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Voices by Jessalyn Gilsig, Cary Elwes, Gabriel Byrne, Gary Oldman, Pierce Brosnan, Eric Idle, Don Rickles, Sir John Gielgud Screenplay by Kirk De Micco and William Schifrin and Jacqueline Feather & David Seidler
Based on the novel "The King's Damosel" by Vera Chapman
Songs by David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager
Directed by Frederik Du Chau
Website: www.quest4camelot.com

IN SHORT: Great for kids. Painless for grownups

Warner Brothers animation rolls out its first, fully animated big screen offering, a clever take on the various Camelot stories which wisely takes Lancelot and Guinevere out of the story. For that matter, Arthur and Merlin are mere supporting characters as Quest for Camelot concentrates on the goings on outside of court, spotlighting Kayley (voice of Jessalyn Gilsig), the daughter of Round Table knight Sir Lionel (Gabriel Byrne). Once upon a time, Lionel was murdered while defending King Arthur (Pierce Brosnan) against renegade knight Sir Ruber (Gary Oldman). Ten years later, Ruber leads a successful attack on Camelot utilizing the mythical Griffin to steal Excalibur. Kayley is determined to find the sword after it is lost in the Forbidden Forest and her mother (Jane Seymour) is taken hostage by Ruber.

There's an abundance of story here and a paucity (thank you thank you) of talking animals. The cute factor is wrapped up in one hysterical pair of performances by Eric Idle and Don Rickles, as the two headed dragon Devon and Cornwall and the love interest is a blind hermit named Garrett (Cary Elwes).

Animation fiend that Cranky is, he can say affirmatively that the work here is first rate. Director Frederik Du Chau has held back on the CGI, using it sparingly in ways that deliberately draws attention to itself. One fearsome character, an ogre, is full CGI and while the effect is nice, the character just ain't scary. The big positives are in the script which is terrific. Using the most famous of Arthurian legends, the Sword in the Stone, Quest for Camelot delivers a story that is literally all new and engaging. It will captivate kids and has enough references to grown up flicks like Friday the Thirteenth and Taxi Driver and Apollo 13 to surprise us old folks.

Problem is, just like almost every other animated feature Cranky has sat through, Quest for Camelot is filled to the brim with way too many same sounding sound bad songs. Every time the story gets moving, a song stops it dead in its tracks. The sole exception is a frenetic, novelty number done by the dragon. After what seemed like half a dozen or so interruptions, the things started to get downright annoying. It's petty stuff like this that makes me thankful for video.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for Quest For Camelot, he would have paid . . .

$5.00

Quest for Camelot is the kind of music my 8-year old niece would adore, which pretty much puts me in my place. The six year old nephew would like the action and, over all, Quest For Camelot isn't hard to sit through for adults, either.


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