Justin and the Knights of Valour (2013) Poster

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high expectations, low result.
Jay Stevens8 February 2015
This one was a serious disappointment, really.

Having just enjoyed the -frankly- masterpiece that is "How to train Your Dragon" (on Blu-Ray) the bland characters, the mediocre animation and the predictable story of "Justin" became all the more irritating.

I had seen the trailer, and on that basis I bought (yes, "bought!" ) the blue ray.

Turns out, the trailer had quite some amusing bits. The movie? Not so much. The story drags, the characters are bland and by times annoying. The setting was uninteresting and bland too. A mixture of Renaissance and medieval, done in the most jarring way possible.

But, what got me really annoyed was that the animators, director and editors fell for the big no-no in CGI-animation: " We built it. So we shall proceed to light it, ALL of it, as harsh as possible" The result? The picture seems burnt-out, bland, pale, and only got slightly interesting when the hero treks through misty mountains.

Oh, and the producers of the Bue Ray couldn't help themselves, and HAD to put in (almost) unskippable trailers of some extremely uninteresting CGI glut.. Having paid for the Blue Ray, I felt quite insulted by that, and started to understand some of the reasons that people decide to rip movies. It really, REALLY ticked me off.

I still refuse to rip DVD's and such as a matter of principle, but stuff like that, makes it really hard to keep steadfast.

On a side-note: it's not just "Justin and the Knights of Valour" that does that. It's an affliction shared by many big names. I hope, one day the industry wakes up. Offering a bare-bones download version of a movie is a first good step, seen with many movies nowadays.

All in all, it's -maybe- nice for kids, on a TV cartoon afternoon, but it's no feature film material. Too long, too bland, too predictable, and iffy animation to boot..

It gets a "4" for effort, being a smaller European studio, but that's about it.
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Full of clichés and just seems bland
Angels_Review12 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Well, this is a pretty normal story of a man trying to become a knight but in a different reason for doing so. Although all his life he wanted to be a knight, he lives in a time where it was outlawed to be a knight. His father wants him to be a lawyer but of course he doesn't want to be one so he runs away to become what he wants. I'm not going to lie, there are a lot of clichés but they still were able to keep it slightly new. We have a boy that goes against his father's wishes, a love interest who doesn't actually care about him, a sort crazy wizard (mimicking the dragon from 'Quest for Camelot'), a cast out knight as the bad guy, and normal teachers for the boy to learn from. Though there are all these clichés, there are some things that stand out such as the laws that were being passed but sadly those are not as prominent. I mostly see a movie that tried to be like every other story about a knight. It's sad because they could have done so much to make it better and yet stuck with the normal ideas.

The animation is actually rather nice, looking a bit cartoony but overall similar to 'How to Train Your Dragon' in some of the detail work. The background is so detailed that it makes the characters look slightly bland. They do fit in with the rest of the world but sometimes they I wish that they had a bit more texture to them. As for the movement, it's actually very fluid and believable even if slightly overboard. The characters don't really stand still very long, always using there hands and being a bit over the top in some occasions.

The voices are alright although somewhat hard to listen to at times since our main character has such an overpowering old English voice. This is a voice that I would have thought would be on a person in a romance type setting, not from a pip squeak body like him. Don't get me wrong, the voice is pleasant compared to what they could have picked for him but it's not a voice I picture coming out of our main character. When other characters speak in the old English dialect, sometimes I can't understand what they are saying like the old man in the beginning or the little girl. The voices seem to be muddled together, like they are mumbling. The music really does not fit the show. It's just to pop starish and not enough medieval tone. I felt like I was pulled out of the story every time they started playing the soft pop songs. Don't get me wrong, the songs are good but they just don't fit.

