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Western Animation / Justin and the Knights of Valour

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Justin and the Knights of Valour is a 2013 Spanish 3D animated adventure fantasy film co-produced by Antonio Banderas, co-written (with Matthew Jacobs) and directed by Manuel Sicilia, with an All-Star Cast including Freddie Highmore, Saoirse Ronan, Alfred Molina, Mark Strong, Barry Humphries, Rupert Everett, and Antonio Banderas.

Justin lives in the Kingdom of Gabylonia, where bureaucrats rule and knights have been ousted. His dream is to become one of the Knights of Valour, like his grandfather, Sir Roland. But his father Reginald, a widower and the chief counsel to the Queen, wants his son to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer. After an argument with his father, Justin seeks comfort from his grandmother who encourages him to follow his dreams. Justin notices that his grandfather's sword is missing, so he decides to go and find his grandfather's sword as his quest. His grandmother gives him a key which originally belonged to his grandfather and tells him to go to an abbey where three wise monks would train him. Before Justin leaves on his quest, he visits his crush, Lara, who is a spoiled brat. He went to say farewell to her, though she wasn't really listening. Justin then slips out of home and embarks on a quest to become a knight.


Along the way, he meets a beautiful, feisty girl named Talia, a barmaid who works at the Broken Eagle Inn, a job which she doesn't enjoy, and a quirky wizard called Melquiades. Meanwhile, the Queen is seen to have some deep regrets regarding her decision of ousting the knights, of which an egocentric armour polisher overhears before deciding to turn himself into a "knight", naming himself Sir Clorex. He instantly becomes popular with the townsfolk, and is used to attract customers at the Broken Eagle Inn.

Not long after, Justin arrives at the abbey and receives training from the monks: Braulio, an inventor who receives nervous attacks when something goes wrong with his machinery and inventions, Legantir, the head monk of the abbey. and Blucher, a knight and an old friend of Sir Roland. They train him using the ways of the Knights of Valour so that he may defeat the traitorous and resentful Sir Heraclio, who even now plots his revenge on the Kingdom he feels had spurned him.


Justin and the Knights of Valour provides examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: After being dismissed from the abbey before subsequently failing to stand up against Sota at Lara's party, Justin decides that his quest to become a knight was a failure. He chooses to comply with his father's wishes at last and prepares to go to law school. This doesn't last long, however, as on the way there, he learns of Lara's kidnapping, and with Talia's help, is persuaded to go to her rescue.
  • Accidental Hero: Sir Clorex builds a glowing reputation among the townspeople simply by boasting about his "greatness" and a few moments of clumsiness that get misinterpreted as badassery.
  • The Ace: Sir Roland, Justin's late grandfather. He is widely celebrated as the greatest of the Knights of Valour.
  • Agent Peacock: Sota, despite being a Sissy Villain, is also genuinely intelligent, ruthless and quite competent at villainy. Not to mention a very good fighter.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Copas' horse, Sprinter, acts more like a retriever than his own species, even catching a shield like a frisbee.
  • Award-Bait Song: The song "Heroes", sung by Rebecca Furguson, the first verse of which plays as Justin readies himself to leave on his quest and part of the rest of it plays early in the credits, has many of the similarities of an Award-Bait Song, though its lyrics are a lot more directly relevant to the movie and Justin's ongoing theme throughout it than is typically standard for such songs.
  • Badass Bystander: Mr.Mercatio, who previously complained about the baker selling yesterday's rock hard bread hits one of the bouncer's over the head with it when he falls near his table(ruining Mercatio's domino tower)during the second bar brawl, knocking the bouncer out out.
  • Bad Boss: Subverted with Sir Heraclio. At one point when his army are training and one of them is doing a sword form improperly, Heraclio gives a demonstration on how to thrust properly, seemingly stabbing the man for failing. However, it turns out he just stabbed the man's drinking gourd on his belt.
