Quest for Camelot marked the beginning of the end of an anime musical

Your favorite childhood movie could have been a full box office. Animated films that defined the late 90’s and early 2000’s are loved by generations who grew up watching them on VHS, but many of these nostalgic favorites are due to serious failures, box office revenue, or both. did. What went wrong along the way? And why did they get such love after the fact?The· Beloved animation failure The series is out to dust those old VHS tapes (more precisely, find movies in streaming) and look at some of these movies.

When the Disney Renaissance peaked in the 1994s The Lion King, Other studios suddenly began to realize that theater animation has become a viable blockbuster sub-genre that can make millions of dollars. Many studios have set up their own animation departments, and Warner Bros. Pictures executives have begun their journey into the richness of animation with big fantasy action-adventure musicals. Quest for Camelot.

But Quest for Camelot Perhaps the first sign that the proven Disney formula wouldn’t last forever — and other studios couldn’t just copy and paste it to success. The creatives involved in the project were passionate, but various messages from executives who chose marketing over storytelling made the film fate from the beginning. But it earned poor box office and got poor reviews, which means something for kids who grew up with it, especially those who embark on a great adventure when they first see a young woman wielding a sword. Did.

Image: Warner Bros. Features Animation

What does that mean

Lucky young Cary (Jessalyn Gilsig) before Excalibur was stolen by the evil Sir Louver (Gary Oldman) and before Louver and his magically augmented army attacked Camelot and defeated Arthur. Gilsig) departs to regain his sword. While in the Forbidden Forest, she teams up with the blind hermit Garrett (Cary Elwes) and the two-headed dragon (Eric Idle and Don Rickles) to save the day.

Cary holding Excalibur

Image: Warner Bros. Features Animation

A little inside story …

Warner Bros. Features Animation Announced Quest for Camelot In May 1995, as the studio’s first feature-length animated film.Technically, at this point Warner Bros. already owned Turner Animation, so 1997 Cats don’t dance Preceding Quest for Camelot. But from the beginning, there was a clear preference for projects that were completely under the Warner Bros. Pictures flag.And in the meantime Cats don’t dance No merchandising budget smoothness was seen, “extensive marketing and merchandising support” Quest for Camelot According to the plan Los Angeles Times..

Participating in Warner Bros. Animation was an exciting time. Associate Producer Zahra Dowlatabadi tells Polygon.While comparing the news articles at that time immediately Quest for Camelot For Disney Renaissance films, Daura Tabady’s energy came not from the studio’s attempt to emulate Disney accurately, but from the excitement that animation was finally considered legal.

“”[Disney’s] Success in movies like The Lion King And Aladdin It really provided people with the opportunity to see animation as a very viable form of entertainment, “says Dowlatabadi.

Warner’s executives were so enthusiastic that they rushed to make the film before the script was completed. The original story, based on Vera Chapman’s book of the same name, continued when a young woman named Susanna set out on a quest for the Holy Grail to save her sister. However, Max Howard, president of Warner Bros. Features Animation, has decided to change the Holy Grail to Excalibur. This is just one of many changes to the story that came from studio management. In the end, one of the film’s former directors and co-producer left a creative difference. (Rumors broke out whether he was fired or resigned.) Later, two director animators, several employees in the arts department, and the first producer of the film quit production.

When contacted, one person who was previously involved in the early production of the film told Polygon, “I hope it doesn’t remind people that I have something to do with the project in the first place.”

This dispute was not a secret. Even before the movie was released, The Record published an article full of terrible citations from anonymous interviewees. “The easiest thing I can say is that there were 20 people in their heads with 20 different movies,” says one source. “No one had a clear mind to say what this movie was from top to bottom. Nobody said anything.”

Without a clear vision of the film, Warner sank more and more money. Quest for Camelot.. Dowlatabadi says that very often there is not always a reason to spend money, or even budget parameters, to be quantified. Costs have been piled up, especially with all merchandising and marketing partnerships. After being pushed from November 1997 to May 1998 Quest for Camelot Finally released to the theater.

A louver that puts on a hood and lets Cary's mom drive a carriage

Image: Warner Bros. Features Animation

Why it didn’t work

“I think I tried to make the movie too much,” says Dowlatabadi. “I think I tried to make it a musical. It was going to be an action-adventure. I tried to please many chefs in the kitchen.”

