The Prophet’s Animated Life

Culture and Media


Rich Studios has released an animated version of the life of Prophet Muhammad. It has solved the problem of prohibitions against representation of the prophet by making the camera the prophet’s all seeing eye. The New York Times has a review:

Seemingly faithful to its source material, Muhammad” is a pious and ponderous film, unlikely to move audiences who are not already familiar with its story. The script (by Brian Nissen) feels heavily vetted by Islamic scholars, without wit or whimsy. The literalism of the subjective-camera conceit is at times unintentionally comic: when Muhammed rides a horse into battle, the animal’s head bobs repeatedly in the middle of the frame, undercutting the moment’s nobility. When he is wounded in battle, a rock flies straight at the camera, and suddenly followers gather to inquire after our” health. The camera literally puts the viewer in the position of the divine messenger, a disquieting device that never quite accomplishes its task. It’s hard to be awed by the sublimity of the offscreen prophet when you are the offscreen prophet, munching Jujyfruits in your theater seat.

Directed by Richard Rich, who is a former Disney employee and known for making films with positive ethical and moral values,” this film is not the first one to solve the problem of representation in this way. The 1990 film International Gorrillay used the same technique, what is more, this film also seems far more exciting, here is the IMDB summary:

The Islamic world is in crisis with the publication of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. Rushdie wants Pakistan, the stronghold of Islam, to fall. Determined to foil his plans are a trio of brothers who form a holy army to destroy Rushdie. Rushdie plans to drive the final nails into the coffin of Islam by opening a new chain of Casino’s and Disco’s spreading contemptable vice and debauchery. Mustafa Qureshi, hen pecked to death by his demented wife, decides to call it a day with his day job at the Police station and induct his unemployed brothers to create a Mujahid (God’s soldiers) trio whose sole aim is to seek out and destroy the despised Salman Rushdie before he manages to destory all virtue and decency on the planet. And to top it all, the three intrepid heroes appear in ill-fitting Batman costumes for some inexplicable reason.