  • Bar Brawl: Two of them. Both at the Broken Eagle Inn. Both involving its two Bouncers. The first time sees Justin getting thrown out, twice, and only ends on a lucky note thanks to Talia's quick thinking. The second time around sees things much more favorably for Justin, who's just back from his training; he even manages to toss one of the Bouncers out!
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Champ sides with Justin and saves Talia from his older brother simply because he politely asks him for help, and Champ had suffered only mistreatment and verbal abuse from Sota.
  • Big Bad: Sir Heraclio, who wants to usurp the Queen for signing the decree that banned the existence of knights.
  • Bloodless Carnage: This movie almost totally plays this Trope straight. Blood is only ever seen once, and it's tastefully subtle and somewhat easy to miss. Pay attention to Heraclio's stolen sword, as he pulls it out from Blucher. For about a second, you can see the majority of its blade is dinged red with Blucher's blood.
  • Boomerang Comeback: Sota pulls this trick while fighting Talia, apparently missing when throwing his shield but nailing her on the return while gloating about it.
  • Brick Joke:
    • On his first day, Justin is shown the interorder, live-displayed, simulated wargame going on between their abbey and one from the far eastnote . This single game, which has been on-going for over 450 years and spanning multiple generations, is almost accidentally undone when Justin mistakenly pulls the chandelier's rope instead of the bell, though Blucher stops it in time, so the only damage done is Braulio having one of his fits. At the end of Justin's training, the events of the "Dragon Test" causes a tower to knock against the game room. All seems well though... before the chandelier falls on top of and utterly destroys the display anyway. Braulio preceeds to snap.
    • Early in the film, an old man, Mr.Mercatio, argues with the baker and accuses him of selling yesterdays bread(hitting it against a wooden stand and cracking the stand in the process). Justin borrows the bread to smash open a lock to help a little girl get her kitten. Later in the film, during the second bar brawl, Mercatio is playing domino's and one of the bouncers lands nearby, knocking the tower over. Mercatio, enraged, hits the bouncer over the head with the bread, knocking him out.
    • Then there's the "token of affection" that Justin "receives" from Lara the day before he sets out on his journey to knighthood. It was a sock, and it was thrown at him by Lara who wasn't really even listening to him, which he assumed was a token of affection, albeit a weird one, and dedicated his knighthood to, with the promise of returning it to her when he became a knight. Well, he becomes a knight, and he stayed true to his word. Lara, completely oblivious about the sock she threw at him, takes it out of the small satchel, and everyone gets a good chuckle out of it at her expense.
  • Burger Fool: The Broken Eagle Inn, once a legendary meeting place for heroes, became a medieval-esque fast food joint after knighthood was outlawed. No wonder Talia hates working there so much.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": It isn't named or seen alive, but at Lara's coming-out party, a cooked turkey-looking bird can be seen. It has four drumsticks...
  • Camp Straight: Sota, though said "Straightness" is rather ambiguous. He once got momentarily distracted by the reflection in his own shield, commenting that "Ugh. This life will be the death of me." as he checks himself out.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Melquiades is... not easy to talk to. The Split Personality has a lot to do with it.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Sota and Heraclio fight dirty. Though Justin always continues to fight with a sense of fair play, his teachings did instill in him a sense of cunning in battle. Sir Blucher specifically warns him to watch out for this trope from his opponents early on when he knees him in the "Crown Jewels".
  • Deadly Disc: Sota can throw his shield like a Precision-Guided Boomerang, including pulling a Boomerang Comeback on Talia.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits initially have drawn images of the character, then shows events before and after the movie, including Mr.Mercatio having a statue of him carved by Legantir(only as an overly muscular version of himself), Champ painting the hallway that was used in the prison break with Sota critiquing it, Sota and Lara having a spa day and a puppet show of Justin vs Heraclio.
  • Dirty Coward: The "Sir" Clorex is this in reality. Talia calls him out on this towards the end of the film.
  • Disney Death: Sir Blucher, after being stabbed by Heraclio. With Melquiades using supposed magic leaves, needing the hands of a magician and a true knight to bring him back. At first, it appears it doesn't work, but Blucher soon recovers.
