Kayley's father, Sir Lionel, is one of the knights of the Round Table. Kayley wants to be a knight like her father. At Camelot, one of the knights, Ruber - wanting to become king of Camelot instead of King Arthur - attempts to kill Arthur, but Lionel intervenes and is killed. Ruber flees Camelot in exile after being rebounded by Excalibur. At Lionel's funeral, Arthur said she and her mother would be welcomed in Camelot.
10 years later, a griffin attacks Camelot, stealing Excalibur. Merlin's falcon Ayden attacks the griffin and the sword falls into the Forbidden Forest. Meanwhile, Ruber invades Kayley's home, holds everyone hostage and uses a potion he obtained from some witches to create steel warriors from his human henchmen and a rooster who becomes Bladebeak. He plans to use Juliana, Kayley's mother to gain entrance into Camelot.
Kayley escapes the henchmen and enters the Forbidden Forest where she encounters Garrett; a blind hermit, and Ayden. Kayley convinces him to help her find Excalibur and learns that Garrett was once a young stable boy in Camelot. The stable caught fire and Garrett was blinded by one of the horses that he was rescuing. But Lionel still believed in Garrett and taught him to adapt.
They enter Dragon Country and meet the funny two-headed dragon named Devon and Cornwall who despise each other, cannot breathe fire or fly (the reason they are bullied by other dragons), and both want to be individual. Devon and Cornwall decide to join to the group; Garrett reluctantly agrees after Kayley manages to convince him.
Later, they found the belt of Excalibur in a giant footprint. Kayley's insistence of questioning Garrett causing to miss Ayden's signal and is injured by one of Ruber's men. Kayley drags Garrett away as the thorn bushed creatures hold Ruber and his men captive, and escorts him into a small cave where the magic of the forest heals Garrett's wounds. While they are in the cave, Kayley and Garrett have a connection.
Later, the group goes into a giant cave where it lives an ogre who holds Excalibur; currently using it as a toothpick. Kayley succeeds in getting Excalibur and they escape before Ruber can get to it.
Exiting the forest with Excalibur, Garrett stays behind, feeling unwanted in Camelot. After he leaves, Ruber captures Kayley and takes Excalibur. Devon and Cornwall, who witnessed this, rush to Garrett convincing him to go save Kayley. By working together for the first time, Devon and Cornwall are able to fly and breathe fire. Meanwhile, Kayley is held captive in one of the wagons; Bladebeak releases Kayley from her ropes and Garrett comes to her aid and they enter the castle.
Inside, they find Ruber attempting to kill Arthur with Excalibur; now bonded to his arm. Kayley and Garrett intervene and trick Ruber into returning Excalibur to its stone, causing its magic to disintegrate Ruber and revert the mechanical men, including Bladebeak, back to normal. Later, with Camelot restored to its former glory, Kayley and Garrett become knights of the round table.Jessalyn Gilsig as Kayley
Andrea Corr as Kayley (singing voice)
Sarah Rayne as Young Kayley
Cary Elwes as Garrett
Bryan White as Garrett (singing voice)
Gary Oldman as Ruber
Eric Idle as Devon and Don Rickles as Cornwall
Jane Seymour as Juliana
Céline Dion as Juliana (singing voice)
Pierce Brosnan as King Arthur
Steve Perry as King Arthur (singing voice)
Bronson Pinchot as Griffin
Jaleel White as Bladebeak
Gabriel Byrne as Lionel
John Gielgud as Merlin
Frank Welker as Ayden
In May 1995, The Quest for the Grail was Warner Bros. Feature Animation's first announced project. Bill Kroyer and Frederik Du Chau were announced as the directors, with Sue Kroyer serving as co-producer. The initial story centered around Susannah who embarks on a dangerous quest for the Holy Grail to save her sister from a ruthless and powerful knight. The film was put into production before the story was finalized, but during the fall of 1995, animators were re-assigned to finish Space Jam. Meanwhile, in April 1996, Christopher Reeve was cast as King Arthur. During the interim, several story changes were made that resulted in creative differences between the Kroyers and the studio management, which forced the team to leave the project in February 1997. Du Chau eventually replaced Kroyer as director while Reeve was replaced by Pierce Brosnan when he became unavailable to record new dialogue.
