This is apparently the first animated film to come out of Syria and technically it’s a fair effort. The metaphorical religious angle is a little hard to swallow but its heart’s is in the right place. Alaa (no relation) is like any kid; he wants to grow up immediately. His wish is granted when he meets an old woman who offers him the Thread of Life, a sort of time-travelling vortex that lets Alaa see himself many years hence. But he must use it wisely… The quality of animation here veers from simplistic ‘Pokémon’-style naffness to some very imaginative dream-like sequences. And while the moralistic dialogue isn’t going to win any awards, I was quite taken by the soundtrack’s interesting mix of Western and Arabic scales. One for the under tens.