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We know the limitations of animation, or do we? Animation can be great, especially if it allows us to see something that we otherwise wouldn't, but this effort is a disaster. Just because Warner had the rights to reshape the story doesn't mean that it was wise to do so. I suggest either the original drama >Anna and the King<, a rather adult approach with much darkness that fits the original story, or the more accessible live-action musical >The King and I<, which has the benefits of Richard Rogers' musical score. It looks much like an attempt to capitalize upon either >Beauty and the Beast< or >Aladdin<, both infinitely better.
This animated film is a disaster from the start. It tries to make a fairy tale out of a story from the nineteenth century by adding sorcery and magical devices that mock the norms of nineteenth-century thought. Sorcery and the hyper-rational nineteenth century do not mix.
Some of the animated sets, I concede, are attractive. That said, the treatment inexcusably confuses Chinese and Thai culture. (To be sure, Thailand has a large Chinese diaspora, and it is quite influential, but not dominant).
Many of the characters are over the top, including the devious Prime minister who exploits a big-screen "magic mirror" and wears a Colonel Klink-like monocle and has a stereotypical stooge as his confederate. The animals are excessively cute and unrealistic, including the sterotypical 'mischievous monkey' and the King's cuddly pet panther(?), not to mention some of the most unrealistic elephants that we have ever seen and the snakes that the evil Prime Minister conjures out of vines. We've seen it all before, and this time it doesn't work.
Forget this one. Too many valid alternatives exist for this general story. If you want magic in an animated flick, then seek something in a more mystical time (such as >Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs<} or place (the beautiful-but-creepy world of >Spirited Away<.
Don't debase your video collection with this derivative rubbish. This movie's story is too dumb for adults and too dark for children.
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