    Blucher: Don't bury me yet, lad!
  • Disney Villain Death: Overlaps with Self-Disposing Villain. Sir Heraclio falls to his death off a waterfall. Noticeably, he can be seen constantly trying to clutch that crown he was wearing all the while he fell, and him shifting his weight to steady/catch said crown is likely a large part as to why the old, watersoaked wooden wheel gave in, making him fall in the first place.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Alcoholic beverages do exist in this movie, and an obviously underage teenage girl, Talia, is shown serving them during her stint at the local medieval Burger Fool, but at Lara's party, she is expressly shown to be getting herself a drink... of chocolate. Straight; that is, bitter.
  • Double Entendre: Legantir unintentionally sets himself up for one, which Blucher immediately lampshades.
  • The Dragon: Sota, Heraclio's right-hand man, and perhaps the only truly capable fighter on his side.
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Sota's brothers. Copas is a chronic drunk and Champ is a perfectly straight example, before its subverted towards the end, of a large brainless brute.
    • The Broken Eagle's two Bouncers, Igor and Slamski, fit this Trope even better.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Crosses with You Have Out Lived Your Usefulness. Heraclio notices the "Sir" Clorex's thirst for the ransom money and cites disapproval, what with Clorex supposedly being a knight and all (somewhat hypocritical of him to say, since Heraclio himself thirsts for the past glory days of his knighthood, and his Revenge largely stems around reclaiming them). He orders his goons to kill him as he leaves, Clorex only being saved by the timely distraction of Justin and Talia.
  • Evil Is Hammy:
    • Sota, very much so, what with his "Power! And Style!" catchphrase and everything.
    • Sir Heraclio isn't quite as over the top, but he himself can be found Chewing the Scenery when he really gets into it.
  • Evil Reactionary: Heraclio's goal is to essentially turn back the clock and make society the way it use to be when he was a knight.
  • Fallen Hero: Heraclio was also once counted amongst the Knights of Valour. Then, the law abolishing and disbanding the knighthood from Gabylonia was passed, and he was never quite the same since.
  • Foil: Clorex and Heraclio, both to Justin. The former is a more subtle and passing dichotomy, as compared to the latter who is more obvious and overt.
    • Clorex decides to "become" a knight after overhearing the romantization of being one and what it can possibly get him (girls, fame, and fortune), which happens as Justin is undergoing his actual knight training.
    • Heraclio's entire life is so completely wrapped around being a knight, that when knights were outlawed in Gabylonia, Heraclio, losing his sense of worth and being, loses his mind in the process. His obsession at reclaiming that glory is shown in contrast to Justin's earnest want of becoming a knight and bringing back the knighthood to Gabylonia.
  • Foreshadowing: His portrayal was never really anything positive, but Clorex stealing the jewel embedded in the armor he was polishing in his first appearance does directly showcase his money grubbing outlook and his willingness to do wrong in order to get rich, foreshadowing his kidnapping of Lara and presenting her to Heraclio as a means of getting a cut of the ransom.
  • Freak Out: Braulio suffers from nervous twitchie fits ever since an experiment of his failed in the past. Though he had sworn a vow of patience, he constantly comes close to losing it throughout Justin's training, until Justin's "Dragon Test" inadvertently causes the destruction of the live display of the generations-long wargame that theirs and a far-east order have been playing for over 450 years. When this happens, he loses it, until he notices Justin's unconscious, breathless form moments later. He's very quick to hug Justin once he comes to.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Braulio is one, with tiny implied Mad Scientist tendencies. Many of the gizmos he makes are quite well and beyond the setting's time. Like his little mechanical owl, or the flying and flamethrower apparatus he outfits the crocodile, Gustav, with.
  • Glory Hound:
    • Clorex is absolutely obsessed with fame and fortune. This is coupled with the fact that he's a Dirty Coward and otherwise extremely lazy. He's fine with lying and bumbling his way to fame with schemes, as opposed to honesty and hardwork like Justin.
