on 2 April 2016
JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR 3D [2013 / 2014] [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray] Every Kingdom Needs A Hero!
Set in a magical world that children still dream of, ‘JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR’ is about the determination of a young boy in becoming a man as he embarks on a quest to fulfil his dreams of becoming one of the Knights of Valour. Soon, Justin must rise to the challenge quickly when banished former knight Sir Heraclio [Mark Strong] and his army return and threaten to destroy the Kingdom.
‘JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR’ (Spanish: ‘Justin y la espada del valor’) is a 2013 English-language Spanish 3D computer animated fantasy film whose working title was ‘Goleor: The Scales and the Sword.’ It is a heart-warming story about friendship, honour and courage, filled with adventure, action and fun.
FILM FACT: The soundtrack also contains "Kung Fu" performed by Ash, "Be Myself" performed by Aiden Grimshaw on his album Misty Eye, "It's a Party" performed by The Subways on the album Money and Celebrity and "Heroes" performed by Rebecca Ferguson and The Metropolitan Orchestra. The movie was done in 3D computer animation and the 3D animation special effects for the film were done by Post23.
Voice Cast: Freddie Highmore, Antonio Banderas, James Cosmo, Charles Dance, Tamsin Egerton, Rupert Everett, Barry Humphries, Alfred Molina, Mark Strong, David Walliams, Julie Walters, Olivia Williams, Saoirse Ronan, Michael Culkin, Richard O'Brien, Lloyd Hutchinson, Stephen Hughes, Matt Wilkinson, Nigel Lambert, Tayler Marshall, James 'Jimmy' O'Brien, Niab Nathaniel, Stephen Marcus and Keith Wickbam
Director: Manuel Sicilia
Producers: Antonio Banderas, Francesca Nicoll, Isabel García Peralta, Kerry Fulton, Marcelino Almansa, Ralph Kamp and Sarah Arnott
Screenplay: Manuel Sicilia (story) and Matthew Jacobs
Composer: Ilan Eshkeri
Cinematography: Javier Fernández
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 96 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Entertainment One
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR’ 3D is a pretty solid animated film in which its shortcomings are overshadowed by a brisk pace, nicely balanced character interaction, and is a handsome and engaging entertainment for all the family.
JUSTIN [Freddie Highmore] lives in a kingdom where bureaucrats rule and knights have been ousted. His dream is to be become one of the Knights of Valour, like his grandfather was, but his father REGINALD [Alfred Molina], the chief counsel to the QUEEN [Olivia Williams], wants his son to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer.
After an inspiring visit to his beloved GRANDMOTHER [Julie Walters] 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], a quirky wizard called MELQUIADES [David Walliams], the handsome SIR CLOREX [Antonio Banderas] and is mentored by three monks; BLUCHER [James Cosmo], LEGANTIR [Charles Dance] and BRAULIO [Barry Humphries], who teach and test him in the ancient ways of the Knights of Valour.
Whilst an unlikely candidate for knighthood, JUSTIN must rise to the challenge quickly when banished former knight SIR HERACLIO [Mark Strong] and his army, led by SOTA [Rupert Everett], return and threaten to destroy the Kingdom. Young Justin [Freddie Highmore] starts on his way to the training grounds, first stopping at a pub housing the film’s most interesting characters, like Talia, a likable barmaid [Saoirse Ronan], and Melquaides or “Mel” [David Walliams], a “mystic” with two personalities. Melquaides is the most amusing character in the movie. Melquaides talks to his “other self “ like Gollum in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films, but he can move so fast from one place to another, he often is seen literally as two people. It’s a pure animation conceit, and very clever.
When Justin leaves the pub and resumes his journey, this is where film’s title should come onto the screen. Next, we meet Justin’s trainers, another set of better-realized characters voiced by James Cosmo, Charles Dance and Barry “Dame Edna” Humphries. Though we’ve been here before in Kung Fu Panda, ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ and ‘The Karate Kid,’ the sequence still works, with amusing side gags including a room sized miniature chess-like tableaux that is constantly in danger of being destroyed. The other really funny part of this 3D animated film I really enjoyed is the dramatic flying sequence with the crocodile, where you will not believe a crocodile can fly and there is some really clever animation employed in this part of the animated film and you will have to watch the film to find out what happened, but again this sequence was totally hilarious and extremely funny and the animators have been very inventive in how the crocodile performs, especially with Justin hanging on for dear life. There is no denying that this film feels derivative of ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ but it has no genuine magicians, fairies or. Justin must accomplish his quest on his own. The story puts one more in the mind of Walt Disney animated film ‘The Sword in the Stone.’
