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[R1 DVD art]
AKA: 마리 이야기 (Mari Iyagi) (Korean), The Story of Mari
Genre: Drama
Length: Movie, 80 minutes
Distributor: Licensed by ADV Films
Content Rating: G (nothing objectionable)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Oseam, Spirited Away
Notes: The DVD itself has what is labelled as "Pre-Mari Theater", but looks and feels more like a set of epilogue shorts. While they are undoubtly made for the movie itself, they are no less gorgeously produced, except that the soundtrack went from being orchestral to sounding like something made by French electronica duo AIR. It's easy to see, though, where the inspiration for this movie had its birth. ^_^

Editor's Note:
We feel that noteworthy pieces of Asian animation should be reviewed as a service for our readers, and even though this isn't "anime" (this is a Korean production), it is animation worth championing.
Rating: Five StarsFive StarsFive StarsFive StarsFive Stars
 

My Beautiful Girl Mari

Synopsis

Nam-Woo meets up with a childhood friend, and at the return of an old item of his, they reminisce about the time when they were young and things were different. Nam-Woo's childhood was never easy. With his father dead, he had problems understanding that the other members of his family had moved on with their lives. With the impending move to a boarding school, he closed his emotional walls. So he explored the old lighthouse near his house, and found a magic marble.

Mari, the girl within the marble ... was she real, or was she just another figment of his youthful imagination?


Review

The first thing that struck me on this movie was the absolutely gorgeous intro sequence coupled with a simple but no less beautiful song. While it was admittedly CG generated intro, it worked quite well. A good start, in other words. Could the movie keep up?

The art style, to put it directly, takes some time getting used to. Rather unusual for an anime title ... no less so for a Korean animation piece, I guess. But while it IS unusual, it's no less beautiful. The animation is just about flawless. And the art style, while unusual, works well and is as beautifully animated as anything I've seen from Ghibli works. Certainly, the settings are flat-out gorgeous.

The acting is also very good, as far as I can tell anyway. Granted, I have to admit I'm not the best of judges in languages I don't know, but it SOUNDS good, at least. ^_^

But strip away all that, and we have an absolutely beautiful ride back through childhood for those of us who have left it behind. The characters are played well, even though some aren't sympathetic (or meant to be). And Mari herself, despite my initial impression, isn't meant to be a crush for the main character, but more of a figment of his childhood. She's somewhat like a gender-switched Peter Pan. (Petra Pan, perhaps?)

The way the scenes switch between the real world and the world where Mari lives is also worth mentioning. While the general setting is that of a rural, coastal fishing town, Mari's world is positively surreal, all greens, plants and clouds and dogs whose size would give Godzilla inferiority complexes. Even the music turns positively odd during said sequences.

Okay, since I'm such a nitpick, I have to say that the train near the end of the movie looked like it was made of Legos. But jeez, I feel bad for even mentioning that, and it definitely not a big deal.

I really recommend you check this movie out. For an industry that just recently has started to acquire momentum and shown that they can produce works that can compare with the best of anime, Korean animation like this deserves your attention. Like White Heart Baekgu and Oseam, I can vouch for My Beautiful Girl Mari. It shouldn't be missed.

I have no complaints whatsoever.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: There is absolutely nothing objectional about this title. No particular violence. No sex and the bathhouse scene at the first half isn't even worth mentioning, much like the one in My Neighbor Totoro.



Version(s) Viewed: R3 release (EnterOne), Korean with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (1/1)
My Beautiful Girl Mari © 2002 Lee Sung-Gang / Daewoo Entertainment / Kuk Dong / Siz Entertainment
 
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