Nice look, story is wanting though!
P. A Clark | San Jose, CA USA | 09/06/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say I was taken in by the packaging of this film while browsing the anime section in a DVD store. I was originally out to find some good anime for my daughter that wasn't to violent or nasty. This film did satisfy those criteria but never brings a suitable plot to light.
In the film Nam-woo is coming of age and about to make changes in his life. He is about to start a new school, and his mom is begining to date a new guy since his father died. Then he stumbles into a fantasy world where everything is like a fairytale. He meets Mari there and she talks to him in his head. While there he sees a calm relaxing world that he enjoys escaping too, but never really interacts with. By the end of the film he looses touch with his fantasy world, and moves on with his life.
Well the film really did have potential, but the way it was executed made it seem like it was dragging the viewer along to a climax that never comes. For one, Nam-woo keeps going back and forth to the fantasy world, but dosn't do anything there. No adventure, no conflict, hardly any interaction with Mari. In his real world he always withdraws from people, so we never get to see any real human interaction either. I think the main problem I was having with the film was the lack of a clear direction. It should have focused on the fantasy world and put Nam-woo there for most of the film, or at least zeroed in on his friends at school and the conflicts and situations they were having. There was one female character who could have provided a decent plot for Nam-woo and his friend, but the director never shows us that path. It wasn't just me having a hard time getting into the film. My daughter lost intrest in it too, which makes it a poor choice for a child's film also.
As far as the tech aspects go, ADV is the release company. The disc has the origianl Korean along with an English dubbed language soundtrack. It is also in widescreen.
I could only give the film 2 stars for the animation style which was good(discounting the characters who wern't animated very intrestingly) and the fantasy world for the ideas and creativity there.
Overall I'd say this a rental film only. It dosn't have much replay value to it, and in my book good animation is only half the battle in making an animated classic. Story is the other half, and when you have animated classics out there like Spirited Away, Grave of the Fire Flies, and Castle in the Sky, you can't skimp on the story. There are just to many better choices for viewing out there. This is a good prototype film for animation style, now we need the story to get up to par. Definately try to rent before buying. And if a parent buying, try to look for something with a quicker pace that will intrest your son or daughter."
Take off in this dreamy escape
jmpg | 08/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's a real treat whenever you come across a movie like it. As a love fantasy from South Korea, My Beautiful Girl Mari takes a simple story and combines it with unique animation. And the results are amazing. In a small town that resides by the sea, two friends learn the meaning of friendship as they grow up while occasionally whisking away into a dream-like world inhabited by a mysterious girl. At the same time, the notion of fantasy and reality becomes all the less clearer.
This is a movie that knows how to take its time. Unlike a lot of fast-oriented and action-filled animated movies out there, this one is very calm and smooth throughout, which is quite fitting for a story of its type. The animation itself is charming on its own that you might find yourself admiring the sceneries or how the characters move most of the time. Everything from the sharp yet faded colors to the abstract detail of the town is impressive. The soundtrack itself also lends a welcome hand to the overall experience.
In a world where animation is often becoming more and more reserved for the squeamishly childish or in some cases the violent-minded, My Beautiful Girl Mari is a nice change of pace to see an animated film that shows no tensions and just allows the viewer to relax while watching it. A surreal though substantial work, there's really nothing else like it."