Justin falls a little bit short
Justin and the Knights of Valour
(PG, general release, 96 minutes)
Director: Manuel Sicilia. Stars: Freddie Highmore, Saoirse Ronan, Charles Dance, Antonio Banderas, Mark Strong. HHIII
A European 3D cartoon that tries very hard but ultimately lacks the creative and comic spark we've come to expect of Pixar, DreamWorks or Sony animations, Justin and the Knights of Valour is set in an imaginary medieval kingdom in which knights have been banned and lawyers rule the roost.
Justin (Freddie Highmore) comes from a long line of celebrated knights, but his father renounced the sword for the law and expects Justin to follow his lead. But Justin has always dreamed of dragons and damsels in distress, and runs away from home on a quest to prove he has what it takes to become a knight.
The film looks alright, though the central character lacks charisma drastically, and a fine voice cast includes Charles Dance, Mark Strong, Antonio Banderas and David Walliams.
Saoirse Ronan is very good as a spirited young barmaid who takes a shine to Justin, and the film rattles along at a brisk pace. But it never really does enough to justify its existence.