I liked the show but it didn't stand out for me. It felt as though I was watching similar movies so I can't give it a very high rating.
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pete177316 October 2014
My 6 year old liked the movie and it was great fun for him. I say Beware because in the movie one character yells I'm going to kill you... I remember thinking what the ???? But that was it nothing more said that shouldn't be in a PG movie. I forgot all about it until today, 3 days later when I learned my son re enacted that scene at school rightfully freaking out his substitute teacher. So I say Beware because now his Mom has to meet with the Principal. Luckily I watch with my son all his movies and didn't miss this scene which could of easily happened and I'd be wondering why would he say something like that? Now I know it's thanks to this rated PG movie. Entertaining movie for kids my sons age just not age appropriate because the words I kill doesn't belong in a PG movie. How did the Motion Picture Assoc, the Director, Producers and basically each and every Parent participating in the making of this movie miss I kill as being inappropriate? I'll destroy you or something like that works. I kill you? Unbelievable mistake. Besides that; the movie is entertaining for kids and a disappointment if you think you're going to be entertained as an adult like the other animated classics we all know.
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Modern meets Medieval
carla_gfs9324 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was really cliché in all its ways, also it was really weird: first of all, it had a lot of historical inconsistencies (the use of remote controls, the existence of law and lawyers) is impossible considering the historical setting (medieval times) but lets say that kids don't notice this so its OK.

On the other hand, dialogue wasn't funny enough considering the potential it had b/c of its cast, I had few genuine laughs, everything was kind of forced but definitely the worst was the amount of clichés, sometimes I felt the need to leave the cinema, sometimes I felt bored to death Maybe for little kids this movie is OK, but I had a few of them around me and they didn't laugh either. I would recommend this, only if you are really bored and you want to watch it on the TV (but don't buy the DVD!)
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Justin and the Knights of Mediocrity
Truth be told, I've never heard of this film before until I saw a trailer of it once. Then, sometimes later, when I was spending my five-day summer vacation with my cousins in New York this year, they had the whole movie for free and being a fan of the animation genre, I joined the group, watched it and... found it OK. Not exactly terrible or anything. It's a tad better than the trailer itself, but it's not as good as I hoped it would be.

The story did had some potential, but it has the same clichés we've seen before by other animated movies (a misfit who trains to become a hero, a villain who wants to rule the kingdom by force, a parent who forgets about the past and wants what's best for his son, you name it), the pacing is a bit sluggish, some of the characters aren't that interesting, the animation of the dragon looks like a crocodile than a real life dragon, and the writing is average at best.

That's all for the flaws. Now for the good stuff.

The voice cast is solid from Freddie Highmore, Mark Strong, James Cox, Rupert Everett, Antonio Banderas, Saoirse Ronan, and Alfred Molina. The main lead is likable, the side characters are fine, the love interest, while a bit forced, does have a sassy charm to her, and the villain is pretty good. The music score, while not the best I've heard, is pleasant enough and gives a medieval-feel to it; there are also two bits of funny moments. Aside from the design on the dragon, most of the animation is great with some nice backgrounds and some nice character designs with expressions.

That's all the stuff that I have to say about the film. It's not a good movie, but it's not horrible. I just wished it lived up to it's potential instead of falling to the same stuff we've seen before.
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A kids animated tale, about a young knight with plenty of adventures , fights , action and amusement
ma-cortes18 July 2014
Wonderful story about a young boy becomes a man as he embarks on a quest to become a knight , as he wants to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and join the Knights of the Roundtable . It deals with Justin (Freddie Highmore voice) lives in a kingdom where bureaucrats rule and knights have been ousted. Justin, the son of chief counsel to the Queen, lives in a kingdom where knights have been outlawed, and the land is over subscribed with laws for everything imaginable. His dream is to be become one of the Knights of Valour, like his grandfather was, but his father Reginald (voice by Alfred Molina) , 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 (Tamsin Egerton) , Justin leaves home and embarks on a quest to become a knight. Along the way he meets the beautiful, feisty Talia (Saoirse Ronan) ,and is mentored by three monks Whilst an unlikely candidate for knighthood, Justin must rise to the challenge quickly when banished former knight Sir Heraclio and his army, lead by Sota (Rupert Everett) , return and threaten to destroy the Kingdom . As Sir Heraclio (Mark Strong) wants Justin to join him and fight by his side. When the teen refuses, the king has no other choice but to unleash his flesh-hungry horde of vicious warriors on Justin and his girlfriend. Can he save the Kingdom from impending doom and a few other clichés? .

