Quest for Camelot

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Quest for Camelot (also known as The Magic Sword) is an animated film released by Warner Bros Animation in 1998. It was generally disliked by audiences, but did receive several award nominations for its soundtrack (composed by Patrick Doyle, with songs written by David Foster), which won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for "The Prayer." As with most Follow the Leader animated features of the decade (the leader being Disney), it had a big-name voice cast, including Gary Oldman as the villain, Ruber; Cary Elwes as the male lead, Garret; Pierce Brosnan as King Arthur; Sir John Gielgud as Merlin; Jane Seymour as the female lead Kayley's mother, Lady Juliana; and Eric Idle and |Don Rickles as a two-headed dragon with the names Devon and Cornwall. The songs also got a pretty impressive cast of singers like Celine Dion, The Corrs and Bryan White.

The film is very loosely based on a book by Vera Chapman called The King's Damosel (AKA The King's Damsel), inspired by Arthurian lore. The story was made more 'family friendly' during production by the additions of songs and cute animal friends; these concessions to the Animation Age Ghetto were some of the main criticisms leveled at the film when it was released.


Tropes used in Quest for Camelot include:
  • Actor Allusion: Possibly unintentional, but Gary Oldman's character Ruber (an obvious villain) is very similar to Dr. Smith, another obvious villain played by Oldman. It helps that both films came out in the same year.
  • Affably Evil: The Griffin, at least when he isn't interacting with the good guys; could arguably even be an example of Dark Is Not Evil, since he's just Ruber's pet anyway.
    • A memorable quote by said Griffin (upon being berated by Ruber for not replying): "Sorry master, my mouth was full!"
  • All-Star Cast: As explained above, a big part of the voice cast were pretty big names.
    • The singers were not slouch either. Andrea Corr for Kayley or Celine Dion for Lady Juliana are the best examples.
    • Even the non-English versions got pretty big names and talented voice actors and singers from each respective country. See the Your Mileage May Vary entry for details.
  • Animated Musical
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Ruber's potion, which somehow transforms his henchmen into metalized versions of themselves. Not that it helps anyways.
  • Artistic License: Biology: Ayden's silver wings can get a pass due to their in-universe meaning. But how can he maintain himself in mid-air? He's a falcon, not a hummingbird.
    • Actually, several species of falcon can hover, including the peregrine and hobby (both of which look a lot like Ayden), although they do so more rarely than say, kestrels.
  • Award Bait Song: Looking Through Your Eyes is the one that has all the trope characteristics, but The Prayer was the one which actually won an award.
  • Ax Crazy: Ruber -- his Twitchy Eye makes it clear. And he's so glad you noticed! He's been working at it for years!
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Out of all the knights, Ruber is the only ugly one. He betrays them.
  • Become Your Weapon: Ruber uses a potion that causes this on his army.
  • Bound and Gagged: Kayley, near the end.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor, poor Griffin. First he is harassed by a falcon that is ten times smaller than he is, then at the very moment we discover he is owned by Ruber he is threatened and harmed. It's all downhill from there, as no matter how loyal he is, he's incompetent as hell, and Ruber has no problems with punishing him for that. At the end, when he finally gets to have revenge on the falcon, he is burned, presumably to death, by a two-headed dragon. On top of that, many consider him The Scrappy, even though in the end he is probably one of the most sympathetic characters in the movie (aside from the leads if they aren't considered Mary Sues). Alas, Poor Scrappy indeed.
  • Character Tics: Ruber has an eye tic when he's agitated, and his irises even tend to disappear.
  • Cool Sword: Excalibur, of course.
  • Composite Character: To the extent that any of the characters resemble the ones in The King's Damosel, Garret appears to be a cross between Gareth (would-be knight, the name) and Lucius (blind loner).
  • Conflict Ball: Garret's reasoning for not accompanying Kayley to Camelot: He doesn't belong in that world because there Kayley would realize that he's inferior to other men. This might make sense if Garret hadn't already proven himself to be the best fighter in the entire film.
    • In the Forbidden Forest he has an advantage of highly dangerous and unpredictable environment he had years to familiarize with. His foes fight not only against him, but also against the forest itself and are often taken by surprise. This fits his fighting style. Camelot is an unknown territory for him and he was shown to feel less secure there.
  • Conspicuous CGI: The "ogre" (aka the rock monster) and the round table scene.
  • Cool but Inefficient: Once Ruber has Excalibur, he fuses it to his arm so that he can hold it forever. The end result is cool looking, but it doesn't seem to benefit him in any way in terms of sword-fighting and it later gets him killed. Justified in that Sir Ruber is insane and wouldn't think about the costs.
  • Dark Reprise: Garret's "I Stand Alone" gets a brief and impressively bitter reprise after he decides not to go with Kayley to Camelot.
  • Deus Ex Machina: In the climax, Kayley (with Garret's help) causes Ruber, who has fused his arm with Excalibur, to thrust the sword back into the stone -- as he is not the rightful king, he cannot remove it. This is clever. However, it then turns out the inherent magic of the stone, which was only hinted at visually, serves as this, too. (It kills Ruber.)
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: More of a dragon in this case. Ruber does this to one of the evil dragons while it has him cornered, despite seemingly giving in by tossing away his sword first.
  • Die or Fly: It doesn't work. (Un)Fortunately, no one dies either.
  • Different As Night and Day: Devon and Cornwall.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "If I Didn't Have You" is a particularly jarring example as it looks like the kind of short funny cartoon Warner Bros. is rightfully better-known for -- randomly placed in the middle of what's supposed to be a dramatic epic.
  • Disneyfication: What happened to the original story. Ironic, considering that Warner Bros. were actually competing with Disney at the time. See Executive Meddling in the Trivia section.
  • Excalibur
  • Expy: One major complaint from both The Agony Booth and the Nostalgia Critic was that in both looks and personality, Kayley's essentially Belle. Lauren Faust (who worked on the movie) has even commented [dead link] on the similarity, going even further and saying Garret looks like the human form of the Beast.
  • "Falling in Love" Montage: Kayley and Garret, during their "Looking Through Your Eyes" duo.
  • Faux Action Girl: Kayley. She did have a moment or two, but she mostly wasn't much of a fighter.
  • Feelies: The VHS release came with a necklace whose charm featured Devon and Cornwall. Annoyingly, said necklace was under not the shrinkwrap on the new movie, but under the plastic of the clamshell cover — meaning that you either had to partly ruin the cover to get the blasted thing out, or you had a heck of a time lining it up neatly on your video shelf.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Forbidden Forest. No, not that one.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: Devon and Cornwall. Also Bladebeak quoting Dirty Harry for some damn reason.
  • Gonk: Ruber.
  • Happily Ever After: The ending features Kayley and Garret riding off together on a horse which is adorned with a sign reading "Just Knighted." One presumes there was a wedding in there too, but it's never specifically stated.
  • Handicapped Badass: Garret.
  • Hand Wave: The only explanation for the moving plants is a blink-and-you-miss-it reference to the forest being "enchanted". Where Ruber got his potion might also qualify - he states in his Villain Song that he bought it from some witches.
  • Heel Face Turn: Bladebeak undergoes one of these after he finds his mate locked in a cage by Ruber, though he was hardly the embodiment of "evil" to begin with.
  • High Fantasy: Attempted, but not executed too well. Since the film is loosely based on the King Arthur mythos and is supposed to be taking place in Britain, many feel that some of its unexplained fantastic elements like the moving plants and Ruber's potion seem out of place (though see Hand Wave above).
  • Horrible Judge of Character: King Arthur for knighting Ruber in the first place.
  • Hot Mom: Kayley's mother, Juliana.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: During, you know, "The Prayer".
  • "I Am" Song: Garret's "I Stand Alone".
  • "I Want" Song: Kayley's "On My Father's Wings," in which she expresses her desire to become a knight. The other characters get their own songs, too.
  • I Work Alone: Garret. He also has a song -- "I Stand Alone", mentioned above -- about this.
  • Just Between You and Me: Ruber details his Evil Plan to Kayley and her mother, mostly in song.
  • Kissing Cousins: Apparently, Devon and Cornwall are the result of this.

Devon: Frankly, we're the reason cousins shouldn't marry.