    • For a darker spin, it is both shown and implied that Heraclio's bitterness and resentment about knighthood being outlawed in Gabylonia stems from this Trope. With all of his self-worth tied up into the glory of being a knight, knights being outlawed came as a rude new status quo for him, causing him to lash out (which ironically further justified the act of outlawing knights). In addition to Revenge, Heraclio's goal of becoming king is primarily a bid to satisfy his ego and sense of self-worth that he felt he'd lost.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Champ, Sota's larger Dumb Muscle brother, decides to betray him in the climax after Justin shows him the first act of kindness he's likely ever seen since hanging with his brother.
  • Hoistby His Own Petard: Heraclio during their final fight. When Justin unbalances Heraclio, he grabs onto the waterwheel they're fighting on. However, when his crown slips off, Heraclio grabs for it and the board he's holding onto breaks, leading to his death.
  • Honor Before Reason: Subverted in the sense that the truly honorable characters like Justin and his grandfather, Sir Roland, are both Honorable and very reasonable. Rather, they simply embody the spirit of being a Knight of Justice and Valour, and so are above fighting dirty and the like. In this case, they are shown to be in the right, in more ways than one.
  • Important Haircut: An Inversion. As a subtle showcasing of his development, Justin leaves the abbey with the sides and back of his humble, page-boy style haircut having grown out. In fact, we see him pass through the first throes of his development when his neatly trimmed bangs grow out between the point he leaves the Broken Eagle Inn and when he first arrives at the abbey.
  • It Was with You All Along: The Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane herb used by Legantir and Blucher to resuscitate Justin after his test is later used on a dying Blucher. Melquiades says that it requires the hands of a Wizard and a true knight together to work. Justin wasn't a knight yet by that point, but with Talia's prompting, he gives it a try. It works, which of course showed that Justin was always a knight in his heart, even if not in title (yet).
  • Kick the Dog: After Justin is poisoned and beaten while weakened by the Sota brothersand they flee from Sir Clorex without Clorex really doing anything, Lara mocks his vow to protect her and says he should go to law school, but not with her. Laser-Guided Karma finds her soon after.
  • Kicking My Own Butt: Melquiades/Corolius get into an argument which boils down to this.
  • Kissingthe Ground: Gustave the crocodile, after Justin succeeds at the final test and also saves them from a crash landinghappily kisses the earth, happy to be back on solid ground.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The legendary Sir Roland was this in the past as a renowned Knight of Valour. This is specifically what Justin aspires to throughout the film. In the end, he is this, very much literally, after he has been knighted.
  • The Lady's Favor: Justin gets what he believes to be an unorthodox "token of affection" from Lara the day before he leaves on his journey. Really, it was just a sock she threw in his general direction, and she wasn't really even paying any attention to him when she did it. Come the end of the movie, as promised, Justin returns the token, having completed his quest to become a knight, and a good chortle is had about all around at her expense when she realizes it's her sock.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Quite a few things throughout the story and its setting. For example, is Melquiades/Karolius really a wizard, or just a really lucky crackpot? What of Legantir? Or that recurring healing herb? Also, in the absence of magical creatures, Braulio has a crocodile outfitted with contraptions to pass as a dragon.
  • Miles Gloriosus: "Sir" Clorex suffers from this oh so much.
