Azur and Asmar

Posted by schnolis on March 15th, 2009 filed in Reviews

AZUR_AND_ASMARI often wonder why someone decides to make an animated film instead of a live action one. Is it cheaper to make one or the other? Does the filmmaker have a talent for animation? Does the animated world that is created have more or less freedom than the filmed real-world one. Combinations of computer animation and live action have blended these two choices further.

In the case of Azur and Asmar, I liked the chioce. The film was highly stylized and absolutely stunning. The artists made tremendous choices in their use of color and computer animation. It’s true I was a little uncertain at first whether the lack of mouth movement or the somewhat jerky animation was simply too odd or unnatural. By the end I was mystified and captivated, and completely at ease with the visuals.

The story itself is notable, too. It’s a nice fairy tale story of two boys, raised somewhat as brothers in someplace resembling England. One boy is blond and blue-eyed, and the other dark-haired with brown eyes. Both children are raised almost exclusively by their mother, who looks more like the dark-haired one. She speaks English to Azur and Arabic to Asmar. Ultimately the English father of Azur takes control of his life and kicks out Asmar and his mother without any thanks.

Due to their mother’s storytelling, they are both captivated by the tale of the Blue Djinn. Each grows up intending to free this mysterious Djinn and marry her. Ultimately they both set off on this path and meet each other along the way.

What I liked: Excellent Animation. A positive multi-cultural approach to fairy tale storytelling.

What I disliked: Still too much dependence on old, tired themes. Let’s press forward to inspire new, better fantasies instead of clunking together a bunch of old ones.

Rating: 8 of 10

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