Friday, June 4, 2010

Argument to the film, Quest to Camelot

I like a lot of animated films, even though most of them are early Disney and all of Hayao Miyazaki’s works. Recently however, through the Internet, a lot of people have been talking about an animated film that is either loved or hated. The movie in question is called Quest for Camelot, which was released by Warner Brothers and directed by Frederik Du Chau. Now admittedly, I had never heard of this film, and only saw it once on television and thought it was okay, but I recently got interested in seeing it again, by the Nostalgic Critic on thatguywiththeglasses.com. Like I said above, a lot of people like it or hate it, and I don’t really belong to either side. A head’s up however, this isn’t a review or a rant. These are just my thoughts on the movie itself and my comments toward its highs and lows. I will be splitting this up into a few segments like characters, music, and just the whole feel of the movie compared to some other Disney films.

Let’s start off with characters. We will begin with the main protagonists, then move down to secondary characters, and finally the villains. The main hero of the movie is a young woman named Kayley voiced by Jessalyn Gilsig, who is a daughter of one of the past Knights of the Round Table. I say past since the main villain of the movie killed him. She then grows up to be a girl who wants more from life than what she already has. She is basically the main mold for any Disney princess. Now, some people have said that she looks like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I somewhat disagree. I say this because she doesn’t look like Belle, well, she would if she was younger, but still. The reason why I agree is because of her personality since she is mostly like Belle in the film. I say this also because she lives on the farm and her song sequence is about the same as Belle’s. Next, we’ve got our hot male hero named Garret, voiced by Cary Elwes. Yes, he is handsome and such, but there is something different about him that makes him better than most of the Disney males. The sole reason I like him more than other male heroes is that he is blind. Yeah, I said, he is handsome, but blind. In the film, it is explained that he became blind when he was young in an accident where a horse stepped on his face when the farm he worked at caught on fire. A weird thing that he has in common with Kayley’s father is that her father trained him to fight. I have to say, I also like Garret since he fights a lot better than Daredevil ever could. Now, we must move onto secondary protagonists. In films like these, we would usually get one or two, but what about a two-headed secondary character? Well, we have that in the form of a two-headed dragon named Devon and Cornwall, who are each voiced by Eric Idle and Don Rickle. These guys are like the Genie from Aladdin, since they do a lot of references to things that don’t exist yet like the Genie did. A lot of the jokes they say are not that funny to a 20 year-old like me, but it is humor little kids might like, which is weird since Eric Idle and Don Rickle are famous comedians and they do play off each other nicely in the film and do have a few good inside jokes here to there that kids won’t understand.

So, let’s get down to the villains. The main villain of the film is an evil knight named Ruber, who is basically your typical villain who is greedy and underhanded, and will do anything to get what he wants. Weirdly enough, famous actor Gary Oldman plays him in the film. There are a few things I do like about him and a lot of things I don’t like. Let’s start with the good. I do like the servants he has. He uses a potion and mixes his normal henchmen with weapons to make them iron soldiers of sorts. I will admit I do like the iron soldier idea since they do look cool. I also like how he merges his right arm with Excalibur, and looks cool. Now, let’s move to the bad. I just don’t like his design. Subtle is great in a villain isn’t it? I mean he looks like a good guy, but then turns out to be a bad guy? That’s how it should work in films, but no, they make him evil from the start. He also has a gag-like thing where his eye twitches a lot, and it’s just annoying, and not one bit evil, in my opinion. I mean, look at villains like Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast. He is normal, but disturbed, and in the end turns out to be evil. In Quest for Camelot, Ruber is just evil, but he doesn’t do it as well as Disney film villains. I’m not saying any of the voice acting is bad for any of the characters, but it just isn’t executed as well as Disney films.

Let’s get jiggy with the music in the movie. Since this film was trying to take down Disney, this film does have musical numbers. Some are better than others, but only a few. I am only going to be talking about two of them since I think the others are just not that good. The two I am going to talk about is Garret’s number and Ruber’s song. Let’s start with Garret. His song is mostly the “stand up on your own and rise above expectations.” but I like the sound of the singer, Bryan White. It’s a nice song to listen to, and has been stuck in my head for a while now. While it isn’t anything different from other songs like this, it just sounds good. Moving on to Ruber’s song, I was surprised by Gary Oldman’s singing voice. He actually did a pretty good job. The song is evil and is basically like the song, Be Prepared, from Lion King. The reason why I am comparing Ruber’s song to this one is because they are somewhat the same, getting an army ready for the villain’s plan.
For example, here is a link to the song, Be Prepared, from Lion King from Youtube.com and the link to Ruber’s song from Quest for Camelot. The first link is the Lion King one, just in case people get confused. They both have that kind of “talk and sing at the same time” thing going on, but Jeremy Irons does a better job at showing Scar’s slimy nature. Nothing against Gary Oldman, but I think he could have easily gone over the song a few more times to get it right, but it is some what menacing with the whole mechanical army.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0AiN8vrn9Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIZ-OloTwmM&feature=related

Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s get to my main complaints about this film. During the film, there are a lot of subtle references to Warner Brothers making it like “Hey kids, we don’t want you to forget we made this, and you could easily be seeing a better made Disney movie!” For example, when Ruber shows the green potion that fuses metal and flesh together, it shows Acme, which is a company from the Looney Toons universe. Why is that needed? It doesn’t make any sense. I would have been happier to see some kind of made up magical words on the bottle. A couple more are seen during the Dragon’s musical number (if you can get through it). You basically see one of the dragons fall off a cliff similar to the Road Runner cartoons and you also see a red headed girl, which was shown from a lot of Tex Avery cartoons that I can recall. I know I typed a whole paragraph about this, but it just bugs the heck out of me each time I see it. Another thing I don’t like is the design for the dragon character. I know this is a kid’s film, but kids aren’t stupid and the dragon didn’t need a stupid design, but that is just me. This leads to my next point, this film isn’t as dark as Disney films can be. It seems like third-party studios can’t accept that kids don’t like stupid jokes and horribly written dialogue. This is why the Disney films and the Pixar films are really good, since they treat everyone equally and don’t make the parents or kids feel excluded from the film. My final complaint was also a very common complaint from the Nostalgic Critic, a lot of things are not explained during the film. I mean, there are a few things that are explained, like Garret’s blindness and where Ruber got the magic potion, but a lot of things don’t seem explained. Another thing is that there is little to NOTHING about the Camelot legend. It’s very annoying, and it just seems like they were a bunch of rejected ideas from other Camelot stories, put together. If you are going to have a film based on the King Arthur Legend, then include the story in the film!

Overall, I like this film as a popcorn flick. It’s a film that you could watch, even though it’s a bad film. This is a film that families could start out showing their kids, then just move onto bigger and better films like the Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and Studio Ghibli films. I would say it’s like the game Dark Void, one rental and then never see again. Warner Brothers makes better cartoons than better films. As an animated film fan, I say skip it if you’re as old as me, but for new families or new parents, show it to your kids and then send it right back and get Ponyo.
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