Quest for Camelot
|Quest for Camelot|
Theatrical release poster
Designed by John Alvin
|Directed by||Frederik Du Chau|
|Based on||The King's Damosel|
by Vera Chapman
|Music by||Patrick Doyle|
|Edited by||Stanford C. Allen|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$38.1 million|
Quest for Camelot (released in the United Kingdom as The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot) is a 1998 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Warner Bros. Feature Animation and directed by Frederik Du Chau and based on the novel The King's Damosel by Vera Chapman. The film stars Jessalyn Gilsig, Cary Elwes, Frank Welker, Eric Idle, and Don Rickles. Andrea Corr and Bryan White also do singing vocals for two of the main characters.
Quest for Camelot was released by Warner Bros. Pictures under their Family Entertainment label on May 15, 1998. It was a box office bomb, grossing $38.1 million against a budget of $40 million. The film has a 35% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sir Lionel is one of the knights of the Round Table, and his daughter Kayley wants to be a knight like her father. At Camelot, one of the knights, Ruber - wanting to overthrow King Arthur - attempts to kill him, but Lionel intervenes and is killed. Ruber flees Camelot in exile after being rebounded by Arthur's sword Excalibur. During Lionel's funeral, Arthur tells Kayley and her mother, Juliana, that they will be welcomed should they come to Camelot.
A decade later, a griffin attacks Camelot, stealing Excalibur. Merlin's falcon Ayden attacks the griffin and the sword falls into the Forbidden Forest. Meanwhile, Ruber invades Kayley's home, holds everyone hostage and uses a potion he obtained from witches to create steel warriors from his human henchmen and a rooster, who becomes known as Bladebeak. He plans to use Juliana to gain entrance into Camelot.
After escaping and eavesdropping on Ruber and the griffin's conversation, Kayley enters the Forbidden Forest where she encounters Garrett; a blind hermit, and Ayden. Kayley convinces him to help her find Excalibur and learns that Garrett was once a stable boy in Camelot, and was blinded by one of the horses that he was rescuing from a stable fire. Lionel still believed in Garrett, and taught him to adapt.
They enter Dragon Country and meet a comical two-headed dragon named Devon and Cornwall who do not like each other, cannot breathe fire or fly, and want to be two individual dragons. Devon and Cornwall decide to join to the group; Garrett reluctantly agrees after Kayley convinces him.
Later, they find the belt of Excalibur in a giant footprint. Kayley's insistence of questioning Garrett causes him to miss Ayden's signal, and he is injured by one of Ruber's men. Kayley drags Garrett away as the thorn bushed creatures hold Ruber and his men captive, and escorts him into a small cave where the magic of the forest heals Garrett's wounds. While they are in the cave, Kayley and Garrett begin to fall in love. The group goes into a giant cave where a rock-like ogre holds Excalibur, using it as a toothpick. Kayley succeeds in getting Excalibur and they escape before Ruber can get to it.
Exiting the forest with Excalibur, Garrett stays behind, feeling unwanted in Camelot. After he leaves, Ruber kidnaps Kayley and takes Excalibur. Devon and Cornwall, who witness this, rush to Garrett and convince him to save Kayley. By working together for the first time, Devon and Cornwall are able to fly and breathe fire, and they chase the griffin away. Meanwhile, Kayley is bound and gagged in one of the wagons; Bladebeak releases Kayley from her ropes as Garrett comes to her aid and they enter the castle.
Inside, they find Ruber attempting to kill Arthur with Excalibur, now bonded to his arm with his magic potion. Kayley and Garrett intervene and trick Ruber into returning Excalibur to its stone, causing its magic to disintegrate Ruber and revert the mechanical men, including Bladebeak, back to normal. Later, with Camelot restored to its former glory, Kayley and Garrett become knights of the round table.
- Jessalyn Gilsig as Kayley, a teenage girl who wants to be a knight, and saves Camelot.
- Cary Elwes as Garrett, a blind hermit who helps Kayley save Camelot.
- Bryan White does singing vocals for Garrett
- Gary Oldman as Ruber, a former knight that wants to be the king of Camelot. He tries to take Excalibur. He is the main antagonist of the film.
- Eric Idle and Don Rickles as Devon and Cornwall, a two-headed dragon whom Kayley and Garrett meet.
- Jane Seymour as Juliana, Kayley's mother who doubts Kayley being a knight.
- Celine Dion does singing vocals for Juliana.
- Pierce Brosnan as King Arthur, the legendary King of England who resides in Camelot.
- Steve Perry does singing vocals for King Arthur.