This amusing 3D cartoon has great animated sequences well staged with stylish and vitality , adventure , romance , outstanding final and results to be pretty entertaining . Enjoyable action sequences in castles , monastery , falls , including amusing ending confrontation at the climax of the film and a fun flying croc . Well produced by Antonio Banderas, fresh from providing his sexy Spanish tones for four Shrek films, has clearly decided that providing the voice of a cat in some near decent animated movies has given him all the knowledge he needs to produce similar animated box office gold . While the film has an addictive color and design graphics and 3D computer generator animation itself is extremely attractive, we are in presence of a film too simplistic and Manichean in his story to end. So, unfortunately, not much progress in achieving empathy and convey emotions that excite. Along his quest, the protagonist encounters a slew of quirky characters, a fun plethora of secondaries , as a strange wizard called Melquiades voiced by David Wailians , the handsome Sir Cloirex voice by Antonio Banderas ; the monks : Blucher , Legantir and Braulio voiced by James Cosmo , Charles Dance and Barry Humphries respectively , who teach and test him in the ancient ways of the Knights of Valour . The character "Sota" is inspired in one card of the Spanish deck, which is equivalent to the Jack in the international Deck, and has a very similar look to this character. Also, the name of the villain, Heraclio, matches the best known publisher of card decks in Spain, Heraclio Fournier .

Furthermore , this funny movie contains a nice Original Music by Ilan Eshkeri . Colorful and glimmer Cinematography by Javier Fernández .This Spanish motion picture was well written and directed Manuel Sicilia . Worthwhile seeing , better than average . The film will appeal to kiddies and teenagers .
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An enjoyable tale
Oltion Zoto16 February 2014
While it will not win prestigious awards this animation movie comes as a surprise with beautiful animations and a light plot that brings smiles upon any young heart while delivering a message now almost forgotten: the courage to dream and chose own way in life. The dedication and the work performed on this little gem is visible in the lovely drawn characters and the great voice acting delivered by known artists.

Personally I recommend this independent movie as a breath of fresh air in confront of the overrated and overpriced sequels upon sequels delivered by big animation studios.
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Won't go down as a classic. 3/10
leonblackwood8 February 2014
Review: I wasn't that impressed with this movie. Not only was it quite boring, it also seemed like it was going on forever, which is never good for an animation movie. For a kids movie, there wasn't any funny characters who really stood out, but it's light hearted fun for all of the family. The animation isn't in the class of Pixar, but it's watchable. The storyline seemed all over the place and I think that it will be quite confusing for kids, but there enough action to make the kids enjoy it. From an adults point of view, I have seen better. Watchable!

Round-Up: When I saw the casting list, I was expecting an animation spectacular, but I lost concentration halfway through the film. Antonio Banderas character was quite amusing at the beginning, but not enough to save the movie. I hadn't really heard about the film so it couldn't have got the major Hollywood treatment with the distribution or the amount of cinema' stat it was shown in. In all, the kids will enjoy the action, but it won't go down as a classic.

I recommend this movie to people who are into there animation movie set in the medieval days with knights, kings and queens. 3/10
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alex Huiberts22 December 2013
I liked the movie.....maybe not so surprising if you are USED to a flying crocodile??? I don't understand the bad reviews i've been reading here....Okay, Shrek en how to train a dragon would be rated a 9 or 10 but this one still is very amusing! The schizophrenic wizard, the flying crocodile...I had a few laughs! Maybe adults shouldn't rate a movie like this...and kids shouldn't be too small to watch it and understand the humor......but i thought it was worth rating and thumbs up for Anthonio!! The vain fake knight caught in his own greedy web! and now i have to fill my comment up till ten lines...i just wanted to put in a good word for this movie and didn't agree at all with the other comments....
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hom-male19 December 2013
I've just watched Justin and the Knights of Valor. The poster looked very promising… but this one proved the old cliché correct: Never judge a book by it's cover (or a movie by it's poster in this case).

The artwork and art direction is excellent in the movie. Truly breathtaking drawings of sceneries, castles, and cottages. Cast is fantastic. But that's about it!

The rest was painful to sit through. The story's content and context was boring and totally predictable almost amateurish. There was little "entertainment" quality throughout! Gave me a such headache at the end. But I was glad when it ended.

