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'Yobi' Needs More Detailed Tale

2007/01/25 | 127 views | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

After a bout of failures at the local box office, local animations have been produced in small numbers. So just the release of a new animated movie can be seen as good news.

But the new film, "Yobi, The Five Tailed Fox", falls short of fully satisfying animation fans.

It takes its story from a traditional fairytale, and superb visual renderings give life to the characters, but what's missing is a proper finishing touch, one that combines all these elements to take the audience to a climax.

The story is based on a fairytale about nine-tailed foxes that can transform into anything. They can even steal human souls to become men.

In the film, directed by Lee Seong-gang, however, Yobi (voiced by Son Ye-jin) is far from the scary foxes in the fairytale. She has five tails and is 100 years old.

After her family was killed by foxhunters, she keeps her distance from humans, living in a forest with aliens whose space ship was wrecked 100 years ago.

One day, one of the aliens gets lost in a human village and is captured by a girl. Yobi goes into the village to save him. There, she has various adventures and becomes attached to people, even developing a liking for a boy named Hwanggum.

But her happy exploration ends when a foxhunter starts to chase her and a detective named Shadow offers her a dangerous bargain, which takes the story in a different direction.

The animation promises the audience an entertaining journey, and visually, the film is impressive.

Parts of the background were rendered through watercolor paintings, which gives the images a feeling of warmth. The characters are presented in the traditional cartoon style, and other elements, such as buses and buildings, were created use computer-generated imagery to render them three-dimensional and make the characters seem more dynamic.

The movie's wacky and cute characters _ aliens, boys, girls, a teacher and forest creatures _ spice up the story.

Voice performer Son did a good job making her character adorable, and Korean-Japanese New Age pianist Yang Bang-ean's pieces make the film enjoyable.

The biggest flaw appears when the story reaches its end.

When you watch Yobi fighting against her tragic fate, the film attempts to take you to a climax. But just when you start to feel it, there is an anti-climax, which comes out of nowhere. Then the credits start to roll.

If the ending was not so sudden or was better presented technically, the animation could have had more potential to break the current run of commercial failures. Three stars.

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