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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What movies (or other entertainments) do a good job of sending up high fantasy?

The awfulness of Your Highness — which intends to be a sendup of high fantasy but mostly just engages the clichés of genre and embellishes them with a few swear words and bong hits — prompted this exchange in the comments following my review:

Me:

There are literally hundreds of ways they could have structured this story so that it did not reinforce the hoary, horrible stereotypes they think they’re making fun of. They didn’t choose a single one of them.

dwa:

I haven’t seen this movie and never intended to from the previews but am curious…..what are some examples of film that did do a good job of making fun of this stereotype?

Me:

Well, *The Princess Bride,* for one. The supposedly heroic prince is handsome but cowardly, and the beautiful princess would rather kill herself than marry him. Also, the beautiful princess is a bit dim. :->

But not many movies have done a very good job of making fun of high fantasy. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good opportunities to do so.

So: What movies (or other entertainments) do a good job of sending up high fantasy? By “other entertainments” I mean, TV show or individual episodes, comic books, video games, novels, and so on.

Following that exchange above, commenter fraz immediately responded:

What about Python’s “Holy Grail”? Does that fall into the category?

Absolutely. Things like the asinine blessing of the Holy Hand Grenade and the ridiculous and pointless quest questions at the bridge, Holy Grail understands what’s so preposterous about high fantasy and how to puncture it. And, notably, it does so with an abundance of raunch and vulgarity. It just isn’t completely stupid about how it uses those things.

What are the other good sendups? Why are there so few? Is there something peculiar about high fantasy that flummoxes those attempting to make fun of it? Or is sendup as a genre itself so typically poorly done that we shouldn’t be surprised when any single go at it fails?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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