Aaron's Magic Village

on September 19, 2007 by Dale Winogura
The sophisticated wit and sparkle of Isaac Bashevis Singer's folk tales have been emasculated in this adaptation into a cutened, sweetened cartoon feature for the wholesome family. But Singer's positive moral lessons are intact, even if the animation is not consistently smooth or colorful to express them well enough. The values of courage and wisdom are neither dramatized or preached; they're just there.
Narrated with folksy charm by Fyvush Finkel (best known from TV's "Picket Fences"), the comic and dramatic adventures of 10-year-old Aaron (a nondescript voicing by Tommy Michaels) in the Polish village of Chelm are not related with as much simplicity and energy as they need to come alive. With the aid of his faithful goat, Aaron tries to stop an evil sorcerer (is there any other kind?) from unleashing his monstrous Golem creation to destroy Chelm.
Most of the film, which is being distributed by CFP before a home video release by Sony, is occupied with cutesy Jewish eccentrics and humor that miss the essential cultural soul and chutzpah. The lack of imagination and timing in the direction by Albert Hanan Kaminski (who also co-scripts) turn Singer's stories into childish pablum, not helped by Michel Legrand's least inspired musical score and Sheldon Harnick's ("Fiddler on the Roof") most forced lyrics. Voices by Fyvush Finkel, Tommy Michaels and Tovah Feldshuh. Directed by Albert Hanan Kaminski. Written by Albert Hanan Kaminski and Jacqueline Galia Benousilio. Produced by Dora Benousilio and Peter Vorkle. A CFP release. Animated. Unrated. Running time: 77 min
Tags: Fyvush Finkel, Tommy Michaels, Tovah Feldshuh, Albert Hana Kaminski, Jacqueline Galia Benousilio, Dora Benousilio, Peter Vorkle, CFP, Animated, comedy, Jewish, culture, wisdom, adventure

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