Everybody wants a piece of the Disney animated pie. It’s too bad that most of the newcomers, such as Warner Brothers’ Quest for Camelot, concentrate more on replicating the Disney formula of story elements, and less on the overall quality of animation.
Quest for Camelot tells the tale of Kayley (Jessalyn Gilsig speaking, Andrea Corr singing), a young girl who dreams of being a knight of the round table in Camelot, just like her father, Sir Lionel (Gabriel Byrne). She gets a chance to prove herself when the exiled knight Sir Ruber (Gary Oldman) hatches a plan to steal King Arthur’s famous sword Excalibur, along with Kayley’s mother, The Lady Juliana (Jane Seymour).
But when Ruber loses the sword in the Forbidden Forest, Kayley sees it as her chance to recover the lost weapon for the King. (The film never quite explains why all the knights of the round table are simply sitting on their thumbs back in Camelot.) Evading Sir Ruber and his legion of half-human half-weapon henchmen, Kayley teams up with the blind hermit Garrett (Cary Elwes speaking, Bryan White singing), his seeing-eye falcon, and a two headed dragon, Devon and Cornwall (Eric Idle and Don Rickles).
The animation of Quest for Camelot is very inconsistent. There are a few key shots which are done very well (The Forbidden Forest vs. the Griffin, for example, or the attack of the fire breathing dragons). The rest of the film is shortchanged. It ranges from barely passable to glaringly awful. Kids who watch the film may not care, but apparently neither do the filmmakers.
The story follows a standard formula, and there’s not much to surprise anyone here. They might be trying to score some points by having a female hero and a blind sidekick (who only acts blind on the rare occasions the script calls for it), but that’s about the only thing unusual in the film. Even the songs seemed tired and routine, having no individual flavor or style.
There are a few nice touches here and there (the liveliness of the Forbidden Forest is interesting, and a few passing moments of humor, but for the most part, Quest for Camelot is dull and lifeless (particularly when compared to the average Disney cartoon, or even Fox’s Anastasia.)
Children may get a kick out of seeing the film once or twice, though it doesn’t bear the hallmarks of being a child’s favorite must-watch film. Adults, on the other hand, will simply have to suffer through.