Saturday, November 9, 2013

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives (2004)

Director: Nigel Miller

Writer: Terry Jones

Composer: David Mitcham

Starring: Terry Jones, Robert Stone, Peter Barber, Faye Getz and more people with prestigeous degrees that exceed my own

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Rescuing the Middle Ages from Well-Worn Cliches and Platitudes

Plot:  Terry Jones has been leafing through the history books to find out what the medieval world was really like. What he discovered is a treasure trove of extraordinary stories and characters that challenge the tired traditional stereotypes we all grew up with. With the help of animated medial paintings, these wonderful tales bring the Middle Ages vividly to life in all its corruption, violence and greed, courage, enterprise and learning. Anyone who enjoys Chaucer and Rabelais will be familiar with the early humor of the time, but few people know about the dark side of chivalry or that women and serfs were not downtrodden creatures at all. Each episode explores the role and function of a different medieval archetype.

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Like Jones' later documentary series that explored ancient Rome, TERRY JONES' BARBARIANS (2006), this one sticks to a particular time period and place - Europe in the Middle Ages.  It's more humorous than BARBARIANS but it's not less fascinating.  Each episode deals with a different archetype and it's interesting how Jones puts a different spin on each of them, in effect changing the way you think about such things as jesters, damsels in distress, knights, etc.  It's a fun time destroying your preconceptions on what you thought you know and how you learned it.  In the past 8 years I've already watched both series twice and they don't get old.  Learning is fun. 

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