Let’s start with the animation, there are glimpses of some real talent here, especially in the middle expository sequence where the story of Justin’s heroic grandfather is finally revealed to him but the rest just isn’t up to the standards set by so many Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks features from the past few years. This doesn’t mean a company with a smaller budget cannot create a great work, but ‘JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR’ is very ambitious for a Company based in Granada in Spain, and create large wonderful colourful landscapes with lots of focusing on the more intimate scenes that allow for greater flexibility of all the characters on the screen. In fact, in those small scenes and sequences Justin has a few of his best moments; they are just too few and far between, but despite this situation, I still enjoyed it very much, especially the impressive 3D.
The film’s “presenter,” Antonio Banderas, gives a fine comic performance in the role of charlatan Sir Clorex, the type of macho buffoon that Patrick Warburton practically patented. But with a few exceptions, the film tends to lean toward characters who are act silly but aren’t largely funny. Considering that this was made in today’s more sensitive age, it’s disconcerting there is such a stereotypical character in Sota [Rupert Everett]. Did Rupert Everett know that his character would be animated in such a mincing way, and Sota continues to be a broad caricature in the second half of the film, but his flouncing isn’t as pronounced?
The climactic battle is inevitable and predictable, but nevertheless exciting and suspenseful. Because Justin has to train and learn rather than get assistance from magic or sidekicks, the movie sends a strong message to kids about seeking goals with hard work and no shortcuts. Ilan Eskeri’s score is suitably sweeping to buoy the action and breath-taking visuals; a handful of contemporary tunes recall the tunes in ‘Treasure Planet.’
When watching ‘JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR’ 3D from the beginning, it is a slow burner, but as the story progresses it really builds up to a really wonderful 3D animated film and it becomes a more solid animated film by the brisk pace, nicely balanced character interaction, and is a handsome and engaging entertainment for all the family. ‘JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR’ 3D reach new heights once the action is taken to the almighty Tower of Wisdom. Sure, it’s not the most original name for Knight Headquarters, but characters like Legantir and Blucher add intrigue as Knights who are devoted to finding the next master swordsman and defender of the order. Director Manuel Sicilia delivers with a jolly training montage, which features Justin in full meditation mode with palms to the sky.
With this 3D animated film with the all-star cast with the likes of Antonio Banderas, Freddie Highmore, Charles Dance, Rupert Everett, Julie Walters, Tamsin Egerton, Alfred Molina and David Walliams that really put some effort to make this an enjoyable animated film. Here is an animated story of one young man's quest. It is a tale of dreams, goals and how important it is for parents to listen to children and their dreams for the future. It also tells of friendship, courage, kindness and working together for what is good and just. It has some lovely silly moments that made me laugh and the Madhouse Mini-testers thought that it was a bit like a cross between Mike the Knight and Shrek! Sadly I had actually read some really nasty negative views on this 3D animated film, but I am very confused and I really not know why? Its action packed, funny, with wonderful 3D animation, full of excitement and perfect for the period the 3D animated film is set in.
3D Blu-ray Video Quality – Entertainment One presents this beautiful Blu-ray disc in both 3D and 2D versions of the film. Both transfers retain the film’s original 2.35:1theatrical aspect ratio. The 3D transfer and overall animation on ‘JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR’ was a pleasant and exciting experience. Animated films usually benefit from the 3D format and this film is no exception. Featuring some amazing layering throughout and some pop out effects which adds to the film, the 3D boasts some impressive immersion and depth. Some particular highlights include the Justin vs Gustav, a brilliant and very funny flying crocodile scene, borrowing the dynamic action from ‘How to Train your Dragon,’ seeing them fly through the air and crashing into pillars etc., benefits from being viewed in 3D. Long shots in the open fields with mountain ranges in the background also feature superb depth and dimension. Bright bold and colourful throughout, the transfer highlights some of the hard work that has gone into animating it. Small detail like the texture on castle walls, blades of grass on the fields and clothing all exhibit some fine detail that can be observed up close and impress. An impressive observation was the lighting. Scenes were rich with natural sunlight which again, adds to the animation, the finale which was set at dusk was a particular highlight as well. Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
3D Blu-ray Audio Quality – Entertainment One presents this beautiful Blu-ray disc with two audio tracks which consist of 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio. Viewing the film in 3D, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, the sonics match the quality of the video transfer and results are superb. Featuring a very playful surround mix that takes advantage of the whole soundstage, the rear and front sound effects are very discrete and full of detail with a good example being the detail and aggressiveness of the clashing of swords. The surround speakers are full of activity that creates a active and exciting soundstage throughout. Front speakers are used to full effect as well with some good examples as arrows being fired and using the full speaker setup to pan around the room. The surround mix is used to good effect as well and gives some more impact to the film’s more action orientated scenes. The only fault I could with the audio mix was that the dialogue was a bit soft which resulted in some.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: The Making of Justin and the Knights of Valour  [1080i] [1.78:1] [07:04] This features gives us a brief look behind-the-scenes and contributing to this special are Freddie Highmore [Justin]; Manuel Sicilia [Director/Writer]; Alfred Molina [Reginald]; Julie Walters [Gran]; Mark Strong [Heraclio]; Saoirse Ronan [Talia]; James Cosmo [Blucher]; Charles Dance [Legantir]; Rupert Everett [Sota]; Antonio Banderas [Sir Clorex/Producer]; David Walliams [Melquiades]; Ilan Eshkeri [Composer] and Rebeca Ferguson [Performing “Heroes”]. What is really nice about this special is all who participate explain their part in the animated film and also explain in great detail of what their character is all about. We also get to see lots of behind-the-scene of the making of the animated film and also lots of clips from the animated film.
