DEVON & CORNWALL
Realm: Camelot (Warner Bros. Interpretation)
Featured in: The Quest for Camelot (1998)
Voiced By: Eric Idle & Don Rickles
Once, way back when I was but a child and naïve to the way of film and animation, my classmates and I were given a magazine to read an enjoy. This magazine was quite literally a child’s equivalent to TIMES magazine and in one particular issue, I recall there being some serious talk of challengers rising to try and take the crown of film animation from Disney’s head and the leader of this gang of ruffians was none other than Warner Bros. Animation and their film Quest for Camelot following, quite literally, on the coattails of Fox Animation Studios’ Anastasia.
Where do I even begin?
Aside from Warner Bros. Animation’s The Iron Giant, which debuted in the following year with such commercial success that one is considered to have lived under a rock if they hadn’t caught it on television at some point or another never mind them airing over and over and… Sorry where was I? Ah, yes, anyway, neither Warner Bros. nor Fox truly reached the level to be considered as contenders let alone rivals. Those titles belong firmly to Dreamworks as I’m many can agree. That’s not to say that either studio hadn’t had their share of fantastic films. It’s just that Quest for Camelot isn’t one of them.
For those who’ve seen the Nostalgia Critic’s review on the film, I shall say that I too share in his opinion that the film is severely lacking in any form of rhyme, reason, or explanation towards anything. For those who haven’t seen it, give it a watch, it’s entertaining if nothing else. As far as Arthurian legends go, this film only took the basic staples of which any child could tell. In point of fact, there is very little of Arthur or anyone of import from his legends in this film at all. Then there is of course one of the most obvious attempts at mimicking the success that is Robin Williams’ Genie…
Devin and Cornwall.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love dragons from the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly, but these two… There is nothing strictly wrong with either of them. Nothing that has not been done to the rest of the characters at any rate, that being their numerous references to modern concepts that neither they, nor anyone, should know about. Rather it’s that neither of them… have a point in the film. You could tell the entire story as it is without Devon or Cornwall involved and very little would be made different by their absence.
The two of them had three major moments in the film, they warned Garrett of Kayley’s danger and the threat to Camelot, flew him to Camelot to save Kayley, and beat off the Griffin under Ruber’s employ. The first could have been done by Ayden, Garrett’s hawk who also happened to belong to Merlin, the second and third though… To be fair, it’s not like Camelot wasn’t within running distance by that point and I had honestly hoped for some form of redemption in the Griffin considering it was easily the most hilarious and realistic character in the entire movie.
As to Devon and Cornwall’s design as a dragon, I’ll give credit to making them distinct on either side rather than just a two-headed dragon. Cornwall is short and squat and somewhat portly arm while Devon is long-necked and possessing a rather impressive pair of curved horns to offset his rather gangly arm. The two are also near complete opposite of the other with Devon being the sophisticated one to Cornwall’s crassness. I’ll also give points to the idea that with the two of them constantly at odds with one another it was nothing short of miraculous that the two of them could even walk. It was only through their mutual cooperation in defense of Kayley that the two brothers became able to fly and breathe fire.
However, there are two other points I must make towards the dragons’ design. The first being that the two of them are, for whatever reason, hatchling sized despite being, at least, over two hundred years old. This is made explicitly obvious when they first appear hiding in the remains of another dragon’s egg and that all the other dragons are easily three to four times bigger than they not including their massive wings or tail.
Second, and most insulting of all, Devon and Cornwall are closer to being humanoid in form and function, walking about on their hind legs with actual hands and arms rather than proper forelimbs. I’d question how such a dragon could come to be but the pair answer that well enough with their introduction of… Well… To quote:
“The reason why cousins shouldn’t marry.”