From the director of The Lion King comes a new animated classic, based on one of the most beloved and bestselling books of all time and brought to life by some of the most acclaimed animators from around the world. In a Mediterranean seaside village, Kamila (Hayek) cleans house for exiled artist and poet Mustafa (Neeson), but the more difficult job is keeping her free-spirited young daughter Almitra (Wallis) out of trouble. The three embark on a journey meant to end with Mustafa’s return home – but first they must evade the authorities who fear that the truth in his words will spark rebellion.
2016,1080p/BD-50, DTS-MA 5.1, 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Rated PG, 1 hour and 26 minutes
Starring: Salma Hayek-Pinault, Liam Neeson, Frank Langella & Quvenzhan Wallis
Directed by: Roger Allers
Sex: No, but some sensual images
Based on the book by Kahlil Gibrans, the story involves a young girl whose mother is the housekeeper for a prisoner who is accused of using poetry to undermine authority. When the poet is told to leave the country and return to his homeland, he is given a choice; recant his poetry and leave, or face the firing squad. Along the way to the seaport, he tells poetic stories about life, love and sacrifice. Each story is wonderfully illustrated by a different artist and the end result is a glorious mix of colors, both of sight and sounds. Music is provided by such artists as Damien Rice, Glen Hansard and the Cellist, Yo-Yo Ma.
Even though the film is up lifting and certainly celebrates life, freedom and the human spirit, it may be too long for young children. For pre-teens, they may like the visuals, but the poetry can be a bit tough for them to follow. Hey, it was a bit tough for me to follow…but the sound of Neeson’s voice reading the poetry was mesmerizing. Far from his usual, “I will find you and I will kill you” voice.
This is perhaps the best hand drawn animation I have seen in the last year and the visuals are stunning. I would still suggest that an adult watch this with their children and provide them with some guidance when it is over. Perhaps over time this movie will become a family favorite. Much like the book.
The picture quality is outstanding, with a variety of artistic depictions for each story. Colors are sharp and bold, creating an artistic tapestry that will help draw you into the story. The music also compliments the visuals and is presented with a large sound stage. Voices are articulate and easily heard, even above the music. Though the sub is not called on very often, the surrounds provide a rich ambient soundscape that bolsters the film thematically. Settle into your comfy chair and escape!
Included is a DVD version. Extras include: Animating Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, An interview with the filmakers, and Animatic: a feature length animated storyboard.