  • Laughably Evil: Baron Ruber.
  • Lip Lock: The lip sync looks a little bit off sometimes, specially during songs. Yes, even in English.
  • Multiple Head Case: Guess who?
  • Nature Hero: Garret.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Devon and Cornwall fall under this, as do Bladebeak and Ayden.
  • Obviously Evil: At the beginning of the film we get a panning shot of the Round Table. Seated at it are several identical looking generic knights... and one creepily deformed one with a banana-shaped head, greenish skin and yellow eyes. Apparently one of the virtues Arthur espouses is not judging by appearances. And just look where that got him.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They're conjoined twins. And they're purple. And they can't fly (for which they even say they're shunned by their own kind).
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: Looks like a traditional griffin, but the one in the story is kind of weird. The bird front half is much larger then the lion hindquarters, and rather than eagle-like the head must belong to a bat-eared-cat-eyed-vulture-beaked thing.
  • The Power of Friendship/The Power of Love: Devon and Cornwall lament their inability to fly through most of the movie, then find themselves able to do it once Kayley is kidnapped. Garret realizes that they can't fly unless they agree on things, and pushes them to do so by prompting, "You both love Kayley, right?"
  • Prophet Eyes: While not a prophet, Garret has these eyes.
  • Purple Eyes: Lady Juliana, Kayley's mum, has them.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Scotireland: Camelot basically turns into this for some reason, largely thanks to the sorta-Celtic-ish soundtrack. Riverdance was popular at the time so...
    • Also, let's not forget the involvement of The Corrs in this film. Their style is specially prominent in On My Father's Wings, which almost sounds like ripped off from their album Talk On Corners.
  • Seven Heavenly Virtues: As sung during the introduction to Camelot. Except there are more like fifteen.
  • Shout-Out: There are lots of Looney Tunes gags to be found, the most obvious being ACME written on Ruber's potion.
    • Also during Devon & Cornwall's musical number, at one time they're falling down a canyon ripped straight from a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.
    • Also a Monty Python shout-out during the dragons' song, when Devon (voiced by Python Eric Idle) declares, "You'd be nothing without me -- you'd be extinct! You'd cease to be!"
    • And during the lines when Cornwall sings about being "the Dragon King", he holds Devon up on a kopje in open parody of Simba's presentation in The Lion King.
    • During the scene where Cornwall has a chainsaw, he is wearing a hockey mask. (Although Jason Voorhees isn't the slasher who wields a chainsaw)
    • Garret is a teenager/young adult dressed in green with a wooden weapon looking in an enchanted forest for a mythical sword. Think about that for a second. I'll wait.
      • Funny enough, the Gameboy Color game was obviously based on the 2D Legend of Zelda games.
    • During the Final Battle, John Williams ' Superman Main Theme makes an appearance.
  • Sidekick Song: "If I Didn't Have You"
  • Slipknot Ponytail: During her escape, Kayley runs into a forest where one of the branches snags her hair tie and undoes her ponytail. After she's freed from Garret's net a short time later, she's seen finding another hair tie and fixing it back up. Which is funny, since a lot of the promotion material used ended up using the loose-haired Kayley over her ponytail version.
  • Small Annoying Creature: Bladebeak.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "The Prayer" and... well, lots of other songs.
  • Stealth Pun: Andrea Bocelli drops by for an Italian version of The Prayer over the credits. This is appropriate when you remember that he became blind in a very similar manner to Garret, after being hit in the head as a child. Was he perhaps the inspiration for Garret's backstory?
  • Surrounded by Idiots: To a ludicrous extent. Ruber's minions take Bladebeak's mate along, but allow Kayley to escape.
  • Theme Park Version: Of generic fantasy films. The plot chugs along whether the characters are coming or not, leaving the characters free to think in cliches when they think at all. The end result is that it hits all the major plot points of such a movie, but it doesn't EXPLAAAAAAIIIIINNNNNN!!! why they're happening to begin with.
  • Those Two Dragons: Cornwall and Devon - who HAPPEN TO SHARE ONE BODY ! ! !
  • Villain Song: "Ruber's Song", though with no melody, tune or rhythm it truly stretched to the vaguest of limits what qualifies as a "song". There actually is a bit of rhyming in it, so it's less of a "song" and more of a "long-winded mediocre poem". Then again, it's Ruber. He's a bit too erratic for a proper song.
  • Villainous Valour: Ruber is a psychotic murderer, no doubt of it, but you must admit is also exceptionally strong and brave. He kills a scary-looking dragon with his own bare hands and then cooks it for lunch.
    • There is also a scene toward the beginning where Kayley tries to hit him from behind with a good-sized mace. He turns around, catches it, and then twists the head. Never mind that the spikes should have skewered his hands.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: A particularly Anvilicious case. Devon and Cornwall are drawn to look rather silly and harmless. Bladebeak is also silly-looking. Ayden has a round, sweet face, big soft eyes and cute fluttery movements. In contrast, the "evil" dragons are sharp-toothed, have squinty eyes, and look altogether more feral and the griffin henchman has another set of scary evil eyes, a long crooked beak, bat ears, and a small head compared to his thick-maned neck — and the voice of Bronson Pinchot (we're not sure what to make of that last thing).
  • With My Hands Tied: Kayley is captured and tied up, but is able to sweep her legs under a Mook's feet while still tied, giving her time to free herself with Bladebeak's help.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Why Devon and Cornwall stick around with the group. Apparently, dragons are forbidden to interact with humans.
  • You Killed My Father