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Knight School
Knight School poster
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Conrad Vernon
Andrew Adamson
Produced by Xavier Shaquille
Written by J. David Stem
David N. Weiss
Xavier Shaquille
Starring Anna Kendrick
Ben Schwartz
John Cleese
Rupert Everett
William Shatner
Jane Lynch
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
John Powell
Edited by Nick Fletcher
Production companies Cartoon Network Studios
DreamWorks Pictures
Smashup Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures (United States)
Universal Pictures (International)
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Knight School is an American computer-animated action comedy film released by Cartoon Network Studios, DreamWorks Pictures and Smashup Productions and directed by Andrew Adamson and Conrad Vernon. The film stars Anna Kendrick, who voices the main protagonist. She is joined by Ben Schwartz, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, William Shatner and Jane Lynch. The film centers around a high school student transferred to Knight School to learn more about medieval history. The story was thought up by Xavier Shaquille in 2020, and had the idea of having a theatrical Cartoon Network film in computer-animation. This marks Cartoon Network Studios' first ever theatrical feature film relying on computer-animation, as well as original feature film not to be based on the studio's existing shows.

Knight School premieres in the United Kingdom in May, and it was released worldwide in June, by Warner Bros. Pictures in North America, while Universal Pictures handled international distribution. Upon its release, it becomes Cartoon Network Studios' most successful feature film.

Plot

Ellenor is an optimistic and easygoing teenage girl who achieved her grades in Yeoll High. One day, she fails in Medieval history by saying what she knew was there in her own simple way rather than doing the research. The school principal calls her parents about her failing and recommends they transfer their daughter to Knight School, a high school for teaching students about the medieval times, run by Professor Gerald Reginald III.

On her first day, she makes the best of it. While she enjoys the food in the cafeteria and makes new friends, she fails all her classes. Taking advice from one of his classmate, Lance, she does research on medieval history. The next day, she aces her classes, much to Reginald's amazement and befuddlement. Meanwhile, Wellington Snide, Reginald's assistant, plots his great-great-grandfather Lord Snide's plan to take over Yeoll.

Later that day, Lance, who developed a crush on Ellenor since her second day, digs up the courage to ask her out on a date, to which she accepts as she never got asked out before back at her old school. Beforehand, she introduces him to her parents, Anthony and Gretchen; Anthony was proud she chose an ordinary boy, but Gretchen was disappointed she did. On their date, they go to the Local Theater for a movie, then to a random fast-food restaurant for dinner. While Lance had mixed feelings about their first date, he was just glad he got to know Ellenor.

The next day, Snide goes through his great-great grandfather's old diary, and it reveals that the only way Snide could take over Yeoll was by using his magical staff, which Lord Snide hid in the woods in a cave long ago. Only problem was, he did not know where in the woods it was, and that "only a cynical but kindhearted would know that cave's whereabouts", leaving Snide puzzled since there are seven students he knows that are as described. Meanwhile, Ellenor competes with Hugh in an eating contest in the cafeteria, in which she wins. Lance comes by and asks Ellenor if she wanted to come over to his house after class, which she agrees to on account of having a free schedule. There, she admires how his house is a two-story kind and how he is a regular type of boy, but his parents are pretty worried about him dating a girl.

As the school year ends, Reginald asks Ellenor into his office; he was very proud of how she took her time studying the knowledge of medieval history than any of his other students, he rewards her by making her into a Class III. With Snide, he looks into his great-great grandfather's diary, and that the "cynical but kindhearted" person would be a female, as the figure on the page resembled one. Realizing that Ellenor is the only female in his class, he goes to her about the cave, to which she knows one near the Oak Forest. After persuading Reginald to take Ellenor out on a walk in the woods, she leads him to the cave she knows.

Arriving there, she shows him the staff she found in it, which is the one from Lord Snide's diary. Snide immediately takes it from her and reveals that it is his great-grandfather Lord Snide's magical staff that was hidden for eternity for one day a chosen soul would take on his legacy, and he will continue his goal in taking over Yeoll. As Ellenor tried to take the staff back from him, Snide knocks her out hard with it. He leaves her for dead. Wondering about Ellenor's whereabouts, Snide returns and claims to the school that Ellenor was killed by a bear during their walk, much to the class' heartbroken dismay and Lance's suspicion. Waking from her unconsciousness, Ellenor heads into town to warn the citizens about Snide's takeover.

After Lance researched that bears are not located in Yeoll, he eavesdrops on Snide, and discovers about his attempt to take over the town. He records his plan as evidence to show to the class. Meanwhile, Ellenor tells everyone to evacuate town before Snide takes over, only to result in the police to arrest her for disturbing the piece. Before they could, a storm cloud towers over the town. Snide arrives and terrorizes the town and the citizens cower from Snide's takeover. Upon showing Reginald the proof, he and Lance arrive to convince him to stop, only for him to turn Reginald into stone and have Lance captive. Ellenor reaches Snide by borrowing a horse from the school, and faces off with him through a sword duel, until it ends with Snide snatching her sword and stabbing her through the chest. As he enjoys wounding Ellenor, he did not notice he dropped the staff; Lance grasps it and subdues Snide via levitation, as well as heal Ellenor. Ellenor takes over dealing with Snide and tasks Lance to evacuate the town. Snide tries to manipulate her into letting him go and let her take over the town with him, only to Ellenor to launch him into space.

The citizens congratulate her for saving Yeoll and receives the respect from Reginald, who saw the whole event while frozen in stone, and Ellenor professes her love to Lance. Back at Knight School, the students have a dance party, in which Ellenor requested to Reginald.