- Bronson Pinchot as Griffin, Ruber's pet and enforcer.
- Jaleel White as Bladebeak, a rooster who is transformed with an axe by Ruber.
- Gabriel Byrne as Lionel, Kayley's father who is killed by Ruber.
- Frank Welker as Ayden, Merlin's pet falcon that guides Garrett.
- Sir John Gielgud as Merlin, Arthur's advisor.
In May 1995, The Quest for the Grail was Warner Bros. Feature Animation's first announced project. Bill Kroyer and Frederik Du Chau were announced as the directors, with Sue Kroyer serving as co-producer. The initial story centered around Susannah who embarks on a dangerous quest for the Holy Grail to save her sister from a ruthless and powerful knight. The film was put into production before the story was finalized, but during the fall of 1995, animators were reassigned to finish Space Jam (1996). Meanwhile, in April 1996, Christopher Reeve was cast as King Arthur. During the interim, several story changes were made that resulted in creative differences between the Kroyers and the studio management, in which the Kroyers were allegedly fired by Warner Bros. Feature Animation president Max Howard during the middle of 1996. Following the departure of the Kroyers, two supervising animators along with several employees in the studio's art department subsequently left the project. The film's initial producer, Frank Gladstone, left the project in February 1997 and was replaced with Dalisa Cohen. Effects supervisor Michel Gagné recalled that "People were giving up. The head of layout was kicked out, the head of background, the executive producer, the producer, the director, the associate producer—all the heads rolled. It's kind of a hard environment to work in.":218 Eventually, Du Chau was promoted to be the film's director. Meanwhile, Reeve was replaced by Pierce Brosnan when he became unavailable to record new dialogue.:217
In an article in Animation Magazine, Chrystal Klabunde, the leading animator of Garrett, stated, "It was top heavy. All the executives were happily running around and playing executive, getting corner offices—but very few of them had any concept about animation at all, about doing an animated film. It never occurred to anybody at the top that they had to start from the bottom and build that up. The problems were really coming at the inexperience of everyone involved. Those were people from Disney that had the idea that you just said, 'Do it,' and it gets done. It never occurred to them that it got done because Disney had an infrastructure in place, working like clockwork. We didn't have that.":218 Reportedly, "cost overruns and production nightmares" led the studio to "reconsider their commitment to feature animation." Filmmaker Brad Bird (who helmed The Iron Giant, Warner Bros.' next animated film) thought that micromanaging, which he said had worked well for Disney but not for Warner Bros., had been part of the problem.
The film was mainly animated at the main Warner Bros. Feature Animation facility located in Glendale, California and London, England. In January 1996, the London animation studio was opened where more than 50 animators were expected to animate 20 minutes of animation, which would be sent back to Glendale to be inked-and-painted. Additional studios that worked on the film included Yowza! Animation in Toronto, Ontario, where they assisted in clean-up animation, Heart of Texas Productions in Austin, and A. Film A/S in Copenhagen where, along with London, about a quarter of the film was animated overseas.:218 The supervising animators were Athanassios Vakalis for Kayley, Chrystal Klabunde for Garrett, Cynthia Overman for Juliana, Alexander Williams for Ruber, Dan Wagner for Devon and Cornwall, Stephen Franck for the Griffin and Bladebeak, and Mike Nguyen for Ayden.
To create the rock-like ogre and other computer-generated effects, the production team used Silicon Graphics' Alias Research software. According to Katherine Percy, the head of CGI effects, the software was originally designed for special effects used in live-action films.
|Quest for Camelot: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||May 5, 1998|
|Singles from Quest for Camelot: Music from the Motion Picture|
On January 31, 1996, Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster were attached to compose several songs for the film. The album peaked at #117 on the Billboard 200, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for "The Prayer", and was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, also for "The Prayer" (though it lost the latter to "When You Believe" from DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt).
On the soundtrack, "The Prayer" was performed separately by Celine Dion in English, and by Andrea Bocelli in Italian. The now better-known Dion-Bocelli duet in both languages first appeared in October 1998 on Dion's Christmas album These Are Special Times; it was also released as a single in March 1999 and on Bocelli's album Sogno in April 1999.
|1.||"Looking Through Your Eyes"||LeAnn Rimes||4:06|
|2.||"I Stand Alone"||Steve Perry||3:43|
|3.||"The Prayer"||Celine Dion||2:49|
|4.||"United We Stand"||Steve Perry||3:20|
|5.||"On My Father's Wings"||Andrea Corr||3:00|
|6.||"Looking Through Your Eyes"||The Corrs and Bryan White||3:36|
|8.||"I Stand Alone"||Bryan White||3:26|
|9.||"If I Didn't Have You"||Eric Idle and Don Rickles||2:55|
|10.||"Dragon Attack/Forbidden Forest"||Patrick Doyle||3:14|
|11.||"The Battle"||Patrick Doyle||2:49|
|12.||"Looking Through Your Eyes"||David Foster||3:57|
|13.||"The Prayer" (in Italian)||Andrea Bocelli||4:09|
The film was originally slated for November 1997, but was pushed to May 1998 to give the production team more time to finish the film.
