Aida of the Trees is an animation movie released in 2001 by Medusa film and Lanterna Magica. We will talk about this movie in the new article of our column Forgotten Memories.
Arborea and Petra are two neighbouring countries perpetually at war with one another. Only the romantic relationship between Aida, the daughter of the Arborean king, and Radames, the brave son of the high general of Petra, will change the situation. The couple’s worst enemy is Ramfis, the high priest of the evil god Satam, who would like his clumsy son Kak to marry the princess of Petra (who’s engaged to Radames). After a series of adventures and fierce battles, Aida and Radames will manage to defeat Ramfis, to end the war between their countries and to live happily ever after
Only a few people can remember about Aida of the Trees. Unfortunately, people didn’t talk a lot on this movie at the time he was released. The main theme is inspired by a Giuseppe Verdi’s opera: Aida. Even so, Guido Manuali’s movie keeps some difference between the original opera.
A fantasy Aida
The Aida of the Trees is inspired by the Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. It’s a fantasy reinterpretation of the opera. So, we are not in Ancient Egypt anymore, but in the old city of Petra (and please don’t confuse with the same-named city in Giordania). Here stone and industry are the most important things. On the other side, we have Arborea instead of Etiopia, where trees and nature grow.
Aida of the trees become a metaphor of the human world where the man destroy everything his machine and his building and doesn’t care about nature and exploiting it as the people of Petra exploiting the Arboreans. A kind of still current message that Manuali shared with us. If this movie was been released today it would be a great success.
Talking about Verdi’s opera we can find some differences. We have the same characters name Aida, Radames, the two king, the princess and the priest. In Verdi’s the goddess who forces to the war was Isis, but in this case, we have a male dragon god Satam. We have new characters as Radames friend’s Kak and the mounts. The final is different because this is a story for children.
Innovative techniques and the Avatar case
The movie’s atmosphere takes up the two worlds described within it. The colours of Arborea are bright, vital. The ones of Petra are much harder. If you look at the underground temple they are even gloomy. Furthermore, the “classic” animation scenes, have been mixed with 3D animation techniques. This is one of the first movie in Italy to do so.
The film is a son of its time, but, in any case, it is an excellent story, with a perfect graphic style so much that, as we said, it certainly does not fear competition.
Now we have to talk about another film inspired by Verdi’s work: James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). In addition to the plot, there are actually several similarities in Cameron’s and Manuali’s films. There is a comparison between an absolutely modernized society, dedicated to technology in Avatar and industry in Aida, compared to another that is more natural and respectful of the environment. The fundamental environmental message is present in both films.
Let’s talk about character design. The Arboreans, as well as the Na’vi, have many characteristics in common. Both creatures are slender, have bluish skin and big eyes. Not to mention the long tail.
Indeed even the younger me had noticed these similarities, so much so that she had unconsciously rejected Avatar that I saw many years after the release.
And with no small pride, I admit that I still prefer Aida.