Some characters seemed "borrowed" from other animated movies. Like for example the horse character was exactly like "Maximus" from Disney's "Tangled" and sadly that was one of the good parts.

Save your money. Watch another movie. I wish I had.
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What do people really expect from a kid's film?
Rob_Taylor9 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I think this movie deserves more than the current rating it has. Sure, the plot is entirely predictable and there are plenty of "borrowed" moments and gags from other films, but the animation is nowhere near as bad as some make it out to be. In fact, it is perfectly fine.

The reason the animation comes in for a kick to the head is because it isn't Hollywood animation. It's European. FRankly it makes a nice change to see a different art style. Some of the backgrounds are actually quite gorgeous to see and the texturing is excellent in many places. Trust me when I say, the animation is not a problem.

Apart from the formula story and movie nods and adult humour, there is one thing wrong with the film...

Freddie Highmore as the main character's voice. I just didn't detect much passion in the performance. In fact, he does a lead in narrative right at the start that had me wondering if I was listening to an amateur dubbed version. It isn't good! His voice just never seemed to fit the character of Justin.

The rest do a decent job but I agree with some others that say it all seemed slightly off somehow, or out of synch by a tiny fraction. That aside, it isn't a deal breaker and you quickly get used to it.

So, is this movie going to be an animated classic? No, no it isn't. But it isn't as bad as the ratings might make you think. If you are having to sit through a kid's film with your little ones, then there are far worse (for adults) films you could pick - pretty much any of the Chipmunks movies, for instance - so give it a go!

SUMMARY: Not the greatest animated feature, but far from the worst.
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Not Bad !
cowboysaif8 December 2013
I mean, the animation is not top AAA class but it doesn't look like puppet dancing either. Character animation was okey, their texture was also good for kids i guess. But the magician was i guess was too much animated. I mean, he looked like came from some Arabian nights movies. Scripts was not witty. Voice was sometimes terrible. But when you really want to watch it with open mind and put all AAA class movies aside from mind like Disney makes, you'd rather enjoy it ! Disney, pixer or Dreamworks put a lot of money into production and i was rather surprised to see they made it out of so little money ! And it was not a How to train your dragon rip of either, both are totally different. The story is predictable though.
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Enjoyable but what was with the audio
kyphe7 December 2013
The animation superb! the plot by the numbers! the script lays it on a bit thick in parts but all of that is fine hokum for a Sunday afternoon! But the audio? I thought it was a bug in the trailer on IMDb but it was not! the sound is about a 10th of a second out of sync and it was flat and deadpan not rich and vibrant. I think that unless I was just unlucky or imagining things someone needs to get a lawsuit going! As someone messed up in post production! and that is a lot of highly skilled highly paid voice acting that they messed with. It is not a game breaker but it does detract from the whole experience. Other than the sound, my only other gripe was a it being a little to shallow with the main female character in some crude attempt at feminine empowerment which I have no issue with in principle, they took a 3d character and made an unconvincing 2d personality.
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Justin and the Knights of Valour Review
lukehere9928 September 2013
Even worse than I expected. Justin and the Knights of Valour is completely unfunny despite it's promising cast, and it's depressing that Mark Strong (Frank D'Amico) is the villain. The story is weak predictable and obviously stolen from How To Train Your Dragon, it has every kids movie cliché you can possibly imagine. Even children who looked about 7 were running around the theater bored out of their minds. And the animation was terrible, better than anything I could do obviously, but still terrible. When I looked at the background, it reminded me of when your watching a play and they have a painted canvas which makes you watch what's going on in the foreground instead. Another annoying thing is that the soundtrack made it feel like a cheesy 80's movie, and not in a good way like Shrek. Finally every joke was juvenile and slapstick, which works for about 5 minutes not 100. I have proof that not even children will enjoy this by the kids running down the aisles next to us and speaking over the movie.

