The Magic Sword

Quest For Camelot

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Details At A Glance

Category Animation Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 82:29 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Frederik Du Chau

Warner Home Video
Starring Jessalyn Gilsig
Carey Elwes
Gary Oldman
Pierce Brosnan
Eric Idle
Don Rickles
Jane Seymour
Gabriel Byrne
Sir John Gielgud
Case Snapper
RRP $34.95 Music Patrick Doyle

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Dutch (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles Arabic
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    The Magic Sword - Quest For Camelot is fairly typical, clichéd children's animation. Indeed, if it were not for the generally marvellous score, which lifts this production far above the mediocrity, stereotypicality and plain old plagiarism of its story, this would be a dull movie indeed.

    Set in the time of King Arthur, Kayley (Jessalyn Gilsig) is the daughter of Sir Lionel (Gabriel Byrne), a knight of the Round Table. Sir Lionel is slain by the evil knight Ruber (Gary Oldman) who is banished from the Round Table. Cue triumphant music reminiscent of The Lion King. Years pass, and Kayley grows into a young woman. Ruber returns and attempts to steal the sword Excalibur, but fails, the sword falling into the Forbidden Forest.

    Mula....err, Kayley needs to enter the Forbidden Forest to rescue the sword and save the kingdom. She bumps into Garrett (Corey Elwes) who guides her along the way. I really must say that the characterization of Kayley is very confusing. On the one hand, she is painted as a heroine, and on the other, she really does do some annoyingly stupid things. She seems to continually vacillate between heroine and damsel-in-distress. Perhaps the fact that four different screenwriters worked on this script has something to do with this inconsistency. Anyhow, to add tension to the search for Excalibur, Ruber and his minions follow into the Forbidden Forest and so it becomes a race against time to find and return the sword. Along the way, we pick up the obligatory comedic duo, Timon and Pum...err Devon (Eric Idle) and Cornwall (Don Rickles).

    The quality of the animation of this feature is variable, but quite mediocre by current standards. There are numerous very jerky pans and the Ogre, rendered as a 3D model, simply does not sit right amidst the rest of the 2D animation. It looks like something you would expect to watch on a Saturday morning on TV rather than high-quality motion picture standard animation. And why oh why do villains have to sing songs - they invariably do so badly. In this case, Gary Oldman's song is simply pitiful.

Transfer Quality


    Whilst the movie may not be anything special, the transfer to DVD is superb. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was very clear and very sharp throughout. Being animation, shadow detail is not relevant to this transfer, but there was certainly no low level noise in the darker areas of the image.

    The colours were a highlight of this transfer. They were crisp, clear and vibrant. Importantly, they remained consistent throughout the entire length of the movie, with no variability noted in saturation at any point. Despite the vibrant nature of the colour in this transfer, colour bleeding was not a problem at all..

    MPEG artefacts were just barely visible during some of the fade-ins and fade-outs, but were not at all distracting. There were no film-to-video artefacts at all, and fundamentally no film artefacts, either.

    The subtitles listed on the packaging of this DVD are incorrect - the actual subtitles on this DVD are Arabic, Spanish, German, Romanian, Bulgarian and English.


    There are five audio tracks on this DVD - English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch, all Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The packaging omits any mention of the Portuguese and Dutch soundtracks.

    Dialogue was completely clear and very easy to understand - as is to be expected from a soundtrack created totally artificially as is the case with animation.

    There were no audio sync problems. Having said that, some of the lip animation left a little to be desired, with insufficient mouth movements to totally account for the words spoken.

    The score by Patrick Doyle with song contributions by David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager was generally superb, and without this excellent score this movie would have been very ordinary indeed. The music is alternately sweet, sad, inspiring and dramatic, and beautifully accompanies the on-screen action. The only low point is Ruber's song which borders on the farcical.

    The surround channels were nicely utilized by the music and also by the special effects to create an enveloping soundfield. This had the effect of drawing you nicely into this movie.

    The subwoofer was frequently used to support the music and occasionally to support the sound effects. It placed a very nice bottom end onto the soundtrack, markedly strengthening its impact.


    This disc has no extras.


R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     There is enough supplemental material missing from the Region 4 version of this DVD for me to recommend the Region 1 version in this case.


    The Magic Sword - Quest For Camelot is somewhat of a mish-mash of a movie, saved by an excellent movie soundtrack.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
14th February 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Orion DVKT, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer