Have you ever watched a movie with expensive cars in it, or a very plausible space ship interior? Ever wondered what it cost to the film makers to have the expensive car in the film being driven around, abused and even wrecked, or the space ship interior being build? Have you ever seen a movie set in the middle ages with an even remotely plausible set of armour in it? I am not talking about Game of Thrones, or the Lord of the Rings as accurate descriptions of medieval history. But movies set on some particular date from actual history. I have seen some, that could pass, if one was not very knowledged in medieval armour and with the understandable suspense of disbelief in any movies. But most seem to have these terrible pieces of armour bought from the sale at the cheapest costume shop in the internet, and all the medieval people including the armoured knights and men-at-arms seem like they woke up in a dump, wearing rags and scrap metal attached to leather around their bodies. Why? Are the production values for medieval movies lesser than any other sort of movies?

Here is a short film, about the mobility of armour, with a couple of very good reproductions of accurately brightly polished 15th century armour and a couple of the most simple of historical techniques actually found in contemporary sources. Notice also how they demonstrate the fact, that hitting the armour with a sword is a wasted effort:

Any number of sports cars in movies are a lot more expensive than a good quality reproduction of a suit of armour is – that one can find from the markets these days. Why is it then, that movie makers do not invest in this, even when they are making a movie about medieval times with seemingly big budget? Because the audience does not know what an armour should look like? Because the movie makers and the audience expect medieval times to be dark, damp, ragged and dirty? I have no idea what the interior of a future space ship should look like. Do you? But it is obvious, that when the movie makers want the audience to have that particular suspense of disbelief to set in instinctively, they put a lot of effort and money into making the set seem plausible, and not just something they found from a garbage dump.

Perhaps, the problem is, that people do expect certain things from a sports car, space ship interior, and alas an armour in a movie. That previous movies have set the example, that forms much more so, than the actual reality, what to expect. Like the fact, that in movies a car is supposed to explode when it plunges from the road? Or a space ship interior is supposed to have the captain’s seat in the middle of the room? Armour of the bad guys is supposed to be made out of riveted black leather?

The other reason might – just might – be, that the film makers, directors, art directors, costumers and all, have no clue as to what armour really looked like and any remotely sword shaped piece of scrap metal, passes as an actual sword. It seems also, that they have no real interrest to even bother to find out. But why not? Would not a film about fast cars be more applauded, if it did not have the typical movie mistakes, like bursting into flame when all the wheels are off ground? Or a space ship interior presented as no-one had seen one before, for example the captain’s seat in the roof upside down, or something? After all, in space there is no gravity to hold the crew on some common floor and digital graphics can work wonders. What about a totally new concept of making a medieval movie and finding out what the alledged period really looked like and investing in better quality of armour, weapons, and fight coreographs who actually know something about medieval fencing? Why would that be too hard? These items and people are around. If you ever need any and do not know how to find them, contact me.

I do realize that the purpose of films is to satisfy the public at large, who do not know how easily a motorcar explodes. Who expect a space ship interior to be just so as in Star Trek and countless films after it first appeared. Who think they “know”, that the medieval armour is clumsy, bulky and dull, and fights look exactly like the mad hacking, or kung fu jumps in their video games. However, would it not serve the movie, as a piece of art work to stand out from the mass, to promote it widely in the eyes of people who are actually interrested in the subject, be it cars, space ships, or medieval times, that the enthusiasts of the subject would notice the effort to quality? Especially these days, when word gets around in the social media and as such it can serve as advertisment and promote the sale of tickets. Would it not ultimately even serve the egoes of the directors and others responsible, that they actually achieved quality?

I for one am quite sure, that if the general public would even once see a medieval movie, with some high quality reproduction armour and nifty fencing moves taken straigth from the actual medieval fencing manuals, even the most ignorant of the audience would be impressed. It might go against some of their pre-set biases, but seeing is believing, and it might be a box office hit as well. Well, if the film was any good otherwise, anyway…

Do you have an example of a good medieval movie in wich the armour and/or fighting was plausible?

Advertisements