I am not at all familiar with Kahlil Gibran’s work, but decided to check out The Prophet while it was showing at the local cinema. While I did ultimately enjoy the film, it does have a few issues that may put people off.
The Prophet is the story of a little girl, Almitra, who doesn’t speak. One day she follows her mother, Kamila, to work, where she meets a man called Mustafa. Mustafa is a poet and artist, and he is a prisoner of the government due to his treasonous works. Almitra quickly takes a liking to the charming man, but discovers that he is soon to be released and returned to his home country.
- Some really good animation
- Amazing art and backgrounds
- Beautiful music
- Great ending
- Some of the 3D animation at the start of the film is awkward
- Some of the vignettes are better than others
- Doesn’t really have that much character development
- It does seem to be aimed at people who already familiar with his writing
- The humour at the start of the film is very childish (because its mostly slapstick)
- Not sure about the casting of Liam Neeson as Mustafa
- The film has pretty bad pacing at the start
The Prophet, from a narrative point of view, is a very mixed bag. The beginning has some interesting moments, but is undoubtedly very slow. It’s not until the stakes are higher in the second half of the film, that the pace picks up and the film starts to get interesting. By the end, the story actually becomes really engaging and the beautiful climax did bring a few tears to my eyes.
In regards to the animation, I was initially put off by its awkward 3D work. Thankfully the animation got better as the film progressed, and 2D backgrounds were consistently great. There are also moments during the film where we “see” the poet Mustafa’s words, and the animation for these scenes varied from average to amazing. It was clear that some of these scenes had been sent out to other studios to work on, as the style and level of work varied quite a bit.
The Prophet also has issues in regards to its humour, with it being mostly visual slapstick gags. I would have thought that there was room for some kind of social commentary in the jokes, but clearly not much thought was put into this aspect of the film.
Finally, why did they choose to hire Liam Neeson to voice a guy who comes from south eastern Europe or the Middle East? I know Hollywood likes to white wash things but this almost seems like a slap in the face of the work.
Overall, while I did enjoy the Prophet by the end of the film, there are more than a few moments at the start that had me thinking “Maybe I should have watched something else”. Only check this out if you have the patience to get through the first half of the film, or are a huge animation fan.