  • Muscle Angst: Justin doesn't have this problem, but Braulio is quick to point this out upon first meeting Justin, and even checks his biceps while shaking his hand.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Justin's physique doesn't really change, even after his training (likely because changing the model that much would have been too much trouble, so they opted for a more subtle visual change). He even comments to Lara that he's been "working out". Despite this lack of obvious change, after his training, he is seen to be able to successfully take down men bigger and brawnyer than himself, and not all strictly due to cunning on his part. Talia has similar successes with this Trope.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The flashback of Sir Roland's death at the hands of Sir Heraclio. Heraclio, after stabbing Roland with his own sword, is horrified at having killed his friend before fleeing into exile.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: For a given generosity of the word "hero", but it was Lara's boasting of her value at how much her ransom could be that leads Clorex to deliver her to Heraclio himself, and not long after he just accidentally rescued her, too.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Heraclio tries invoking this trope on Blucher once and Justin twice, saying that they all want the same thing of returning the order of the knights to the kingdom of Gabylonia. This doesn't work whatsoever, as neither of them are fooled into believing Heraclio seeks anything more than selfish glory and revenge.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Sota and his brothers; Sota is camp, fashion-obsessed and over the top, and of his other brothers one is a chronic drunk, the other's literally a big idiot. However when they fight the heroes, they actually prove to pretty good in a fight.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The above trope is inverted with pretty much every other authority figure in the movie. Either they're outright obstructive and a hindrance to any meaningful progress, due to the overabundance of rules and regulations, or they are utterly incompetent in one fashion or another.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sir Clorex's face screams this when he loses his sword and puts up his fists for a fight, only for Talia to grin and throw hers aside too, immediately delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the false knight.
  • Older Is Wiser: The three wise men. Legantir is a master wizard and scholar, Blucher is a former knight and therefore a master swordsman, and Braulio can create a dragon equivalent using mechanical wings and a flamethrower strapped to a crocodile.
    • Sir Heraclio is around the same age as Justin's late grandfather, and is arguably the best swordsman in the whole movie.
  • One of the Boys: Talia, thanks to growing up with 5 older brothers.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Despite being completely against violence, and useless in a fight, Reginald is willing to a grab a sword when Justin is in danger at Lara's party. From the looks of him when he does so, he's clearly terrified.
    • Sir Roland took on Heraclio in the first place because Heraclio tried to kill Reginald.
  • Poison Ring: Sota employs one with a spike that he uses to stab Justin, weakening him and blurring his vision. However, the effects are only temporary.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Sota can throw his shield and makes come back Captain America-style.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Justin's Grandma Lily is shown to be this when he comes to her for comfort after a fight with his dad. The Queen is also very reasonable, when she's not caught in depression's throes that is.
    • The three abbey monks are all rather reasonable, all things considered, but it's made clear that Sir Blucher is the most hopeful and receptive of Justin from the get-go.
    • Legantir stands out. While he initially is dubious of Justin, he gives him some emotional support after he makes Braulio have a fit. When news of Heraclio's invasion comes to them, Legantir agrees to test Justin, but says that if he fails, they must send him home, as he refuses to put his life at risk.
  • Rivals Team Up: YMMV on whether they're rivals, but Melquiades and Corolius, seeing Justin and Talia in danger, merge their minds to use their magic to call for help.
  • Royal Brat: Lara, full stop. Even if she's not actual royalty. After all, her family invented money, or so the rumor goes.
  • Rules Lawyer: Reginald, Justin's father, is a Well-Intentioned Extremist version. He wants to prevent unrest through laws and regulation, but he's too pigheaded to see the harm in having rules for literally everything. We later learn he got like this primarily after his father literally dies in his arms, the events of which likely came to pass not long after he lost his wife at that.
  • Secret Test of Character: Not really a secret, or even really a test. At the end of the movie, before a well-deserving Justin can be legally knighted, the law banning knights must be overturned, requiring two signatures, that of the queen's and Reginald's. Upon seeing his father's fearful hesitation, Justin was completely willing to turn down the offer of knighthood, the entire reason he left home for his quest and fought with his dad, all for his father's sake of well-being. It was this up-close show of integrity and maturity that allowed Reginald to get past his fears and worries and sign the rescinding.
    • A villainous example, earlier in the film Clorex, hoping for a cut of the ransom, brings Lara to Heraclio. Heraclio, noting that Clorex, who portrays himself as a knight cares a bit too much about gold, pretends to remember him from the battle of "Burntwood", which Clorex lies about remembering. Heraclio, having made up the event and still believes in knighthood, tells his men to kill Clorex.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Sir Clorex interrupts the Sota brothers attempt to kidnap Lara, Copas and Champ both run away, believing him to be a real knight. Sota even lampshades this after they leave him behind.
