Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet (2015)
Directors: Roger Allers, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Joan C. Gratz, Mohammed Saeed, Tomm Moore, Harib, Nina Paley, Bill Plympton, Joann Sfar, Michal Socha
Writers: Roger Allers, Kahlil Gibran, Irene Mecchi, Hanna Weg, Douglas Wood
Voice Cast: Salma Hayek, Liam Neeson, John Krasinski, Quvenzhané Wallis, Alfred Molina, Frank Langella, John Kassir, Assaf Cohen, Gunnar Sizemore, Terri Douglas, Leah Allers, Caden Armstrong
Synopsis: Exiled artist and poet Mustafa embarks on a journey home with his housekeeper and her daughter; together the trio must evade the authorities who fear that the truth in Mustafa's words will incite rebellion.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements including some violence and sensual images
8 / 10
- Animation was great. I loved how each poem had it's own style of animation that accompanied each of their perspective scenes. It helped give the movie it's own unique aesthetic identity.
- Cinematography throughout this film was amazing. Definitely shows off the beauty fo the animation in this feature.
- Direction was great
- Art direction was excellent.
- Voice acting was decent
- Nice messages about life, love, and the dangers of censorship.
- Liam Neeson's distinct voice makes it rather obvious he's playing Mustafa in this feature.
- Although the unique animation shorts that accompany each perspective poem does give the movie it's own identity, the only problem is that it also slows down the movie half the time; often forcing the main story to come to a complete stop to show those segments.
- Love subplot involving Kamila doesn't fit with the rest of the story, as it probably could've been left out.
Arguably one of the most interesting animated movies ever made.
Like last year's "Song of the Sea", this is probably going to be another animated movie that'll fly under a lot of people's radar. However, it's arguably one of the most creative and aesthetically unique animated features out there, so don't be surprised if "Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" gets nominated for an Oscar next year for "Best Animated Feature." Based on Kahlil Gibran's book of the same name.
The story follows a young girl named Almitra (Quvenzhané Wallis), who hasn't spoken a word since her father died ages ago. Like most children, she can be a bit mischievous for her age. Often wandering around on her own, while getting in all sorts of trouble. Since she doesn't talk to people anymore, she often tries to mimic the sounds of birds to speak. Her mother, Kamila (Salma Hayek ), struggles daily to support them financially, as she's recently been hired as a housekeeper for a poet, who's under house arrest in the middle east. The infamous poet goes by the name of Mustafa (Liam Neeson).
Through a series of elaborate events, Almitra manages to skip school to follow her mother to work one day; in spite of her wishes. And upon arriving at the house, Almitra and Mustafa immediately become friends. It's from here, he starts to tell her all these poems about life that are both inspirational and insightful.
Mustafa has been under house arrest for twelve years, as he waits for the government to set him free. His crime? His poems about love, work, and life were so inspirational to the people that the government considered them treasonous, and feared that his words could ignite a civil war. And considering he was becoming such a beloved figure within the city, the government felt that they had to censor him by locking him up.
Even after they agree to send him back to his homeland, he's still bullied by the government to censor his work, as his actions could hold dire consequences if he doesn't cooperate with them. As he's escorted to the docks to head home, he meets various towns folk, who greet him with open arms. Each one asking for words of inspiration, as he recites a series of poems that relate to each of their perspective situations. As he tells these poems, the animation breaks off into different segments. Each poem features it's own animation style that makes it stand out from the rest of the story.
Throughout most of the film, the animators use a CGI cel-shading based style of animation similar to what we saw in "Chico & Rita." But when it goes into each of the poems, the animation changes every time. One poem is told with a water painting style animation. Another seems to have a colored charcoal style to it; along with several other poems that feature their own unique style of animation to them. This not only gives the movie it's own identity, but it arguably makes it one of the most aesthetically unique animated features out there.
However, the different poems do tend to distract from the main story arc, as it often feels like the movie has to make a complete stop each time it goes over each of them. Not to mention the love subplot involving Kamila's character feels a bit out of place, as it doesn't seem to add anything necessary to the overall story arc.
As for the voice acting of the film, I thought everyone played their parts rather well. Although it's fairly obvious that Mustafa is being voiced by Liam Neeson throughout this feature. As many of my readers know, I rarely ever criticize voice actors in animated movies, but it's hard not to see Mustafa as Liam Neeson because of his distinct voice. Granted, he does give the character a strong presence throughout the film, but it's worth pointing out that you can clearly tell it's Liam's voice. However, if you can manage to overlook that, then you should be fine watching this movie.
But apart from those minor issues, I have to say that Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" is arguably the most artistically different animated feature that I've ever seen, as the animation alone definitely makes it worth checking out.