Black Knight Preview

As John Travolta dances his heart out in their dreamworld, Rich and Poe’s heart sink deeper with each hip thrust. Travolta is bringing the heat like a sultry night in Havana. “It’s just so dirty,” Rich says in stunned admiration. “Filthy, really,” Poe agrees, his bright eyes brimming with tears. Breathing hard and wiping sweat from his well bronzed and eerily smooth brow, Travolta manages to just gasp out, “That’ll… show you… what it’s like.” Confused, Rich and Poe temporarily fear that what they have truly won’t be enough and perhaps they will know what it’s like. Knowing that fear can’t stop them trying, they nonetheless start their mesmerizing twin dance routine. Years of training have perfected not only their physiques, but also their dance moves. They move in unison and Travolta’s eyes bug out in amazement. But it’s not enough. Poe’s jaw clenches in frustration as even their dirtiest of dance routines can’t match Travolta’s absolutely disgusting moves. Rich still shows no fear, though, and just as the sweat on their muscles hits peak magnitude he signals to Poe and they simultaneously rip off their shirts, leaving them clad only in their sweat-soaked jorts. The beam of light bursts from Rich’s chest and gleams off Poe’s sweaty pectoral muscles. It’s like a supernova and in the blinding brightness they hear a final “nooooooooooo… never forget meeeeeeee!” from Travolta. As their eyes adjust, they find themselves in a boggy swamp and hear the faint words of Travolta, “Now all of time and all of Earth is our Battlefield.” They know this is the fourth and final trial. They just don’t know when it is. Suddenly a armor clad knight gallops up to the swamp and cocks his head, “Sirs Sklogsalot? What are you doing in that swamp?” he asks. That’s right! We’re watching Black Knight starring Martin Lawrence where he is transported back to the Middle Ages a la A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. We’re really watching it because of the promise of Big Momma’s House. If it can approach even a fraction of that film then we’ll be in a good spot. Let’s go!

Black Knight (2001) – BMeTric: 65.5; Notability: 39 

(The rating is a lot lower than I would have expected, which is basically the entire reason the BMeTric is so high. You know what is a bit odd? I feel like when I started making these plots it looked like the IMDb votes were just increasing with no bound. I think this makes it a bit more clear that around 2011 (which I previously pinpointed to the moment IMDb got a phone app) the vote counts increased, and now the votes are mostly tailing off for older films … could be. Only time will tell.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A 21st-century homeboy who works at a run-down medieval theme park is magically transported back to 14th century England, where he must use his wits to survive, and forms an alliance with a disgraced knight (Wilkinson) to help restore a deposed queen to the throne. Comedy vehicle for Lawrence gives you pretty much what you expect, though it would have meant a lot more if a better more famous actress had played the queen.

(Interesting to condemn the film partially on just not getting a big actress for the queen? Although I guess I could see it. It would be like if you got a rando to play the part of the escaped convict in Big Momma’s House. Some of the power of the film is that they kind of randomly have Terrence Howard as the headliner of the B-plot of the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw7dzS8UJ4Q/

(The ending there is not what you want. As a matter of fact for family entertainment the trailer gives the impression of a much more sexually explicit film that one would expect.  But otherwise the film looks a bit like Big Momma’s House,  a vehicle for Lawrence’s brand of very physical and brash humor.)

Directors – Gil Junger – (Known For: Think Like a Dog; 10 Things I Hate About You; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: Huge television director, probably most notable for 29 episodes of Ellen for which he was nominated for an Emmy. Seems to work on kids’ programming mostly these days.)

Writers – Darryl Quarles (written by) (as Darryl J. Quarles) – (BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Notes: The Big Momma sequels are actually just characters, so this is the one true big budget follow up to Big Momma. He was a producer on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.)

Peter Gaulke (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Strange Wilderness; Notes: Was a gymnast at UCLA and would work his skills into his comedy routines when he was coming up. Wrote for SNL.)

Gerry Swallow (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie; Ratchet & Clank; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Notes: Was a stand-up comedian in Seattle before moving to LA. Clearly was the writing partner with Gaulke for a time, although not recently it would seem. Writes under the pen name Dr. Cuthbert Soup.)

