“Arabian Knight” No Adventure

Arabian Knight

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
August 29, 1995

1.5 stars

With the voices of:
Zigzag (Vincent Price)
Tack (Matthew Broderick)
Princess Yum Yum (Jennifer Beals)
Phido (Eric Bogosian)
Directed by Richard Williams. Written by Richard Williams and Margaret French.
Running time: 73 minutes.
Suggested for ages 4 and up. Rated G. At local theaters.

“Arabian Knight” may have been created by the Oscar-winning director and animator of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” but this weak feature-length cartoon sure doesn’t show it.

And that’s a shame, because Richard Williams spent more than two decades working on “Arabian Knight” in between other projects. His talents aren’t exhibited to their fullest in this movie, which looks flat and cheap.

The plot revolves around a cobbler, Tack, who falls in love with Princess Yum Yum (what’s with that name?), who feels restricted by her ineffectual father, King Nod.

Tack is imprisoned by King Nod’s evil adviser, the sorcerer Zigzag, who wants to marry Yum Yum and rule the kingdom. A gold-hungry thief who unintentionally helps save the day is supposed to provide comic relief, but he’s more obnoxious than anything else.

A major problem with this cartoon is that the hero looks like the love child of Casper and Dondi.  With his freakishly large round eyes and white face, Tack looks more like a toddler than a man, especially compared to the voluptuous Princess Yum Yum.  Tack also pulls a reverse Michael Jackson halfway through when his face inexplicably transforms from anemic white to bronze tan.

“Arabian Knight” tries to be all things to all people. It throws in an exotic locale for fans of “once upon a time” stories, some fight scenes for young boys, a little romance for young girls, and some modern-day quips that are supposed to be funny.  But most youngsters won’t get such wisecracks as, “Nobody lives like this except college kids,” which the thief utters when he goes into Tack’s messy work space.  But a couple of parents did chuckle when a vulture announced, “I’m so hungry I can eat a vegetarian.”

Though touted as an animated musical, the music is pretty forgettable. Thrown in even more haphazardly than in your standard Elvis flick, the songs do nothing to heighten the entertainment value or advance the plot.

“Arabian Knight” is no worse than your standard Saturday-morning cartoon fare.  Unfortunately, it’s also no better.


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