems to be a 3/5. Just remember the bell curve, okay?