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Seeking to match the comic pizzazz of such DreamWorks and Pixar hits as Shrek, Puss in Boots and Brave, Spanish-made animated adventure Justin and the Knights of Valour falls disappointingly short, despite the best efforts of a very game, mostly British voice cast.

Freddie Highmore is the story’s teenage hero, a scrawny nincompoop who lives in a medieval kingdom where knights have been banished and replaced by the bureaucratic rule of lawyers.

It’s Justin’s ambition to emulate his legendary grandfather and become a knight that drives the story, but his bumbling quest is only fitfully engaging and the characters he encounters en route, including Saoirse Ronan’s feisty barmaid, David Walliams’ split-personality wizard and Rupert Everett’s camp villain, aren’t colourful or funny enough to enliven the journey’s many detours.

Antonio Banderas, the film’s co-producer, pops up as fake knight Sir Clorex, but his character’s Hispanic bravado is but a pale imitation of the swashbuckling Puss in Boots.

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Certificate PG. Runtime 96 mins. Director Manuel Sicilia.

[swf]http://uk.player.filmtrailer.com/v3.1/&mid=13325&channel_user_id=441100180-1&repeat=1&volume=0[/swf]

To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.