Mangchi is a young boy with few problems and an easy disposition. Living on a building in the middle of the sea, he flies around looking for adventure and longs for the day when he's finally an adult. So, when a princess named Poplar is being chased by two fighter planes, he rescues her.
Little does he know that he will be pulled away from the city he has lived all his life, and dragged into an adventure smack dab inbetween two countries at war and the evil plans of Moonk, who seeks world domination.
This movie had Laputa stamped all over it. At least, that's the feeling I got when I saw the cover, and the beginning of the movie did little to dispel that notion. A city, long-lost to the people around the world (except this city has the main character living in it). A young boy of remarkable strength and quick wit. A princess on the run ...
Well, okay ... perhaps that's a fairly normal theme in adventure stories.
The beginning of the movie IS beautiful. It certainly does a good job of setting the mood and introducing us to the main character. The animation is top notch and the art itself is pretty darn good. So, from the beginning and right up to the point where the princess is rescued, I thought I had another winner on my hands.
Sadly, this was not to be the case this time.
The main problem of this movie is the lack of a strong cast. Outside of Mangchi and Poplar, there are only a few characters that are featured for any significant amount of time. And of those, only Mangchi and Poplar are of any interest. Moonk, for all his evil disposition, acts the same as just about any bad guy in a lot of the Saturday morning cartoon I used to watch from back in the eighties to early nineties. He even does that stupid laugh that practically trademarks him as such, and the cape he wears pretty much compounds the role to the point of ridicolousness.
And then, there's Pultaco. A renegade bandit -- there's that Laputa link again -- who loves gold and will do just about anything to get a hold of as much as he can. He looks like he's been pulled directly out of an Asterix feature, and he does command the token team of lovable numbskull bandits. His appearance and general antics were the final points on my list of hints, cluing me in on the fact that I might just be a LITTLE outside of this movie's intended age range.
Unfortunately, the writing and plot progress also leaves something to be desired, mostly in the latter half. Things seems to happen somewhat at random, and the sudden introduction of Mangchi's "inherited powers" comes off as somewhat contrived. Especially since the power in question is described as "the power of the great echo", which basically mean that fights between the main characters consists of them yelling at each other. I'm dead serious. Any confrontation practically boils down to shouting matches, light effects and all. Given the seriousness of the movie itself, that was a bit of a miss too.
Well, at least the settings are nice -- very nice, in fact -- and the characters are mainly a likable bunch, stereotypes notwithstanding. The music wasn't all that memorable, since I seem to be unable to remember much of it, but the dubbing was quite ok. Oh, and speaking of which, this DVD actually had an English language track. This actually took me by surprise, especially since all the voice actors did a decent job with their roles.
In conclusion, if you have children aged ten or so, this would be the movie for you. If you're older than that ... well, there's nothing wrong with watching it, but you'll be aware of the fact that it wasn't really intended for someone your age.
(If you're ten years old or relatively close to that, you may add one star) — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: There's some firing of machine guns, and someone DOES get killed (offscreen) by guns, so I'd estimate this movie to be unsuitable for the very youngest. Given the nature of the movie itself, it's also not very suitable for the general adult, unless you're watching this together with children.
Version(s) Viewed: R3 Korean DVD, English Dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Hammer Boy © 2004 CHARACTERPLAN
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