“From the producers who saw ‘Shrek’,” proclaim the posters for “Donkey Xote,” which imports almost wholesale the grinning green ogre’s donkey and pic’s inventive visuals, but forgot to include any of the wit. A lively but clumsy comic retelling of the Cervantes classic, pic reps Spanish cinema’s finest computer animation to date, but its humdrum script leaves it flailing at windmills. Home B.O. since Dec. 5 release has been solid but not special, with surefire sales to Spanish-speaking territories unlikely to be replicated elsewhere.
Sancho’s donkey, Rucio (voiced by Luis Posada), who wants to be a horse, promises us the real story of Don Quixote. It involves the journey to Barcelona of the knight (Jose Luis Gil), here recast as a romantic lead, and tubby, pragmatic sidekick Sancho (tube presenter Andreu Buenafuente), to fight for the hand of the former’s beloved, Dulcinea (Sonia Ferrer). The ride takes them through fabulously rendered scenery, stretching away just like the real thing; noctural visuals are also stunning, and one dream sequence is authentically terrifying. But the storyline is hand-me-down, the humor too often fart-‘n’-cleavage slapstick, and the characters lack charm.