Justin and the Knights of Valour  (2013)    70/100

Rating :   70/100                                                                       90 Min        PG

A fairytale adventure story aimed at a young audience, but one that should still be fun and likeable for adults too. Justin lives in a medieval village where valorous knights have been banished from the realm thanks to a draconian series of bureaucratic laws, largely instigated by his lawmaker father and aimed at creating a more civilised kingdom, but in reality ruining everyone’s lives. Rather like living in modern day Britain. As it turns out, heroism runs in Justin’s veins as his grandfather was one of the bravest knights of all, and despite his father’s wishes that he enter into the law profession himself, he instead sets out to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a knight and to perhaps win the affections of the local rich hottie in the process. On the way he will encounter villains and feisty barmaids, dour Scottish sword masters and war game playing monks and ultimately his faith in fighting for what is right will be put to the test. It’s a Spanish film (in English), indeed it opens with ‘Antonio Banderas presents’, with a pretty sterling voice cast including Banderas himself, Freddie Highmore, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong, James Cosmo, Alfred Molina and Julie Walters to name but a few. The animation is warm and has a unique feel to it, although the human faces look somewhat blood drained at times, and notwithstanding a few slightly irritating character moments, it’s a nice film. Should be fine for young children due to the lack of any real blood letting despite all the sword play. There’s also a nod to mechanical owl friend/pest Bubo in ‘Clash of the Titans’ (81) – but why just a nod? They should have recreated the entire character – who doesn’t want to go adventuring with a fully functioning owl automaton?

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