First attempt of its kind to produce a Hollywood movie promoting Islam:Mohammed, The Last Prophet (PBUH)The Movie [Archives:2003/655/Last Page]

July 31 2003

Source: Egyptian Reporter
As the vestiges of heavenly stardust start permeating the country with the approach of Ramadan, all Arab radio stations and TV channels alter their entertainment plans to celebrate the holy occasion. This year amazingly, Hollywood seems to tune in.
Richard Rich's Muhammad, The Last Prophet – Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH), the first animated film ever produced about the life of Prophet Mohammed has just been released in movie theatres. The film is a production of Badr International Corporation, a new British company in the entertainment business who specializes in Islamic productions, perhaps attempting to counteract the stereotyped image of Muslims in the Western media as backward, barbarians, etc. It is noteworthy that the only Arab behind the film is the executive producer and his assistant, otherwise the whole film is made in California by a crew of American artists, and the names of the animators are definitely Eastern Asian, probably Japanese or Chinese.
The film is originally in English but the version in Egyptian and Arab cinemas is actually dubbed into Arabic by familiar voices to children's ears like Bassam Kosa, and Mahmoud Yassin as Abu-Talib the Prophet's protective uncle. The 90-minute long movie covers the span of around 30 years focusing on the 23 years the Prophet lived after receiving his divine mission, and shedding light on the preceding period.
The action therefore lacks smoothness and develops so quickly that the audience feels it sometimes abrupt. A drawback of this is that the film has overlooked important historical facts. Though supposed to be the biography of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and supposed to cover basically the main lines of his life, this film ignores a very important part, namely his relation with the Jewish community in pagan Arabia.
Not only does it overlook the manipulation of the economy and the incitement of conflicts between pagan tribes by the Jews not to mention them breaking their peace treaties with the Prophet, but it has strangely enough totally ignored the historical fact of their presence in Arabia at that time.
Technically though, the film dealt cleverly with presenting the characters that cannot be shown on the screen according to Islam, such as the character of the Prophet (PBUH), his household members and the 'Sahaba'.
The Prophet (PBUH) for example, is present through the camera's angle of vision, placing him supposedly behind the camera like the audience, so that we feel his presence through his addressees being in focus of the camera. Also, the presence of his uncle Hamzah is symbolized by the bow he's always carrying, being an Arab knight, so that he is behind it as he points it forward.
The music by William Kidd is the real treat in this film, and succeeds in being the creator of the spirituality such a film was meant to diffuse. Interestingly the music changes flavor according to the setting, so that when the film opens in pagan Mecca, it has this old pagan touch, and as the Muslims flee to Abyssinia it immediately turns to capture a sense from the traditional ancient African music, then when the Prophet (PBUH) arrives in Medina, it acquires the light touch of Islamic tunes.
On a funny note, the characters don't change clothes for almost 30 years, the time covered by the film. Abu-Sufian for example does not change his clothes except at the end of the film when he converts into Islam to wear a white cloak.
Although it is nice to see a foreign movie production depicting part of the life of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), and the emergence of Islam, this is by no means the complete story, and should not be taken as an animated biography of the Prophet (PBUH). It just shows bits and pieces of his life.
The movie is recommended by many for kids under the age of 10.