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Children’s Literature | Azur & Asmar: The Princes’ Quest

Image: “Azur and Asmar” is about boys from very different backgrounds who think of each other as brothers. Credit: Genius Products.


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Two children were raised by the same woman: Azur, blond, blue-eyed, son of the lord, and Asmar, dark-eyed, dark-skinned, son of the nurse. Brought up like brothers, the children are brutally separated. But Azur, haunted by the legend of the Djinn Fairy, will search for her beyond the seas. The two “brothers”, now grown-up, meet again and compete to find the fairy and free her. They will discover magical lands and face many dangers and wonders.

Published: Dec 18, 2008, 6:54 p.m. MST

By Deseret News, Jeff Vice

“Azur & Asmar: The Princes’ Quest” has a pretty decent concept for an animated film. In fact, it would be interesting to see what Disney or Pixar could do with this material.

Until then, we’ll have to settle for this so-so French import, which boasts some less-than-impressive animation work, especially in comparison to its first-rate American competition. (It’s on par with the digitally animated “VeggieTales” productions).

If that’s not bad enough, the voice talent is pretty uninspired — at least the ones in the English-language dubbed version. The voice actors give flat, emotionless performances that suggest they were there to collect a paycheck and nothing else.Report ad

The title characters are youngsters from very different backgrounds who think of each other as brothers. Azur is the son of a British nobleman. However, he has been raised by his wet-nurse, who has treated him the same as her own biological son, Asmar.

Upon reaching his teens, though, Azur is separated from Asmar and his beloved “Nanny.” And he’s been shipwrecked in an unknown land where the residents are suspicious of this blond-haired, blue-eyed newcomer.

As it turns out, this is “Nanny’s” homeland, and soon enough, Azur is reunited with her and Asmar, who’s become a member of the royal guard.

Asmar has also become obsessed with finding the Djinn-fairy — it’s a legend that the two heard when they were boys. And this quest may turn these nonbiological brothers into rivals.

Screenwriter/director Michel Ocelot and his team of animators clearly tried to give this feature a unique look, but because of the inexpressive characters and robotic movements the whole thing feels cold and aloof.

Also, the muddled, confusing conclusion certainly doesn’t end things on the right note.Report ad

“Azur & Asmar: The Princes’ Quest” is rated PG and features some strong animated violent content (sword play, stabbings and animal violence), some crude humor and references (including animal scatological humor), derogatory language and slurs based on race and ethnicity, and brief, partial female nudity (a breast-feeding sequence). Running time: 94 minutes.

Children’s Literature | Azur & Asmar: The Princes’ Quest (June 19, 2009)

Jim Luce
Jim Lucehttps://stewardshipreport.org/
Raising, Supporting & Educating Young Global Leaders through Orphans International Worldwide (www.orphansinternational.org), the J. Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org), and The Stewardship Report (www.stewardshipreport.org). Jim is also founder and president of the New York Global Leaders Lions Club.

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