Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Azur and Asmar: The Princes' Quest
We've been delighted here at Chez Darwin by Azur and Asmar: The Princes' Quest. It's the story of two boys, brown and white, raised as brothers on tales of the captive Djinn Fairy, then cruelly separated by Azur's coldly aristocratic father. When they grow up, each vows to rescue and marry the fairy himself. There are voyages, scoundrels, magic keys, and the most enchanting princess I've seen on screen in ages. You can watch it in the original French and Arabic, but we chose English (the Arabic is subtitled, not dubbed, which the non-reading three-year-old didn't seems to mind).
The animation style is almost completely unrelated to the Disney and Pixar stuff we've become accustomed to. It's flat and bright and highly textured and gorgeous. There are intricately patterned Arabic backgrounds that are so hypnotic and dazzling that it takes a moment to adjust the eyes. And there are NO SASSY TALKING ANIMALS. Need I say more?
Note to parents: you might balk, but here we were quite pleased that the first shot of the movie was the Arabic servant quite obviously breast-feeding first one, and then the other boy.