Movies aren’t all of them — in fact, in an unfortunate situation for Disney’s Warner Bros. Mulan Came out just a few weeks later Quest for Camelot. Both films are action-adventure musicals in which a young woman picks up a sword to honor her father. They both team up with the Comic Relief Dragon to raid the city of Parliament and save the land from the long shabby-haired gray-skinned villains who are planning to defeat the current ruler. I will.But Mulan It’s an objectively good movie, earning over $ 300 million in worldwide box office revenue. quest Did not break $ 40 million

Quest for Camelot I couldn’t do what it was trying to do. Even though it’s one of the movies (“prayer”) Academy Award nominees, most of its musical numbers are pop and rock oriented, and I hardly feel that they are from fantasy epics. The singing voice also sounds jarring with the voice actor. Garrett’s double singing, country singer Brian White, doesn’t even try to imitate the English accent of Elwis. Music feels like a mandatory addition to the film, inserted just because anime musicals were in vogue at the time. The pace is enthusiastic, and the valuable explanations of the entire movie aren’t very gracefully packed into the opening. All the problems go back to these multiple visions for the same project. And it goes back to the fact that executives and senior executives didn’t want to prioritize the storytelling component of the movie.

“Storytelling is very rewarding. You can’t thisI want to make toys, I’m thinking about lunch boxes and serials, “explains Daura Tabady. “There were too many components.”

But even Quest for Camelot It was a better movie, but the entire market was already becoming saturated with anime musicals. Perhaps because Disney tried to compete in an already opened niche, Warner Bros. destined the first animation feature from the beginning. Unfortunately, it ’s the next movie in the studio, Iron giantWas a story of invisible science fiction, a unique and well-crafted vision that could shape the voice of the studio. Quest for Camelot Warner Bros. Animation was worried about the possibility of spending the same amount on marketing.This lack of marketing was just destined Iron giant With box office revenue, and finally destined for the entire Warner Bros. Features animation.

Galette showing how to fight Cary

Image; Warner Bros. Features Animation

Why we love it today

1998 is not one after the surge of princess movies where female characters are stronger and more ambitious than their predecessors, but still dreamed of romance in cute dresses two Girls wearing trousers, swinging swords, and following in the footsteps of their father.fact Mulan And Quest for Camelot What came out in the same year could hurt the latter with box office revenue, but it was good for the kids who grew up in the movie, especially the little girls, to have more of these active and dynamic heroines.

Some critics Quest for CamelotCary Standard energetic heroineHowever, she is actually quite unique among the animated heroines of the 1990s. Kaley is one of the few who doesn’t wear elaborate gowns or skimpy sexual costumes throughout the film. (She wears a nice dress at the end, but because of the knight’s ritual.) She is also the main character in her own movie, and romance is related to her story, which is behind her motives. It is not the central driving force in. Mulan checks those same boxes.

In 1998, these two heroines broke the mold. However, Western animation has moved away from musicals and, as a result, more female-led films. Girls can certainly be princesses, but they are not comedy reeds or science fiction adventurers. Female characters existed, but they were either in a romantic relationship or a girl in a group of boys. There were some exceptions ( Lilo & Stitch), But Mulan and Kaley represent the first taste of female-led action-adventure, which has almost completely disappeared from Western animation in the coming years.In a movie like Raya and the Last Dragon Is displayed as Sheila and Princess Warrior Putting a female lead at the forefront of anime fantasy adventures is an exception, and it can be hard to remember when it wasn’t standard.

Cary riding a horse

Image: Warner Bros. Features Animation

Not that Quest for CamelotCharacter was especially unique. Villains are pretty standard. Comic Relief Dragon is grated and full of pop culture references for no apparent reason. The rest of the cast is fairly single note. But Cary is important to little girls, and Garrett, the male lead, is also unique. To date, he is one of the few leading anime actors with disabilities as a prominent and obvious part of his character. Indeed, his confrontation about finding comfort by being alone in the woods, unfit for society, is fairly superficial, but the blind man as a major romantic hero is quite groundbreaking. The fact remains the same that day. Although he is blind, he is a capable fighter and has a sneaky and dreamy love interest.

For all its official fragments, Quest for Camelot Add a new spin to the legend of Artagne and evoke a love for mythology.The re-story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is a dime — hell, even Disney Sword in the stone — But this is a legendary new perspective, focusing on young women. It’s as fun as the original story, but the women involved don’t swing their swords or become the center of the story. However, the curious children who were first attracted to her, with Cary as the protagonist, generally found a love for Artagne mythology.

She’s one of the most extravagant characters for little girls, but it’s completely positive, especially given the number of heroes that correspond to little boys. She puts on her pants, tramples through the woods, and rides a horse. She saves the day and becomes a knight by King Arthur himself at the end of the story. And she will also finally soothe Garrett. Quest for Camelot It may not be a good movie, but despite all the flaws, there is a reason it beat the fans it did.

Quest for Camelot You can rent it on YouTube.