Chrystal Klabunde, leading animator of Garrett, said in an article in Animation Magazine, "It was top heavy. All the executives were happily running around and playing executive, getting corner offices—but very few of them had any concept about animation at all, about doing an animated film. It never occurred to anybody at the top that they had to start from the bottom and build that up. The problems were really coming at the inexperience of everyone involved. Those were people from Disney that had the idea that you just said, 'Do it,' and it gets done. It never occurred to them that it got done because Disney had an infrastructure in place, working like clockwork. We didn't have that." Effects supervisor, Michel Gagné also said, "People were giving up. The head of layout was kicked out, the head of background, the executive producer, the producer, the director, the associate producer—all the heads rolled. It's kind of a hard environment to work in."
Reportedly, "cost overruns and production nightmares" led the studio to "reconsider their commitment to feature animation." Filmmaker Brad Bird (who helmed The Iron Giant, Warner Bros.' next animated film) thought that micromanaging, which he said had worked well for Disney but not for Warner Bros., had been part of the problem.
The film was mainly animated at the main Warner Bros. Feature Animation facility located in Glendale, California and London. In January 1996, the London animation studio was opened where more than 50 animators were expected to animate 20 minutes of animation, which would be sent back to Glendale to be digitally inked-and-painted. Additional studios that worked on the film included Yowza! Animation in Toronto, Canada where they assisted in clean-up animation, Heart of Texas Productions in Austin, and A. Film A/S in Copenhagen where, along with London, about a quarter of the film was animated overseas. The supervising animators were Athanassios Vakalis for Kayley, Chrystal Klabunde for Garrett, Cynthia Overman for Juliana, Alexander Williams for Ruber, Dan Wagner for Devon and Cornwall, Stephen Franck for the Griffin and Bladebeak, and Mike Nguyen for Ayden.
Computer animation was used for a few scenes, such as to create the rock ogre. According to Kit Percy, head of CGI effects, the software they used was designed for use in live-action.
On January 31, 1996, Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster were attached to compose several songs for the film. The album peaked at #117 on the Billboard 200, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for "The Prayer", and was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, also for "The Prayer" (though it lost the latter to "When You Believe" from DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt).
On the soundtrack, "The Prayer" was performed separately by Celine Dion in English, and by Andrea Bocelli in Italian. The now better-known Dion-Bocelli duet in both languages first appeared in October 1998 on Dion's Christmas album These Are Special Times; it was also released as a single in March 1999 and on Bocelli's album Sogno in April 1999.
The film was originally slated for November 1997, but was pushed to May 1998 to avoid competition with Anastasia and the re-release of The Little Mermaid.
The film was accompanied with a promotional campaign with promotional licensees including Wendy's and Kenner Products. It also partnered with Scholastic to produce children's books based on the film.
Quest for Camelot was released on VHS and DVD on October 13, 1998. The DVD included several making-of documentaries with interviews of the filmmakers and cast and a music video of "I Stand Alone". To help promote the home video release, Warner Bros. partnered with Act II, American Express, Best Western, CoinStar, Continental Airlines, Smucker's, and UNICEF by advertising trick-or-treat donation boxes before Halloween arrived.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 35% based on 23 reviews with an approval rating of 5.2/10.
David Kronke of the Los Angeles Times described the film as "formulaic", and wrote that it was "a nearly perfect reflection of troubling trends in animated features", called Kayley "a standard-issue spunky female heroine", and said that "Garrett's blindness is the one adventurous element to the film, but even it seems calculated; his lack of sight is hardly debilitating, yet still provides kids a lesson in acceptance." Critical of the story, animation, characters, and music, James Berardinelli of ReelViews claimed the film was "dull, uninspired, and, worst of all, characterized by artwork that could charitably be called "unimpressive."" Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote "Coming on the heels of 20th Century Fox's lush but silly Anastasia (a much better film than this one), Quest for Camelot suggests that Disney still owns the artistic franchise on animated features." Kevin J. Harty, editor of a collection of essays called Cinema Arthuriana, says that the film is "slightly indebted to, rather than, as Warner publicity claims, actually based on" Chapman's novel.
Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle opined the film is "a spirited adventure with generous romantic and comic charms" that "aims to please a range of ages, with loopy gags, corny romance, an oversized villain and catchy tunes performed by Celine Dion and LeAnn Rimes, among others."
It grossed $6,041,602 on its opening weekend ranking third behind The Horse Whisperer and Deep Impact. The film ultimately grossed $22,510,798 during its theatrical run in North America. Cumulatively, the film grossed $38,172,500 worldwide. The studio lost about $40 million on the film.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:2004: AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
"The Prayer" – Nominated
The video game was released in 1998 for Game Boy Color.