    Sota:This is SO unprofessional!
    • Later, when Gustave, who they believe is a real dragon comes to the rescue of the outnumbered Justin and Talia, Heraclio's army totally abandon the cause, fleeing in terror.
  • Sissy Villain: Sota. Dresses like a court jester, is obsessed with style and fashion, and is voiced by Rupert Everett.
  • Split Personality: Melquiades and Karolius. Apparently. This leads to loads of Talking to Themself, but also a Split-Personality Merge near the end of the movie.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Melquiades and Karolius decide to work together to call for help for Justin and Talia. The viewer is left to decide on whether Blucher and Gustav showing up was a coincidence or not.
  • Stepford Smiler: Talia really hates her job. Her smile is so forced you can almost hear her jaw muscles creaking under the strain.
  • Talking to Themself: At first, it's shown as Melquiades literally moving across the room talking to himself, but then the scenes look like there are two different people as they cut back and forth. It's both funny, fascinating, and a little freaky.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • One of the primary reasons Justin undergoes his knight's training. Needless to say, it works like a charm.
    • To a lesser extent, Heraclio's makeshift prisoner army is shown to be in some resemblance of competence starting from their second to last appearance. Alas, it's not enough to save them from Gustav.
  • Tsundere: Talia. Justin's strict code of chivalry doesn't help him any better, either.
  • Tragic Villain: Sir Heraclio. He was once a valiant knight and good man before knights were banned. If the expression on his face is any indicator, he regretted killing Sir Roland in his rage. Heraclio has flashes of regret at how far he's fallen throughout the movie. In his fight with Blucher, he's genuinely grieved at having to fight his old comrade, quietly noting "It wasn't supposed to end like this."
  • Ultimate Final Exam: The teachers put Justin against their final test to see if he's ready to face Heraclio, pitting him against a dragon(or rather, a crocodile fitted with a flamethrower and mechanical wings). Justin manages to pass, but is badly injured in the process and the teachers(aside from Sir Blucher)send him home out of fear for his life.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: Played with; Lara, Sota, and Clorex are the three characters that are more than obsessed with their looks. Lara is portrayed as shallow and thoughtless for the most part, but not out-and-out evil, and Sota can be quite deadly despite his fopish tendencies, but Clorex, who's both vain and masculinely handsome, is nothing more than a petty thief and a self-obsessed coward.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: (Or make that Knight Templar, if you insist on the Pun.) Sir Heraclio. He is even disgusted by some of his own actions, like having to build his army from jailbirds. Such irony that his ultimate goal is realized at the end...
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivered by Talia as she beats Clorex up.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: An interesting and subdued Deconstruction. After losing her husband, the Queen of Gabylonia fell into a state of depression. She relied heavily on Reginald to handle the day-to-day affairs of the kingdom. Not long after this, and likely around the same time as losing Justin's mother, Reginald proposes the abolishment of knighthood in the kingdom. The queen signs this proposition into law in the hopes that no other may suffer the same fate as her king did (who fell in battle). The events of the present day show that she has deep and serious regrets on doing this.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: Sota employs this tactic, using the shield as a boomerang to knock Talia off her feet. Champ saves her before he can finish her with his dagger though.
  • You and What Army?: Though not said word-for-word, Heraclio directly invokes this trope to Blucher, only to be responded with Gustav, an oversized crocodile outfitted with mechanical wings and a makeshift flamethrower, who successfully scares off Heraclio's entire prison-sprung army in seconds.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Sir Clorex unknowingly is at the end of this trope when he delivers Lara to Heraclio and lies to Heraclio about being a knight. Luckily, Justin and Talia are found spying before Heraclio's men can kill him.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Sota and his brothers failed to capture Lara for ransom, so everything should be fine. Except Clorex decides to capture and deliver Lara to Heraclio anyway as a means of getting a cut of the ransom, so we end up "back on track", so to speak.