The film was accompanied with a promotional campaign with promotional licensees including Wendy's and Kenner Products. It also partnered with Scholastic to produce children's books based on the film.
Quest for Camelot was released on VHS and DVD by Warner Home Video on October 13, 1998. The VHS edition includes a teaser trailer for Warner Bros. and Morgan Creek Productions' The King and I (1999), while the DVD included several making-of documentaries with interviews of the filmmakers and cast and a music video of "I Stand Alone". To help promote the home video release of the film, Warner Bros. partnered with Act II, American Express, Best Western, CoinStar, Continental Airlines, Smucker's, and UNICEF, which advertised its trick-or-treat donation boxes before Halloween arrived.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 35% based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The websites critical consensus reads, "Diminished by uneven animation and treacly songs, Quest for Camelot is an adventure that ought to be tossed back to the Lady in the Lake." Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+ on scale of A to F.
Owen Gleiberman, reviewing for Entertainment Weekly, wrote, "The images are playful and serviceably lush, but the story and characters might have come out of a screenwriting software program, and the songs (sung by Celine Dion and Steve Perry, among others) are Vegas-pop wallpaper." David Kronke of the Los Angeles Times described the film as "formulaic" and wrote that it was "a nearly perfect reflection of troubling trends in animated features". He called Kayley "a standard-issue spunky female heroine" and said that "Garrett's blindness is the one adventurous element to the film, but even it seems calculated; his lack of sight is hardly debilitating, yet still provides kids a lesson in acceptance."
Critical of the story, animation, characters, and music, James Berardinelli of ReelViews wrote that the film was "dull, uninspired, and, worst of all, characterized by artwork that could charitably be called 'unimpressive.'" Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote, "Coming on the heels of 20th Century Fox's lush but silly Anastasia (a much better film than this one), Quest for Camelot suggests that Disney still owns the artistic franchise on animated features." Kevin J. Harty, editor of a collection of essays called Cinema Arthuriana, says that the film is "slightly indebted to, rather than, as Warner publicity claims, actually based on" Chapman's novel.
Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle said that the film is "a spirited adventure with generous romantic and comic charms" that "aims to please a range of ages, with loopy gags, corny romance, an oversized villain and catchy tunes performed by Celine Dion and LeAnn Rimes, among others." Joe Leydon of Variety considered the film as a "lightweight but likable fantasy that offers a playfully feminist twist to Arthurian legends" and noted that the "animation, though not quite up to Disney standards, is impressive enough on its own terms to dazzle the eye and serve the story."
Quest for Camelot grossed $6 million on its opening weekend ranking third behind The Horse Whisperer and Deep Impact. The film ultimately grossed $22.5 million during its theatrical run in North America. Cumulatively, the film grossed $38.1 milion worldwide. The studio lost about $40 million on the film.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
Prior to the release of the film, Warner Bros. had plans to make a stage adaptation of the film that would tour around to different renaissance fairs throughout the United States, as well as a nightly fireworks show for Six Flags Great Adventure. Both shows were designed by SLG Design & Creative Talent and Steve Gilliam.
The touring aspect of the project was cancelled soon after the film's release due to poor box office performance and the tour's anticipated cost, but the nightly firework show did end up coming to fruition. Quest for Camelot Nights debuted at Six Flags Great Adventure in 1998, and ran through 2001.
The show told the story of the film, with much of the film's main characters appearing as live characters in the show. The film's musical numbers were acted out with scenes from the film displayed with projections onto the show's "water curtains".
The first video game was titled Quest for Camelot and is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Titus Interactive with assistance from Nintendo for the Game Boy Color in 1998. A Nintendo 64 version of the game was planned, but was scrapped due to the film's performance at the box office. The second video game was titled Quest for Camelot: Dragon Games is a computer game developed by Knowledge Adventure, it gives the player the ability to explore Camelot after the events of the film. In addition to exploring the world, the player gets to raise a dragon egg and watch it grow.
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