Cast

  • Anna Kendrick as Ellenor, a former student of Yeoll High who gets transferred to Knight School.
  • Ben Schwartz as Lance, a Class V student in Knight School who develops a crush on Ellenor.
  • John Cleese as Professor Gerald Reginald III, the teacher and founder of Knight School.
  • Rupert Everett as Wellington Snide, Reginald's assistant in his class who is a descendant to his great-great grandfather Lord Snide who takes on his legacy to reign over the town of Yeoll.
  • William Shatner as Anthony, Ellenor's father.
  • Jane Lynch as Gretchen, Ellenor's mother.
  • Jordan Peele as Oliver Jade, the only African-American student in Reginald's class.
  • Seann William Scott as Andrew, one of Reginald students that tattle-tales on his fellow classmates.
  • Roger Craig Smith as Harvey, one of Reginald's students that is shy.
  • Mick Wingert as Ivan, one of Reginald's students that puts gum under where he sits.
  • Chris Hardwick as Bill, one of Reginald's students that smuggles outside food in spite of the cafeteria rule.
  • Jerry Trainor as Troy, one of Reginald's students that is egotistical and attractive but dense.
  • Maddie Taylor as Vernon, one of Reginald's students that has a habit of asking questions.
  • Conrad Vernon as Principal Begley, principal of Knight School.
  • Cedric the Entertainer as Mike, the janitor of Knight School.
  • Avril Lavigne as Darcey, Ellenor's shy but laid-back friend and a student in Yeoll High.
  • Abby Elliott as Jane, Ellenor's vitriolic friend and student of Yeoll High.
  • Cheri Oteri as Principal Wilson, principal of Yeoll High.
  • Adam Pally as Whitey, teacher of Yeoll High.

Development

Xavier Shaquille, producer and co-writer of the film, had the idea in late May 2020. It was one of his ideas to bring Cartoon Network Studios back into the theatrical feature film business, and this idea was a fully computer-animated film.

Music

Soundtrack

Cartoon Network's Knight School: Songs from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by various artists

Genre

Alternative rock, pop music, pop rock

Length

29:40

Label

WaterTower Music

Cartoon Network's Knight School: Songs from the Motion Picture is the soundtrack of the film.
No. Title Length
1. "Come On, Come On" (performed by Smash Mouth) 2:32
2. "High School Never Ends" (performed by Bowling for Soup) 3:28
3. "Chelsea Dagger" (performed by The Fratellis) 3:36
4. "Beautiful Freak" (performed by Eels) 3:34
5. "This is the Day" (performed by The The) 4:59
6. "Joker and the Thief" (performed by Wolfmother) 4:41
7. "Magic" (performed by Smash Mouth) 3:00
8. "I've Had the Time of My Life" (performed by Anna Kendrick and Ben Schwartz) 3:50

Score

Knight School
Film score by Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell

Genre

Score

Length

33:01

Label

WaterTower Music

Knight School: Motion Picture Score is the film score to the film. It is composed by DreamWorks Animation veteran composers Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell.
No. Title Length
1. "Rise and Shine" 2:32
2. "Yeoll High" 2:02
3. "Welcome to Hell" 4:15
4. "Snide" 0:50
5. "Lance Asks Ellenor Out" 0:43
6. "Eating Contest" 1:04
7. "Lance's House" 3:51
8. "Graded" 0:47
9. "Snide and Ellenor" 4:42
10. "Lord Snide's Staff" 1:50
11. "Onto Snide" 2:14
12. "Showdown" 5:13
13. "Earned Happy Ending" 2:58

Release

Home media

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in the United States and Canada, while Universal Pictures Home Entertainment handled distribution in all other regions. One of the special features includes an individual character interview with the film's characters Ellenor (voiced by Anna Kendrick), Lance (voiced by Ben Schwartz), and Gerald Reginald III (voiced by John Cleese).

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 71% based on 90 reviews and an average rating of 7.26/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With its big-name cast and choice of CGI, as well as its original storyline, this shows Knight School can stand on its own." Metacritic gave the film a score of 95 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gives the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.

Franchise

Sequel

Main article: Knight School 2

Before the film was picked up, Mosley had plans on for a sequel to Knight School. The film will have Anna Kendrick, Ben Schwartz, John Cleese, William Shatner, Jane Lynch, Jordan Peele, Seann William Scott, Cedric the Entertainer, Roger Craig Smith, Mick Wingert, Chris Hardwick, Jerry Trainor, Maddie Taylor, and Conrad Vernon reprise their roles.

Its title would be simply Knight School 2. The cast for the sequel includes Julie Andrews, Alan Tudyk, Alec Baldwin, Chloe Bennet, and Lake Bell. Harry Gregson-Williams would return as composer without John Powell.

Television

Television special

Main article: Knight School Before Christmas

Knight School Before Christmas is a 22-minute television special that aired on TBS. Set after the film, Ellenor's uncle Bob visits for Christmas, much to her and father Anthony's chagrin. Meanwhile, Lance never celebrated Christmas since his family is Jewish, so Ellenor and company introduce him to it. Kendrick, Schwartz, Lynch, Shatner, Peele, and Scott, all reprise their roles from the film. The special is also directed by Randy Myers and written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger.

Television series

Main article: Back to Knight School

A television series based on the film, entitled Back to Knight School, premiered on Cartoon Network and ran for two seasons. The show features Amanda Leighton as Ellenor in place of Kendrick.

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