Actors – Martin Lawrence – (Known For: Bad Boys for Life; Do the Right Thing; Bad Boys; The Beach Bum; Life; House Party; Boomerang; Death at a Funeral; Open Season; Future BMT: College Road Trip; Rebound; National Security; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins; House Party 2; Blue Streak; A Thin Line Between Love and Hate; Bad Boys II; Nothing to Lose; BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Wild Hogs; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son in 2012; Notes: Television star with Martin in the 90s, and then movie star in the 00s. After his divorse he seemed to kind of retire until the Bad Boys For Life this year. Notably almost died while running in extreme heat in preparation for Big Momma’s House.)

Marsha Thomason – (Known For: Priest; Future BMT: The Haunted Mansion; Long Time Dead; The Tripper; My Baby’s Daddy; Caffeine; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: British. Mostly a television star including a long stint on White Collar, and 11 episodes of Lost.)

Tom Wilkinson – (Known For: Selma; Batman Begins; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Burden; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; The Patriot; Michael Clayton; Sense and Sensibility; Rush Hour; In the Name of the Father; RocknRolla; Snowden; Valkyrie; Shakespeare in Love; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Green Hornet; In the Bedroom; Belle; The Ghost; Future BMT: The Titan; Good People; Jenny’s Wedding; The Samaritan; Burke and Hare; The Catcher Was a Spy; Essex Boys; A Good Woman; A Business Affair; Little Boy; BMT: Black Knight; Unfinished Business; The Lone Ranger; The Choice; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars (In the Bedroom, and Michael Clayton). A huge character actor, especially in the 90s and early 00s.)

Budget/Gross – $50,000,000 / Domestic: $33,426,971 (Worldwide: $39,976,235)

(Pretty horrible bomb. It is pretty surprising Big Momma’s House 2 was made considering that. Although maybe 9/11 played a part in the depressed box office in the end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (14/98): Black Knight feels like a lazily constructed movie, filled with lame gags and constant mugging from Lawrence.

(Constant mugging from Lawrence? What else are you expecting? Did you watch Martin? Did you watch Big Momma’s House? Bizarre consensus take. Reviewer Highlight: Martin Lawrence [stars] as a theme park worker who falls into a scummy moat and surfaces in the Middle Ages — perhaps in search of people who would find his humor fresh and original. No such luck. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.)

Poster – Sir Sklogsalot

(This is a shockingly bad poster. Like… parody poster made as a prop for a different film level of bad. I can give it some props for trying to do something with the font but that’s basically it. It’s actually hard to look at. D.)

Tagline(s) – He’s About To Get Medieval On You. (B)

(It works. This got me thinking about where and when this phrase became popular enough to be a tagline. “Getting medieval on your ass” seemed pretty current. Turns out it is. Popularized in Pulp Fiction. A mere seven years and it’s headlining a major motion picture. Not the most clever, but as I said, does the trick.)

Keyword – time travel

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Back to the Future (1985), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Interstellar (2014), Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991), Back to the Future Part II (1989), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), Deadpool 2 (2018)

Future BMT: 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 62.9 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014), 59.5 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 56.2 Land of the Lost (2009), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 49.3 Mannequin: On the Move (1991), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 43.0 Freejack (1992), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983), 33.6 The Time Machine (2002);

BMT: Assassin’s Creed (2016), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), The Lake House (2006), Jumper (2008), Timeline (2003), Lost in Space (1998), Paycheck (2003), Black Knight (2001), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(Wow we’ve watched a ton of these! Seems pretty consistent over time. Maybe depressed a bit in the late-90s, although I don’t really have a theory as to why. I’m excited to watch Freejack if I have to choose any of the films in the Future BMT list.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Martin Lawrence is No. 1 billed in Black Knight and No. 3 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The scene where Princess Regina trips over her bed sheets was not scripted, Jeannette Weegar really did trip and fall, but the director liked it so it was kept and put in the final cut.

Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism helped in the historical recreation of this movie by providing consulting work and playing as extras. (Ha!)

Chris Tucker was originally cast as Jamal Walker. (Huh, interesting. So I assume Quarles was hired onto the film to rewrite once they secured Martin Lawrence)

Martin Lawrence was paid $20 million for his work on the film.

In the DVD commentary, it was said that the black horse that Jamal rode at the end of his dream was taught to rear on command.

Based on the book “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain

The film was rushed by Fox after the attacks on 9/11 to be released much sooner than it was intended. The film was slated for a Winter/Spring 2002 release and had just started the post-production process when Director Gil Junger and was called by the studio to speed up the editing on the film for a November 2001 release date to capitalize on family friendly entertainment, comedies, dramas and thrillers which some studios were filling with after having to reschedule films that were deemed too sensitive for that period of time. (Pretty gross)

The second of two films starring Martin Lawrence in 2001. The other was “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?” co-starring Danny DeVito.

