Justin and the Knights of Valour (3D)

2013-11-25 15:27
Justin and the Knights of Valour
What it's about:

Justin lives in a kingdom where bureaucrats rule and knights have been ousted. His dream is to become one of the Knights of Valour, like his grandfather was, but his father, Reginald, the chief counsel to the Queen, wants his son to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer.

After an inspiring visit to his beloved grandmother, and bidding farewell to his supposed lady-love, Lara, Justin leaves home and embarks on a quest to become a knight.

Along the way, he meets the beautiful, feisty, Talia, a quirky wizard called Melquiades, the handsome Sir Clorex, and is mentored by three monks: Blucher, Legantir and Braulio, who teach him the ancient ways of the Knights of Valour.

What we thought:

Justin and the Knights of Valour is a Spanish animation from Antonio Banderas and director Manuel Sicilia (The Missing Lynx), but what could have been an original story line turns into a bland, unfunny misadventure that barely got a chuckle out of the audience.

It is sad that a movie with an interesting sounding plot could turn out so wrong. It takes a look at a kingdom where knights are outlawed, with bureaucracy and laws keeping things in order. As always in a kids movie, there is one boy who doesn’t want to become a lawyer but rather be a knight.

This mirrors our current reality quite well, with a world where valiant heroes are harder to come by in a society constrained by too many laws. It is this premise that could have given this animation a bit more bite, but instead it offered up a plethora of wooden and unoriginal characters with as much hilarity as Margaret Thatcher.

What was also a bugger was the almost identical traits and looks the main character Justin had with another hero from a popular animation – How To Train Your Dragon. I swear they even move the same. And then there’s the tough girl Talia, voiced by Saoirse Ronan who at least is a pleasure to listen to, and the weird, slightly crazy wizard. Seems like most other boy-becomes-a-hero plotline. The only slightly original characters are the villains, from a jaded ex-knight to a fashion-obsessed jester.

Not even kids will be entertained by this flop. There aren’t many moments of hilarity (like the genius of Despicable Me) or memorable one-liners, which actually nails its biggest criticism – it is a pretty forgettable shamble.

As for the graphics itself, it is not bad. There is some beautiful imagery and nice detail in some of the characters, but nothing exciting or new. Being a non-American production, it would have helped the movie to have developed a different style, like that of the British Tale of Despereaux.

If you are in the mood for animation, you’re better off watching the South African Khumba than this bland knight’s tale.

Although not a Hollywood production, this animation lacks everything that a successful animation needs – humour.
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