The animated movie Quest For Camelot stars Jessalyn Gilsig as a teen girl named Kayley who wants to be a knight of the Round Table, Cary Elwes as a sexy blind hermit who looks like a gelfling, and Gary Oldman as Ruber, a WCW wrestler.
The movie was based on 1976’s The King’s Damosel by Vera Chapman. The movie removed some of the book’s darker elements (like a backstory involving rape) and replaced it with more family friend components (like talking animal sidekicks). Names were changed around, too. “Kayley” works better in the late 90’s than the more 70’s “Lynette.” Both names are an odd fit with Arthurian legend, though. (I wonder if “Kayley” was a direct reference to “Sir Kay”, though. “Kayley” is not mentioned in the “Modern Interpretations” section of the Sir Kay wiki.)
The King’s Damosel (Large Print Edition) is currently ranked #1,609,568 in the Books category in Amazon. It is #309 is the very specific category of “Teen & Young Adult Arthurian Myths & Legends”. The Number One book in that category in something called Starbreak, the second book in the Rise to Omniscience series. I don’t know what it’s about or what it has to do with Arthurian legend, but the cover features a menacing gorilla with glowing fists. I don’t remember reading about that guy in The Once and Future King.
If you have a copy of one of those original Damosel books, though, you might want to hold onto it. The paperback copy of The Three Damosels (which contains the entire trilogy) is selling for a whopping $1,683.74 on Amazon.
The movie was a flop. Warner Animation would make two more movies (one of them being the celebrated but not-appreciated-in-its time Iron Giant) before deciding that direct-to-video was the way to go. Quest For Camelot‘s attempt at aping the formula pioneered by the Disney Renaissance would likely have been relegated to the dustbins I’d forgotten history alongside so many failed late-era Don Bluth projects if not for one thing.
It turns out that the truest path to immortality is having Ceine Dion and Andrea Bocelli cover it to class it up. “The Prayer” can now currently be heard at weddings, funerals, Easter celebrations, baptisms, and I am assuming Quinceañeras.
“The Prayer” was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards but lost to a different one from another animated feature: “When You Believe” from the Prince of Egypt. The soundtrack was performed separately initially. The dual-language duet, though, showed up on Celine Dion’s 1998 Christmas album. The song shows up in Dion’s Essentials collection and in Bocelli’s Best of CD.
Dion also performed the song with a 17-year-old Josh Groban in 1999 when he had to fill in for Bocelli at the Grammy Awards. This was the earliest high-profile gig that the now multi-platinum artist had ever scored. When you think about it, Quest for Camelot made Josh Groban’s career.
Not bad for a movie featuring Eric Idle and Don Rickles as a two-headed dragon! See, it’s funny because one head is tall and the other is chubby.