Quest for Camelot
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|
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|
The film was released by Warner Bros. Pictures under their Warner Bros. Family Entertainment label on May 15, 1998. Quest for Camelot was a box office bomb, grossing $38.1 million against a budget of $40 million and received mixed reviews from critics, who found its narrative, characters and production values to be derivative of contemporary Disney films, while the animation and soundtrack were mostly praised.
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 (the reason they are bullied by other dragons), and want to be two individual dragons. Devon and Cornwall decide to join to the group; Garrett reluctantly agrees after Kayley manages to convince him.
Later, they found the belt of Excalibur in a giant footprint. Kayley's insistence of questioning Garrett causes him to miss Ayden's signal and 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 it lives a rock-like ogre who holds Excalibur; currently 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 captures Kayley and takes Excalibur. Devon and Cornwall, who witnessed this, rush to Garrett convincing him to go save Kayley. By working together for the first time, Devon and Cornwall are able to fly and breathe fire. Meanwhile, Kayley is held captive 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 funny two-headed dragon whom Kayley and Garrett meet. They help them save Camelot. Alain Chabat provides the voice for both Devon and Cornwall in the French dub.
- 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 king of Camelot.
- Steve Perry does singing vocals for King Arthur.
- Bronson Pinchot as Griffin, Ruber's pet & enforcer.
- Jaleel White as Bladebeak, a rooster who is transformed into an axe by Ruber.
- Gabriel Byrne as Lionel, Kayley's father who is killed by Ruber.
- Sir John Gielgud as Merlin, Arthur's advisor.
- Frank Welker as Ayden, Merlin's pet falcon that guides Garrett.
- Brad Garrett, Jeff Bennett, Danny Mann, Jim Cummings and Rob Paulsen as the Barbarians: Ruber's mutated mechanical army who follow him in his quest to takeover Camelot
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 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 advertise its trick-or-treat donation boxes before Halloween arrived. Currently, a Blu-ray version of the film has yet to be announced.
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", 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 claimed 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 opined 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."
Other reviews like Joe Leydon of the Variety generally gave a positive review, considering it as a "lightweight but likable fantasy that offers a playfully feminist twist to Arthurian legends" and even praised the animation (although it is not top Disney quality), the soundtrack and most of the characters like the voice acting by Eric Idle and Don Rickles. 
It grossed $6,041,602 on its opening weekend ranking third behind The Horse Whisperer and Deep Impact. The film ultimately grossed $22,510,798 during its theatrical run in North America. Cumulatively, the film grossed $38,172,500 worldwide. The studio lost about $40 million on the film.
Award and nominationsEdit
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". 
Quest for Camelot merchandise cover a wide variety of products, among them storybook versions of the film's story, a comic book based on the film published by DC Comics, toys, children's costumes, and other items.
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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- Quest for Camelot – Special Features: The Animation Process (text) (DVD). Warner Home Video. 1998.
- Quest for Camelot at AllMusic
- "Sager Gets Animated About 'Camelot' Production". Los Angeles Daily News. January 31, 1996. Archived from the original (Subscription required) on September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017 – via HighBeam Research.
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- Szadkowski, Joseph (March 1, 1998). "Toy Fair: A Flood of Animated Toys". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
- "Partnership Launches with Scholastic's Quest for Camelot Publishing Program" (Press release). Time Warner. Time Warner. January 21, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
- ""Quest for Camelot" -- Animated Feature Film From Warner Bros. Family Entertainment Arrives On Home Video Oct. 13; First-Ever Fully Animated Theatrical DVD Release" (Press release). TheFreeLibrary.com. Business Wire. October 13, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
- Kronke, David (May 15, 1998). "Warner Bros.' Animated 'Camelot' Hits Formulaic Notes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Berardinelli, James. "The Quest for Camelot". ReelViews. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Holden, Stephen (May 15, 1998). "Quest for Camelot (1998) FILM REVIEW; Adventures of Some Square Pegs at the Round Table". The New York Times.
- Harty, Kevin J. (2002). Kevin J. Harty (ed.). Cinema Arthuriana: Twenty Essays. McFarland & Company. p. 26. ISBN 0-7864-1344-1.
- Stack, Peter (May 15, 1998). "A Charming `Quest' / Animated legend finds right mix of adventure, romance". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Welkos, Richard (May 19, 1998). "Audiences Still Flocking to 'Impact'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
- "Quest for Camelot (1998)". Box Office Mojo.
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- "Quest for Camelot 64".
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