A Sound of Thunder Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the first in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

A Sound of Thunder (2005) – BMeTric: 72.0

asoundofthunder_bmet

asoundofthunder_rv

(Oh those sweet summer children who gave this good reviews initially. It is a bit shocking that it is that high actually. The CGI alone I would have imagined would have dropped it into the 3’s.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In Chicago, 2055, a company takes expeditions back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Precautions are taken, but (of course) something goes wrong, and a tiny change in the past sends alterations down through time that our heroes try to set right. Misguided expansion of Ray Bradbury short story with mediocre effects and a confusing script. It’s easy to see why this stayed on the shelf so long. Filmed in 2002.

(“Mediocre effects” is extremely kind even in 2005. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was released in 2001 and this is like … five years prior to that level of quality. And they had full creates in CGI. It is too much. It just look like garbage. It sat on the shelf, I believe, because they were trying to finish the really bad looking CGI.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTmKsKhMcIg

(The beginning is pretty crazy. I understand why they put it in there, but that isn’t part of the film. And weirdly the CGI doesn’t look that bad in the trailer. Which makes sense, you’re trying to trick people into seeing the film.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Stay Tuned; Sudden Death; Outland; Timecop; Capricorn One; Running Scared; The Star Chamber; The Presidio; Enemies Closer; Hanover Street; Narrow Margin; Future BMT: The Musketeer; End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: One of the few writer/directors of major films who also serves as his own cinematographer.)

Writers – Ray Bradbury (short story) – ((Known For: Fahrenheit 451; Moby Dick; Something Wicked This Way Comes; King of Kings; It Came from Outer Space; The Illustrated Man; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; Future BMT: Fahrenheit 451; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A close friend of both Ray Harryhausen (who was best man at his wedding) and Gene Roddenberry. Perhaps the greatest American Science Fiction writer.)

Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (screen story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Penned a first draft of the long-awaited and always-upcoming Uncharted film based on the Playstation video game.)

Gregory Poirier (screenplay) – (Known For: Rosewood; Future BMT: Tomcats; The Spy Next Door; See Spot Run; Gossip; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; A Warrior’s Tail; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: Born in Hawaii, and apparently wrote a draft for Superman Returns.)

Actors – Edward Burns – (Known For: Saving Private Ryan; The Holiday; 27 Dresses; She’s the One; The Brothers McMullen; Friends with Kids; Confidence: After Dark; The Fitzgerald Family Christmas; Sidewalks of New York; The Groomsmen; Newlyweds; Future BMT: Life or Something Like It; Echelon Conspiracy; 15 Minutes; Man on a Ledge; Ash Wednesday; No Looking Back; BMT: One Missed Call; A Sound of Thunder; Alex Cross; Notes: Has a brother Brian Burns with whom he owns a production company called Irish Twins … presumably because they are, in fact, brothers born within a calendar year.)

Ben Kingsley – (Known For: Schindler’s List; The Jungle Book; Iron Man 3; Shutter Island; Operation Finale; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Hugo; Ender’s Game; The Dictator; Knight of Cups; War Machine; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dave; Lucky Number Slevin; Gandhi; The Walk; Sexy Beast; Transsiberian; House of Sand and Fog; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Thunderbirds; The Last Legion; War, Inc.; The Ten Commandments; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Collide; Suspect Zero; Slipstream; Rules of Engagement; Self/less; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; An Ordinary Man; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: The Love Guru; A Sound of Thunder; Species; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for BloodRayne; and in 2009 for The Love Guru, The Wackness, and War, Inc.; Notes: Ferdinand Kingsley, his son, is a notable television actor, including an appearance in Doctor Who.)

Catherine McCormack – (Known For: Braveheart; 28 Weeks Later; Spy Game; Dangerous Beauty; Shadow of the Vampire; Magic in the Moonlight; The Tailor of Panama; The Journey; The Land Girls; Strings; Renaissance; Dancing at Lughnasa; Born Romantic; Future BMT:The Weight of Water; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A British actress who appears to have more recently been performing in the theatre, including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $1,900,451 (Worldwide: $11,665,465)

(A truly catastrophic bomb. As a matter of fact, if you dug into it, it might actually be one of the worst box office bombs in history, or at least since 2000)

#78 for the Creature Feature genre

soundofthunder_creaturefeature

(The lowest grossing film we’ve done in the genre. After this it is pretty obvious everyone looked around at each other and said “yup, that’s about enough of those for now, we should wait a bit before tricking people into watching more of these.”)