I do not recommend Justin and the Knights of Valour to anyone, thank god the tickets were completely free.
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I feel confident in predicting that this is a film that will have lasting appeal to both young and old for many years to come.
geoffgee25 September 2013
Justin and the Knights of Valour is very well executed and exciting adventure film. In costume and characterisation it has many similarities with 'Tangled', 'How to Train Your Dragon' and 'Brave'. All three last named are films I love by the way. For me Justin and the Knights of Valour is a worthy successor to them all. The artwork is very beautiful and imaginative, the script is intricate (for a children's film) and all the main characters are amusing and likable. They are also nicely voiced. I particularly liked Saoirse Ronan's Irish accented Talia. I'm in my late sixties (male) and saw the film on my own. I wasn't bored for a single second. On the contrary, I found the story to be totally absorbing. I'm also a bit of an unashamed romantic - so I was keen to discover how things would work out between Justin and his (two) young lady friends. There are also a couple of better than average songs I'd like to hear again. As best as I can recall the incidental music is fitting and well performed. (I intend to see the film again soon, so I will pay more attention to the musical score then.) I highly recommend this film and feel confident in predicting that it will have lasting appeal to both young and old for many years to come.
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Nothing special
quan28108925 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A classical story. A boy whose grandfather was the last knight of a kingdom and was killed by a fallen comrade chose to follow his grandfather's path. He found the holy land of knights, received training, defeated the fallen knight to save the kingdom and found his true love. In short, it can be said to be very similar to Star War. However, "Justin and the knights of Valour" is far more underdeveloped. The story is totally predictable and there isn't a single surprise during the entire movie. It can only be considered as a watchable movie for kids with its "our hero will surely win" approach.

I give it a 4
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Could have been so much better considering the talent involved
TheLittleSongbird18 September 2013
The main attraction was the voice cast, full of talented people and what a line-up. The trailer wasn't really all that promising, it was of the competently animated but thinly plotted with flat jokes kind of animated film. Unfortunately, Justin and the Knights of Valour as a film wasn't that much better than its trailer. Was it completely terrible? No. Justin and the Knights of Valour doesn't have amazing animation but it is very competent and colourful with nice textures. The only not-so-good thing in this regard was the dragon, too bumblingcrocodile-like in design. It's pretty much the same with the music, rousing and pleasant to listen to if not particularly memorable. Freddie Highmore is a likable protagonist and the wise monks played by Charles Dance, James Cosmo and Barry Humphries are a nice touch and provide what spark there is to the story.

Was Justin and the Knights of Valour disappointing? Yes it was, one of the weakest animated films of 2013, or at least what has been seen by me so far.

The voice cast are talented but their talents are not used well and most didn't seem to be connecting with the material. Saiorse Ronan brought some sass to her role but often sounded forced, Antonio Banderas sounded uninterested in a pale imitation of Puss in Boots role(sadly that was true of Alfred Molina as well), Rupert Everett camps it up and over-compensated and David Walliams is painfully unfunny and is just annoying. Mark Strong was reasonably good, but he had material that was beneath him and suffered from a villainous character that was poorly written and underdeveloped.

They were let down by a rather dreary script that is laden with jokes that are flat in alternative to witty and dialogue that is rather lacking in life.

As well as a thin story that didn't do anything imaginative or fresh with a predictable premise. The pacing felt stretched out and dull with the writing as vapid as it was, and the film ends on an unsurprising and somewhat syrupy note. The archetypal characters lack colour and interesting personalities, so it's not easy to root for them. They're poorly developed too, Strong's character was written as almost feeling like an afterthought and seems to be just there as a form of obligatory conflict.

All in all a very disappointing animated family film, there was a lot of potential but the film does little with it. This is of course a subjective personal opinion- and to be taken with a pinch of salt- from a 21 year old who adores animated films and is aware of who they're mainly aimed at. That's not attention-seeking, merely to stop any stereotyping, condescension or parental ignorance(like the old, annoying and unnecessarily patronising "it's a kids film don't be so cynical). 4/10 Bethany Cox
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Good family entertainment
Vera Jay16 September 2013
Watched Justin and the Knights of Valour this weekend with my 8 year old daughter, my friend and her two similar age kids and they absolutely loved it! they were well entertained during the whole film, and I quite enjoyed it too as animation films go. Makes a nice change to see a classical animated story as opposed to dancing animals or the smurfs... And there are nice things in it for adults too: the British voice cast is great (watch out for Charles Dance as one of the monks)and the music was a nice surprise too. Nice simple story, packed with the action that the kids love and with some nice things for parents too.
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