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Ama and the Mysterious Crystal (or simply Ama) is a 1997 American animated fantasy adventure film produced by Universal Feature Animation. The first feature film from the studio, as well as the first entry in the Universal Animated Features canon, it was directed by Michael Wildshill from a screenplay by Len Blum, Jonathan Roberts, and John August, and stars the voices of Christina Ricci, Hank Azaria, and Patrick Stewart. The film follows Ama (Ricci), a young girl who visits a mysterious island known as Crystopia, where she finds out that the ruthless sorcerer Lordous (Stewart) plans to place a spell that captures crystals from the island, causing various Crystopian people to become elderly. One of them gives Ama a powerful magic crystal that prompts her to save the island and defeat Lordous.
Development of Ama and the Mysterious Crystal began in 1993, when Wildshill conceived its original plot. It was Universal Pictures' first animated film to be produced at its in-house feature animation studio, which was formed by a team of former Gingo Animation employees led by Wildshill. Ama and the Mysterious Crystal was originally released on September 26, 1997 to generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its animation, voice acting, and story, and earned over $324 million worldwide on its $44 million budget; in recent years, the film has amassed a cult following. A direct-to-video sequel titled Ama II: Return to Crystopia was released in 2000.
- Christina Ricci as Ama, an adventurous 12-year-old girl who attempts to save the Crystopia island with the mysterious crystal. Alexander Bates served as the supervising animator for Ama.
- Hank Azaria as Hubble, a talking bird who helps Ama on her journey to defeat Lordous. Bob Cokinn served as the supervising animator for Hubble.
- Patrick Stewart as Lordous, a sorcerer who is obsessed with crystals and placing a spell that captures the crystals from the island. William Jennings served as the supervising animator for Lordous.
- Jim Cummings as Urrkle
- Edie McClurg as Shelly
- Neil Ross as Oak
- S. Scott Bullock as Pongo
- Michael Wildshill as Cal
- Roger L. Jackson as Xan
- Frank Welker as the Monstrous Lizard
- Charlie Adler
- Jack Angel
- Bob Bergen
- Rodger Bumpass
- Victoria Clark
- Philip L. Clarke
- Kendall Cunningham
- Jennifer Darling
- Debi Derryberry
- Bill Farmer
- Jack Fletcher
- Sherry Lynn
- Tress MacNeille
- Mickie T. McGowan
- Denise Pickering
- Patrick Pinney
- Phil Proctor
- Jan Rabson
- Al Roker
- Erik Von Detten
- Lillias White
The idea and concept for Ama and the Mysterious Crystal came from director Michael Wildshill, who submitted the story to Universal in 1993, and the film immediately went into development under the working title Legend of the Magic Crystal.
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All music composed by Mark Mancina, except noted otherwise.
- End Titles
Ama and the Mysterious Crystal was originally slated for release in November 1996, but the film's release date was changed to September 1997 in order to avoid competition with Space Jam and 101 Dalmatians.
Ama and the Mysterious Crystal was released on VHS and Laserdisc on May 26, 1998, and on DVD on April 17, 2001.
Reception of Ama and the Mysterious Crystal was well-received by critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 81% based on 64 reviews with an average rating of 6.7/10. The website's consensus reads, "Ama is the feature-length debut for Universal Animation that remains fresh to this day. It is by all means a twisted and vivid, beautiful and fun movie." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 64 out of 100 points, based on 32 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Awards and nominations
- Main article: Ama and the Mysterious Crystal (video game)
- Main article: Ama II: Return to Crystopia
In October 1997, Universal announced that they were planning a sequel for Ama. The sequel, titled Ama II: Return to Crystopia, was released direct-to-video in 2000, with Carolyn Lawrence replacing Ricci as the voice of Ama.
To see the main transcript of the film, click here.
To see the transcript for the trailers of the film, click here.