Saturday, April 10, 2010

[Hong Kong Film Festival] McDull, Kung Fu Kindergarten

Tai Chi Panda!

The Hong Kong Film Festival had drawn a line across the audience spectrum to ensure offerings that appeal to a large demographic, so this marks the first time I had watched a McDull film on the big screen, in its original Cantonese language track. While not as slick as animated movies done in the West, McDull (voiced by Kwok Kwan Yin) contains plenty of crowd pleasing moments, especially when McDull turns on its charm and never say die attitude, or allowed his silly innocence to take over, both of which endear this animated work and counts for its popularity.

For those unfamiliar with this popular Hong Kong pig, don't fret as the opening minutes of his fourth cinematic outing devote adequate time to bring you up to speed with just who this pig is, plus his friends and family, at the same time expanding its mythos with some never seen or heard before revelation, like how a botched attempt in baby development had caused McDull to be rather slow and dim. There's also a separate narrative thread telling us the story of his inventive ancestor McZi, which from the beginning set the tone for this hilarious tale.

The main story though tells of Mrs Mc (Sandra Ng) who brings her son McDull to China to search for better fortunes, and it is this mother-son relationship that will tug at your heartstrings, where each feel for, and sacrifice for each other. Mrs Mc, in order to find employment and to allow her son to gain some skills to avoid being bullied, enrolls him at the Wu Dang martial arts school, which I thought was a nice nod to the highly popular Kung Fu Panda film, with veiled references to a tortoise master from long ago, as well as the obvious setting of various animals going under the tutelage of the Master (Anthony Wong) and surprise, a Brother Panda character too!

It's been some time since I cracked up at toilet jokes, and McDull made me laugh uncontrollably with his antics. In some ways it's like watching Forrest Gump, only that he's represented here by a pig, though sharing the same zeal and zest for life with its never say die attitude, soothed always by comfort food. In some ways the themes here are similar to that from Gallants, so no prizes in guessing why I dig this film as much too, and given its cute looking characters, I understand now why this piglet has such a strong following, and has soaring popularity. I look forward to future installments, and will be looking back for past episodes!

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