Special Feature: Making of Animation  [1080p] [1.78:1] [2:50] Here you get to view certain parts of the animated film, but with a PIP at the top left hand corner of the animated film of the voice actors in the recording studio, so you can see how the voices were created for the characters in the finished animated film, we also get a split screen feature that briefly intercuts between rehearsals, voice acting and pre-visual of random scenes. We only get to see Antonio Banderas [Sir Clorex] getting very animated in doing his specific over the top voice recording for the character in the animated film. You also get to see two guys fighting with swords and being recorded at the same time to transfer to the animated film.
Special Feature: Making of Sound Design  [1080p] [1.78:1] [4:08] Here you get two random clips intercut with behind-the- scenes footage of the recording sessions to get the specific sound effects, first up we see the bells being recorded, lots of different animals being recorded and you also get to see walls being smashed to get the effect of the walls crashing.
Special Feature: Production Progress  [1080p] [1.78:1] [3:04] Here we get to view the rough cut progress reels of key scenes from sketches, Pre-visual to the final rendered animated film.
Special Feature: Deleted Scenes  [1080p] [1.78:1] [4:44] Here we get a collection of four deleted scenes that were removed before final rendering of the animated film took place and they also feature a temp sound mix and are time coded and they include “Justin’s Dream;” “Justin Going To His cell;” “Arrival at Lara’s House” and “Justin’s Trip With Lara’s Shots.” You can of course either watch them separately or Play All.
Special Feature: Cast and Crew Interviews  [1080p] [1.78:1] [61:20] This is a rather surprising special feature on the disc. Just over an hour’s worth of very in depth interviews from key cast and crew that is available to view in one sitting or you can select which cast or crew member you would prefer to watch. But the actual people you get to hear from with their personal views are Antonio Banderas [Sir Clorex]; Freddie Highmore [Justin]; James Cosmo [Blucher]; Charles Dance [Legantir]; Rupert Everett [Sota]; Barry Humphries [Braulio]; Alfred Molina [Reginald]; Mark Strong [Heraclio]; David Walliams [Melquiades]; Julie Walters [Gran]; Saoirse Ronan [Talia]; Manuel Sicilia [Director/Writer]; Rebeca Ferguson [Singer]; Ilan Eshkeri [Composer] and Javier Fernández [Director of Photography]. Out of all the extras, I found this very interesting, as it was great to hear every one’s personal and intimate views and what the voice cast thought of their characters and how they all enjoyed working on the animated film, as well as working with people behind-the-scenes who worked on the animated film ‘JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR’ 3D.
Blu-ray Preview Trailers: ‘FREE BIRDS’ 3D  [1080p] [1.78:1] [1:20]; ‘TARZAN’ 3D  [1080p] [1.78:1] [1:05]; ‘GNOMEO AND JULIET’ 3D  [1080p] [1.78:1] [2:35] and ‘A MONSTER IN PARIS’ 3D  [1080p] [1.78:1] [1:33].
Finally, ‘JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR’ 3D certainly has great heart in the right place and does contain some moral messages for the younger viewers, so it does come highly recommended, but it also has some hilarious comedy moments for the adult audiences. On the plus side though, the Blu-ray disc features a superb audio and 3D video transfer throughout and a surprisingly good set of bonus features that does give this release a lot of merit, which I am glad I have added to my Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom