By Joe McGovern
Updated August 06, 2015 at 08:24 PM EDT

Kahlil Gibran’s 1923 book The Prophet—in which the Lebanese author waxes poetic on all matters of living, from love to sorrow—proves fertile soil for this nobly ambitious animated movie. Writer-director Roger Allers (The Lion King) and producer Salma Hayek have taken eight of the book’s vignettes and overlaid them with a cloying story about the titular prophet (Liam Neeson).

Gibran’s little life lessons have been turned into three-minute haiku by different animators and spread across the film. Each one soars (especially clay painter Joan Gratz’s color-bursting snippet, “On Work”), even if the plot holding them together is frustratingly Disneyish. B

For producer Salma Hayek, The Prophet is about feeling free and fearless