Film Scouts Reviews

"Arabian Knight"

by Eleanor Ringel

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Animator Richard Williams' unusual style-a far cry from Disney's pretty pictures, it conjures up Peter Maxx and M.C. Escher- takes some getting used to, but overall, this is a clever and visually inventive animated feature. A plucky princess (voice by Jennifer Beals) and a brave cobbler (Matthew Broderick) join forces to save Bagdad from the bad guys. The late Vincent Price provides the voice of an evil sorcerer while Jonathan Winters gets most of the good jokes as a rat-faced comic-relief thief. Also on hand (overheard?) are Eric Bogosian as a kvetching vulture and Toni Collette ("Muriel's Wedding") as the princess's brawny nurse. Williams' credits range from the opening sequences of such quintessentially '60s films as "What's new Pussycat?" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" to the Oscar-winning animated effects for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" "Arabian Knight" is clearly a labor of love, but it's hard to guess his intended audience. The story and gags are six-year-old simple, but it's the rare six-year-old who'll get jokes about Mel Torme or "Les Miz."

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