[Screen It]


(1998) (voices of Jessalyn Gilsig, Cary Elwes) (G)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
None None Heavy *Moderate Mild
Minor None Moderate None None
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
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Children's Animated: The teenage daughter of a Knight of the Round Table, accompanied by a young, blind hermit, attempts to retrieve Excalibur and return it to Camelot while avoiding a fallen Knight who wants the sword for his own evil purposes.
Kayley (JESSALYN GILSIG, singing by ANDREA CORR) is the teenage daughter of Lady Juliana (JANE SEYMOUR) and the late Sir Lionel (GABRIEL BYRNE), a former Knight of the Round Table. He was killed years ago while defending King Arthur (PIERCE BROSNAN) from Ruber (GARY OLDMAN), a wayward, power hungry Knight, and since then Kayley has dreamed of becoming a Knight herself.

After Ruber kidnaps Lady Juliana in his attempt to storm Camelot, Kayley learns that he's also stolen Excalibur, King Arthur's famous sword. It turns out, however, that it's now missing in the Forbidden Forest, so Kayley sets off for this dark and menacing place that no one dares enter. That is, except for Garrett (CARY ELWES, singing by BRYAN WHITE), a young, but blind hermit who once dreamed of becoming a Knight until he lost his vision in an accident. Trained years earlier by Sir Lionel to hone his fighting skills, Garret has thrived in the dark forest with the help of Ayden, a silver-winged, seeing-eye falcon.

Kayley meets Garrett and they set off to find Excalibur with the aide of a two-headed dragon who has two distinct personalities, named Cornwall (DON RICKLES) and Devon (ERIC IDLE), but can neither fly nor breathe flames. Soon, however, Ruber, his ghoulish henchmen, and his Griffin (BRONSON PINCHOT), a tremendous and fierce looking flying creature, follow Kayley and Garrett deep into the dark and mysterious forest. After many close calls with various villains and other dangerous creatures, Kayley and her team find Excalibur, but must continually deal with the errant ex-Knight who wants to be king.

Being an animated film reminiscent of similar Disney features, younger kids may want to see it.
For not containing material that would warrant a higher rating.
  • KAYLEY is a confidant young woman who wants to become a Knight (an unheard of idea at the time) and proves her abilities by demonstrating courage and intelligence in finding and returning Excalibur to Camelot.
  • GARRETT is a young, but blind hermit who has become a recluse in the Forbidden Forest. Although completely capable of fending for himself, he initially sees his blindness as a permanent obstacle for becoming a Knight. By helping Kayley, however, he proves otherwise.
  • RUBER is an evil and despicable former Knight who will do anything to attain Excalibur and rule Camelot.


    OUR TAKE: 5.5 out of 10
    Fresh off their success of the partially animated film, "Space Jam," and coming from a long line of well-known and beloved cartoon shorts, Warner Brothers has stepped into the full-length, completely animated picture ring with their first release, "Quest For Camelot." While the current king of the genre, Disney, and the recent upstart, Fox -- whose "Anastasia," has raised the animated ante -- have already proven themselves, Warner and this film could face a tough uphill battle in this field.

    Although "Space Jam" did quite well in the U.S. and abroad (over $200 million gross worldwide), it had Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, and the rest of his familiar animated crew. "Quest" has a few well-known characters, but the story of Camelot isn't as familiar and isn't something most kids are anxious to see. That, coupled with the continually diminishing returns of animated films since the high point of "The Lion King," could spell disaster for this generally enjoyable, but certainly not outstanding freshman attempt.

    Projections aside, "Quest For Camelot" is a mixed bag across the board. At times -- and especially early in the story -- the animation is well below what we've come to expect from Disney and now Fox. While not as bad as Saturday morning TV programs, some of the animation is quite flat and the characters, none of which are as realistic as other recent animated flicks, often float across the background instead of blending in with it. At other times, however, the animation looks decent, especially in any of the scenes that are darkly lit that come off as quite three dimensional.

    There are also the now standard and occasionally obtrusive computer animated pieces that sometimes look good -- such as a scene where the camera moves behind the chairs of the Round Table -- while at others look decent, but don't mesh with the rest of the animation -- particularly the scenes dealing with a gargantuan, rock formed Ogre.

    The musical numbers (by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager and Patrick Doyle), while all competent and decent, are nothing to write home about. The litmus test I give movies like this is whether you leave the theater humming any of the tunes or can easily recall any of them without much thought. Most of Disney's features had at least one song that did so -- as did "Anastasia" -- but this one didn't. Additionally, the film has just one sole song, "If I Didn't Have You," for the kids, but it is a fun, high-spirited number featuring Cornwall and Devon, the two-headed dragon.

    Those "two" characters (two heads, one body) provide for most of the film's humor, although Warner has also placed some self-referential bits featuring many of their past films in this one. Watch for a flying rescue scene and theme from "Superman," and another playing off Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" signature line that here says, "You feeling plucky?" Of course, they pay some homage to the old Looney Tunes cartoons with Ruber's potion being in an ACME bottle and they take some "aerial" footage straight from those old Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote shorts.

    There's also other movie related material for the adults (the two-headed dragon stating, "Houston, we have a problem," while trying to fly, and a character doing De Niro's famous "You looking at me?" bit (when many one-eyed creatures stare at him), as well as spoofs of the old Sonny and Cher show and Elvis from his Vegas years. Finally, there's a direct poke at Disney with the cub lifting introduction scene from "The Lion King" being replaced by Devon holding up Cornwall as "The Dragon King."

    Both parents and their kids seemed to moderately enjoy this film and overall it's a decent, escapist bit of entertainment. However, in light of, and compared with, other recent animated releases, it has to be seen as something of a disappointment. With occasionally subpar animation, non- memorable musical numbers, and mostly run-of-the-mill characters (beyond the novelty of one being blind, we have the buxom and confidant young woman with doe-like eyes who had a parent die, the muscular and evil villain, etc...) there's nothing that really makes this picture stand out. While that will keep this from becoming an animated classic, it still comes off as an okay picture as long as you don't expect much from it. We give "Quest For Camelot" a 5.5 out of 10.

    Much like other recent animated films, this pictures features comical and threatening violence (characters hitting others for laughs, or in an attempt to inflict harm or death) as well as more than an average amount of scenes that may be scary or unnerving to younger kids (depending on their age and maturity level). Beyond that, most of the other categories are void of objectionable material. Even so, and since many younger kids might want to see it, we suggest that you look through the material to determine how appropriate this release is for them.

  • None.
  • None.
  • Obviously Ruber and his henchman have both as they try to steal Excalibur and are willingly to threaten, wound, or kill to get the famous sword. In addition, some may see Ruber using a magic potion (in an ACME bottle) to convert his henchmen into more foreboding "monsters" as having both.
  • Despite his many talents and capabilities, Garrett has a little toward himself when he believes that the only place for him is in solitude in the forbidden forest (due to his blindness).
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be tense to some viewers, especially younger kids. As in most movies like this, however, the listed scenes may or may not be scary to your kids (depending on their age and maturity level).
  • A large menacing looking griffin (with glowing green eyes) crashes through the ceiling of Camelot, lands on the Round table, bites at Arthur and then steals Excalibur.
  • The scenes dealing with the Forbidden Forest may frighten younger kids. In one scene, many skinny, but ghastly looking arms reach up out of its tangled overgrowth and grab at the griffin. In others there are many odd and potentially scary looking creatures that Kayley encounters during her trip into it.
  • Ruber's evil and foreboding appearance may be scary to younger kids.
  • Flames shoot into Lady Juliana's home as Ruber and his henchmen burst in and take Juliana hostage. Ruber then slices Kayley's image from a painting and then beheads that image with a sword or knife (implying what he'll do to the young woman if Juliana doesn't help him).
  • There's a musical number where Ruber uses a magic potion to transform his "normal" henchmen into monstrous creatures (with claws, glowing eyes, etc...).
  • In a scene oddly accompanied by non-frightening music, Ruber's monsters chase Kayley into the forbidden forest and one fires sharpened blades at her.
  • We learn that Kayley, Garrett and the two-headed dragon are entering dragon country and we then see a large shadow fly over them as well as note that Kayley looks frightened. A large dragon then flies after Cornwall and Devon, shooting flames at them. To escape the dragons, the fleeing party must jump from rock to rock above a pool of acid and it gets tense, of course, when Garrett -- who's blind -- has a hard time doing just that (while the dragons are shooting flames at them).
  • We see a flashback to a stable fire and the panicking animals, one of which (a horse) runs into Garrett (leading to his blindness).
  • Kayley and company just manage to get out of the way before an ogre's gargantuan foot lands on them. Later, they attempt to retrieve Excalibur from the sleeping ogre without waking him.
  • Kayley finds herself surrounded by Ruber's henchmen on a narrow walkway.
  • Kids may find the entire ending sequence tense, especially when Ruber screams in pain and dissolves away into nothingness as he's defeated.
  • Spears/Arrows/Swords: Used to threaten or wound various characters. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Shut up," "Moron," "Useless" (as an adjective toward someone), "Knock if off," "Twit," "Nuts" (crazy) and "Jerk."
  • None.
  • There is a moderate amount of suspenseful or scary music in many different scenes throughout the movie.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Kayley learns that her father has been killed, and we see her (as a little girl) crying as the other Knights escort his body back home.
  • The fact that despite Garrett's blindness, he still manages to get along and is quite competent at defending himself and surviving on his own.
  • That Kayley wishes to buck the sexist stereotype of the day about women not being allowed to become knights.
  • The rest of the traditional story about King Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table.
  • While there are many violent scenes, none of them are graphic and are only malicious in the standard cartoon-like way.
  • We see a brief insert image (not full screen) of groups of people fighting.
  • Ruber tries to attack Arthur, and in doing so briefly fights with several other Knights, including Sir Lionel who dies from his wounds. Ruben then tries to strike Arthur with a mallet-like device, but is repelled by Excalibur. As Ruber flees, the other Knights throw spears at him that impale a door.
  • During a musical number, Kayley wings a barrel top across the farm that accidentally hits a rooster on the head.
  • A large menacing looking griffin (with glowing green eyes) crashes through the ceiling of Camelot, lands on the Round table, bites at Arthur and then steals Excalibur. Guards then throw spears at it as well as shoot flaming arrows toward it. Ayden, the falcon, then attacks the griffin causing it to drop the sword.
  • A large rooster hits a smaller rooster on the head for looking at some female chickens.
  • Flames shoot into Lady Juliana's home as Ruber and his henchmen burst in and take Juliana hostage. Ruber then slices Kayley's image from a painting and then beheads that image with a sword or knife (implying what he'll do to the young woman if Juliana doesn't help him).
  • In a scene oddly accompanied by non-frightening music, Ruber's monsters chase Kayley into the Forbidden Forest and one fires sharpened blades at her. Garrett then arrives and hits both of the creatures (including one in the crotch) with his large stick.
  • Several dragons chase and shoot flames at Kayley, Garrett and Devon and Cornwall.
  • Ruber punches a dragon in the face.
  • There are a few scenes where either Devon or Cornwall hits the other, and others where Ruber hits or threatens the griffin (he also hits one of his assistants with a ball and chain).
  • An arrow strafes Garrett on the side, wounding him. He then fights with Ruber's henchmen.
  • An ogre smashes a few of Ruber's henchmen into a wall, but other than being flattened, they appear to be okay.
  • A bad guy holds his sharpened blade to Kayley's neck so that her mother will keep quiet.
  • Ruber fights with many guards (knocking them aside or to the ground) as he enters Camelot. His henchmen then fight with the guards (with the same results). Garrett then knocks two henchmen from a high and narrow walkway after they try to get Kayley.
  • Ayden fights the griffin whom Cornwall and Devon then flame.
  • Ruber knocks Arthur onto the Round table, and tries to strike him with Excalibur. Kayley then swings a large beam into Ruber, knocking him out into the courtyard. In the end, Ruber screams in pain as his body dissolves away into nothingness after Excalibur gets stuck in a stone.

  • Reviewed May 9, 1998

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