Solomon, his two lovers, and the demons they battle

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the Jerusalem Film Fund, which supports films and TV shows that take place within Israel’s capital city, has given some money to an animated film called Being Solomon, which is described as “a Hungarian-British-Israeli production that imagines the biblical King Solomon joining forces with the Queen of Sheba and an Arab queen, Na’ama, to fight the king of demons, who is seeking to take over their kingdoms.”

I had never heard of this film before, and I can’t find any mention of it on the IMDb, but apparently it’s been in the works for a while; a bit of Googling instantly turned up the clip below, which was apparently p osted back in November 2009:

The film also has a website, where we find this synopsis:

An epic adventure of romance, magic and mayhem. Based on a popular folk legend, featuring animals, demons and humans, the film follows the adventures of the young King Solomon, the Arab Princess Nama and the African Queen of Sheba, as they struggle together against the King of Demons, Asmodeus, who is attempting to conquer their kingdoms. Solomon loses his realm to Asmodeus and, with the help of a mischievous fox, he becomes a penniless cook in the kingdom of Ammon, ruled by King Salim. Salim’s daughter, Princess Nama, soon falls for Solomon, and despite a promise he has made to the Queen of Sheba, Solomon chooses Nama over the Queen. It is a classic love triangle played out against a backdrop of good versus evil, with plenty of monsters, magic and great comedy moments.

Wikipedia has this to say about Asmodeus:

Asmodeus or Asmodai (Hebrew: אשמדאי Ashmedai) . . . is a king of demons mostly known from the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, in which he is the primary antagonist. The demon is also mentioned in some Talmudic legends, for instance, in the story of the construction of the Temple of Solomon. He was supposed by some Renaissance Christians to be the King of the Nine Hells.

To my eyes, the animation style is reminiscent of The Prince of Egypt (1998) and its straight-to-video prequel Joseph, King of Dreams (2000), at least where the human characters are concerned, but the cartoonish demons are all too reminiscent of lousy quasi-biblical cartoons like The 3 Wise Men (2003), which I really, really didn’t like.

Also, I have to quibble with the fact that the film shows the Arab characters living in Petra, a Nabatean city in modern-day Jordan that was carved out of the rock no earlier than the 4th century BC — or about six centuries after the life of Solomon.

So, as a Bible-movie buff, I’ll be curious to see this film if it ever makes its way over here, but for the moment, I’m not expecting it to be anything great.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).