Babar is a young elephant in the great forest. Whilst out with his mother a hunter kills his mother and he flees to escape the same fate. He eventually finds himself in a human city and ... See full summary »
The popular children's books, written by Paulette Bourgeois, come alive in this television series about a turtle named Franklin. Each episode has a story of Franklin and his friends. You'll... See full summary »
[Having just arrived before his army soldiers, Rataxes sits beside a table]
The time has come to play our hand. The army's ready, now here's the plan.
[Draws his knife and holds it over a map]
At dawn we march on the Elephant Land!
[watching on a ledge overhead with Celeste]
By night, we'll reach the city wall. By morning... WE! SHALL RULE! THEM ALL!
[slams his dagger into the map]
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This film is far inferior to the apparently less-loved and less well-known "Babar:King of the Elephants" and one should not be confused between the two.
In terms of style, animation, etc., the two are very similar, and a lot of the same people worked on both. However, Babar the Movie inexplicably strays from the stories, totally messing with the events as portrayed in the books. One example is that in Babar the Movie, Babar is a very young, and apparently reluctant, king at first, seemingly thrust into the position, and without Celeste as queen. This is completely different from the books where Babar, although chosen king, is mature by then; is the one who makes the elephant society "complex" and urban, etc.; and marries Celeste as soon as he becomes king and before he builds the city. Moreover, the "war" with the rhinos in Babar the Movie is more violent, so it is not as good for really young children, and it is inexplicable and apparently senseless, unlike the fight in Babar: King of the Elephants or the first books.
The story and conflict in Babar the Movie may be based on some of the latest books in the series, but not any of the books I have read, and it differs in story and spirit from the Babar books with which I am familiar. If it is based on later books, then I would venture to say that such books, if actually like this cartoon, stray from the original ones and fail in the same regards and for the same reasons.
Also, adults seem to like this one more because it is less "cutesy" and more "dark," but I disagree with any such opinions. Both cartoons are still child-oriented, neither really is great, neither is very artistic, and neither really transcends the child/family genre to appeal truly to people of all ages. I don't especially enjoy or appreciate kid/family oriented stuff that much, but I don't find this any more appealing to me because it is supposedly more "mature." In fact, the more artistic sequences of Babar: King of the Elephants I find to be handled much better, with greater care, skill, and art, than anything in Babar the Movie. I also find the scene in the other film, where the hunter kills Babar's mom, to be more powerful and interesting, even emotionally unsettling, than the stupid war in Babar the Movie, yet, it has an important point, is highly relevant, and is more appropriate an issue for kids. The war in Babar the Movie is unsettling as it seems totally gratuitous and sensationalized, used simply to create a showy story. It gives the feel of throwing in elements from a low-grade action film with pointless violence used only to gratify base desires, which simply is not appropriate for a cartoon such as this or for Babar.
Babar: King of the Elephants may be a little more "cutesy" than the books, and suffers for this, but it does basically stay faithful to the original spirit.
In sum, if one really wants to watch Babar, then one should watch Babar: King of the Elephants, not this movie. If one instead wants something more artistic or fitting with "mature" tastes, interests, etc., then one should watch neither. Babr the Movie seems to try to straddle both worlds (children and adult), and in doing so fails to succeed in either. Babar: King of the Elephants pretty much knows where it is and it succeeds as a result.
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