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Azur and Asmar: The Princes' Quest

52 customer reviews

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(Mar 17, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Once upon a time there were two children who grew up together - Azur, the blue-eyed son of a nobleman, and Asmar, the dark-eyed child of a nurse. As they grow up, the nurse tells them many enchanting stories, but their favorite is about a beautiful fairy waiting to be released from captivity by a good and heroic prince. The two boys are as close as brothers, until the day Azur's father cruelly separates them, banishing Asmar from his home and sending Azur away for private education. Some years later Azur sets out to a land far away to find Asmar and to see if the legend of the fairy is true. Finally reunited, Azur and Asmar set out to see who will be the first to rescue the fairy.

Leisurely paced and intricately rendered, this computer-animated fable centers around two men from the Middle Ages who grow up as brothers, suffer a separation, and learn to live as equals again. North African nanny Jénane (Hiam Abbass in the French version; Suzanna Nour in the English) raises her brown-eyed son, Asmar, and his blue-eyed friend, Azur, but the latter comes from a line of noblemen. Jénane teaches the toddlers a song about a prince who rescues the Djinn Fairy from captivity. By boyhood, Azur lives in the castle, but continues to play with Azur, until his father sends him away to study and dismisses Jénane. As an adult, Azur experiences prejudice for the first time when he ends up in a North Africa village where the inhabitants view blue eyes as bad luck, so he keeps them closed and begs for his supper, like fellow Frenchman Crapoux. In the interim, Jénane and Asmar have become wealthy. With the help of the beggar, a tiny princess, and a Jewish sage, Azur competes with Asmar to free the fairy and make her his bride, but only one can prevail. French animator Michel Ocelet's follow-up to Kirikou and the Wild Beast moves slow by American standards, but the abundance of vibrant arabesque animation and absence of pop-culture wisecracks offers ample compensation. Though too complicated for some pre-schoolers, the DVD includes a British version with dubbed dialogue and subtitled French and Arabic songs. Anthony Minghella’s favorite composer, Gabriel Yared, provides the enchanting score. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Barrett, Frank Olivier Bonnet, Jacques Pater, Patrick Timsit, Mohamed Ourdache
  • Directors: Michel Ocelet
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: The Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: March 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B001DJ7PY6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,178 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By W. Amos on April 5, 2009
Format: DVD
I can't recommend this film highly enough for children of all ages! Although the computer animation is a little stiff (the characters don't move very fluidly at times), the artwork is gorgeous, with eye-popping color! Especially beautiful are the intricate mosaics decorating the homes in the Arab kingdom -- Americans may not be aware that Islamic culture forbids drawings of people, hence in this film as in many famous real world mosques Arabs developed incredibly detailed geometric tile patterns for decoration.

This film has an excellent message of tolerance for other cultures and cooperation (since our heroes wouldn't succeed without help from one another and wise men and women from several different nations and religions). It also has very strong female characters, from the heroes' mother/nanny (who explains how she ignores prejudice and superstition to move forward and win), to the adorable Princess Chamsous Sabah, who exhibits the best demonstration of a proper princessing education I've ever seen on film!

Some American sensibilities may be put off by the nanny nursing her infant children at her breast in the beginning of the film, or the scene of Asmar disgustedly eating carrion when he is lost in the desert and on the brink of starvation; but I'd hope most adults would be smart enough to watch and explain this with their kids, rather than just hiding it. These brief scenes are a part of the mosaic of life, and hiding the world from children only stunts them in the long run.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Julianna Miller on March 3, 2009
Format: DVD
I am holding a copy of the DVD in my hand, and the runtime is not 60 minutes. It is the original run time of 99 minutes. It has English and French versions on the disc, and subtitles in English or Spanish.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L. Plybon on October 19, 2008
Format: DVD
We saw this movie on the big screen, and I can't wait to own my own copy. As the parent of a 7 year old, we've seen a lot of children's movies (the well known Pixar and Disney titles as well as arthouse and foreign films for kids). In my opinion, this is the most beautifully made, and well told, animated film ever. That's a pretty high bar, I know, but I don't think I'm raising any false expectations.

I recommend this film without reservation to audiences of all ages who are in the mood to be transported by a good story, well told, and beautifully rendered.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Moonlight on March 18, 2009
Format: DVD
I am a 9-year-old movie critic and 3rd grader from San Diego. I was honored to be invited to meet and interview Director Michel Ocelot (who directed "Azur & Asmar") in San Francisco on March 4, 2009 when this movie opened in SF. This is truly an unforgettable experience for me! My review was published on "We Chinese in America" newspaper on Feb 20, 2009. You can view photos of director Ocelot and me, and read more of my movie reviews on my website, and post your thoughts/comments:


(This wonderful posting came from Anne-Lise Koehler-Lourdelet,"Azur and Asmar"s Back-ground director)

Movie Review: Azur and Asmar by Perry S. Chen (9 years old)

Rating: Five Starfish (out of five)

Azur and Asmar is a visually stunning movie. The breathtaking colors capture the flair of the Arabian Nights. I especially liked the vibrant flowers. This movie is about courage, sacrifice, love, and brotherhood. It is one of my all time favorite movies!

This movie is truly SPECIAL because I got to meet the one-of-a-kind Director Michel Ocelot and interview him in San Francisco when he flew from his home country of France to appear at the opening of his movie in SF. Mr. Ocelot is a very enchanting man and I would love to learn more about him and his childhood in Africa. Meeting him is truly a MAGICAL experience!

Azur and Asmar are nursed under the loving care of Asmar's mother, whom Azur called "Nanny". Azur is a fair-skinned, blond-haired, blue-eyed boy. Asmar is a brown-skinned, hazel-eyed, and black-haired boy. One time, they roll in the mud while fighting with each other, and are covered with mud from head to toe. Another night, Asmar throws snacks to the starving Azur when he is punished by his brutal father.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ian in the Excited States on March 7, 2009
Format: DVD
This is indeed a wonderful and beautifully made film, and deserves the highest recommendation for those interested in romance, adventure and fantasy.
The fact that the Arab characters in the film speak in untranslated Arabic is a director's choice that adds wonderfully to the mystery of the enterprise. I was able to follow the actions and intentions of the characters even though I don't understand the language.
If you like this film, there is a wonderfully made 1926 German silent film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926). It can rightfully be said that Azur and Asmar is the (great?great great?)grandchild of this film, which was done entirely with paper cutouts! Try to get a copy of this and be amazed as I was at the fluidity and dynamism of the story and the images. This too is not to be missed! Turner Classic Movies shows this from time to time in their Sunday Night Silent bloc. Look for it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By newyorker on October 24, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
don't usually post on these boards, but totally agree with the above poster. the movie is just amazing. will buy as soon as it comes out.
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