Quest For Camelot

on May 15, 1998 by Cathy Thompson-Georges
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For a good decade now, when you said "quality animated entertainment," you were saying "Disney." The mighty mouse rode the cartoon world like a colossus, leaving other studios looking pitifully second-rate. Earlier this year, Fox's "Anastasia" challenged that dominance with a lavish, sophisticated animated production. Now the Warner Bros. Feature Animation department proves that it can make a first-class children's feature.
   "Quest for Camelot" boasts a strong story, interesting characters and great music. Based on a book by Vera Chapman, the movie follows Kayley (voiced by Jessalyn Gilsig), a young girl in Arthurian England who longs for adventure. She gets her chance when Excalibur is stolen by the evil Ruber (Gary Oldman), who bears a striking resemblance to Rocky Horror's Riff-Raff on steroids. Kayley sets out for the Forbidden Forest, where she meets a blind swordsman named Garrett (Cary Elwes) and a two-headed dragon destined for comic relief (Eric Idle and Don Rickles, one voice per head). The film takes the time to give Kayley and Garrett complex, likable personalities; the story is thrilling; and the wonders and terrors of the Forbidden Forest are exciting. The songs by Carole Bayer Sager are far above par for an animated feature, and the background music has an appealing Celtic note.
   The one weak spot in "Quest for Camelot," surprisingly, is the animation. The backgrounds are flat and garishly rendered (Camelot seems to be set in Sedona, rather than misty England) and the characters move jerkily. In addition, the use of computer animation is jarring and cheesy-looking. Audiences that can overlook this, however, have a treat on their hands. Voices by Jessalyn Gilsig, Cary Elwes, Gary Oldman, Eric Idle and Don Rickles. Directed by Frederick Du Chau. Written by Kirk De Micco and William Schiffrin and Jacqueline Feather & David Seidler. Produced by Dalisa Cooper Cohen. A Warner Bros. release. Animated. Rated G. Running time: 86 min.
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