Bilal: A New Breed of Hero              review by Bobby Blakey

There are so many animated features these days it is getting harder and harder to determine which are worth the time of checking out. Most of the time they are silly kid films, but every so often one comes along meant for the older crowd. The latest hitting the PG-13 market is Bilal: A New Breed of Hero featuring the voice talents of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jacob Latimore, China Anne McClain,  Cynthia Kaye McWilliams,  Michael Gross, and Ian McShane, but does it offer up anything worth fighting for or is it not worth rising up to witness?

Bilal: A New Breed of Hero follows Bilal, a seven-year-old boy, with a dream of becoming a great warrior, is abducted into slavery with his sister and taken to a land far away from his home and thrown into a world where corruption and injustice rule all. Throughout his life he undergoes many hardships, through which he discovers an inner strength he did not realize he possessed. Through these experiences, Bilal comes to realize that if he is brave enough to raise his voice and choose his own path - everything becomes possible through his faith and courage grow into a man who will inspire the world. I have to admit the trailer for this film did little for me and I kind of assumed it would be one that would just kind get lost on the straight to rental market, but as of late they have been really pushing it and with good reason.

To my surprise this is a really good movie that while animated plays up like a bigger epic that would have normally been something live action. There is nothing here that required it to be animated other than the choice to do so which made it a breath of fresh air. There is a deep story here that focuses on faith and equality taken from a real life historical figure. It admits at the beginning of the film that it has taken some liberties with the story, but nothing that makes it overly out there. There are some great uses of the faith aspect including a sequence during a vision and on the battlefield that was really cool.

Visually the animation is reminiscent of the Star Wars: Clone Wars style so takes a bit to get used too, but blends pretty quickly and works. There are some epic battles here including a massive one at the end of the movie that looks great and is overall awesome to watch. There was plenty of care taken to try and make the fighting look as real as possible and it shows. The PG-13 rating allows it to be more violent without being graphic to tell this story which is often times necessary. Had they watered it down there would have been less of an impact overall. This film may not work for everyone and there are some aspects that are a bit generic, but I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.

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