#77 for the Future – Near genre

soundofthunder_future

(2012 is by far the most successful BMT film of the genre. It has blown up since 2010, plausibly because we still are in a dystopian kick. I’m surprised Hunger Games doesn’t qualify as Near Future as I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what actually kick started things in 2012.)

#48 for the Time Travel genre

soundofthunder_timetravel

(Only Timeline and this amazingly. There are plenty in the future though (heyyyyooooo, get it?). Unfortunately Timecop doesn’t qualify, but we do get to watch The Time Machine again …)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (6/99): Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task.

(Somewhat oddly most of the reviews don’t seem to mention the special effects. Which makes me wonder if they actually watched the film. It is literally the craziest thing you’ll see (unless you watch hundreds of bad films … it is still top ten craziest thing I’ve seen in a BMT film, no joke). Reviewer Highlight: So perfect in its awfulness, it makes one seriously consider a theory of unintelligent design. – Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – A Sklog of Thunder (C+)

sound_of_thunder

(I hate the font. It looks super silly and I don’t think it gets across anything important about the film. The red hand and butterfly is interesting, although perhaps feels more like a horror film? I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. I like the style outside of the writing, so I’ll go above average for it., even if it looks a bit cheap)

Tagline(s) – Some Rules Should Never Be Broken. (D)

(First, it sounds like a tagline, but it isn’t. It is a tautology. Of course there are rules that should never be broken. They are rules. Second, what is even the rule being broken here? The butterfly effect rule? The sound of thunder rule? Neither. The actual rule broken? Don’t turn off the biofilter on your time machine … yeah, I’m not sure the tagline is getting that across. But it sounds nice, so it isn’t an F.)

Keyword(s) – time travel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 73.8 The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006); 72.0 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 71.4 S. Darko (2009); 67.7 Black Knight (2001); 65.8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.1 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015); 58.1 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 53.1 Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996);

(The Seeker doesn’t have time travel according to Box Office Mojo, but whatever. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III though, now that is a ridiculous and pointless film.)

Notes – Renny Harlin was fired from the production, because he made a creative decision that made Ray Bradbury very unhappy, and this film’s producers decided to support Ray Bradbury.

One major reason for the film’s long delay is that the original production company went bankrupt during post-production, and there simply wasn’t money to finish the film. (Which is why the CGI is absolutely the worst thing you’ll ever see)

Production was slowed when severe floods in the summer of 2002 in the Czech Republic caused considerable damage to the set.

This film was originally set for release in 2003.

Spota’s supermarket is a reference to director Peter Hyams’s wife’s family name.

The T.A.M.I. acronym stands for “Time Alteration Manipulator Interface”

When Hatton (Ben Kingsley) receives his clients after their time safari, he likes to compare them with great explorers: Marco Polo, Columbus, Armstrong… and he also says “like Brubaker on Mars”, remembering a future (past for him) conquest of the Red Planet. Brubaker was the name of the commander of the Mars expedition in the film Capricorn One (1977), also directed by Peter Hyams. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Based on the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

Pierce Brosnan and director Renny Harlin were originally attached to this film. (See above note about Harlin)

The film takes place millions of years in the past and in 2055. (I can’t wait to see if that 2055 is made explicit, I honestly cannot remember)

A video game based on the film was released for the Game Boy Advance. It also had been considerably delayed, and ended up coming out slightly before the film, in March 2005. It was an overhead shooter with some driving stages, and included support for co-op and deathmatch multiplayer via link cable. A third-person action-adventure shooter based on The Thing (2002) engine was being developed by Computer Artworks for BAM! Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but ended up being cancelled. Its plot differed from that of the film: the changes in the course of evolution were not an accident, but acts of terrorism caused by a Luddite cult. The “present” time was also changed to 2038. The game was to have nine missions taking place in both the past and present. Real-life bands would have been hired to provide the music. (I have to definitely never play that game because that would be a huge waste of time)

The change in the timeline is caused by a single butterfly. This probably alludes to the so called “butterfly effect” in which a small change in one state of a system can result in large differences in a later state.