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Warner Brothers has seen fit to butcher this masterpiece with a new animated
version that is thoroughly awful. The producers have attempted to bring the
story down to a kid's level by eliminating key elements from the original
and introducing new characters that would make Richard Rogers and Oscar
Hammerstein both turn over in their graves. The King no longer has a harem
here, and his 106 children have been reduced to a mere 8. The Prime
Minister has been transformed into an evil wizard who uses a magic gong in
an attempt to overthrow the King, and he is aided by a bumbling fat midget
who keeps having his teeth knocked out. Then there is the onslaught of cute
animals including a monkey, an elephant and a panther that constantly save
the King by hurling mangoes at the villains. Many of these new characters
are directly stolen from Disney films, especially from `Aladdin.' If all
this was not enough, we even get a scene where the King rides in a hot air
balloon that is powered by a panther riding a bicycle mounted to a
propeller. And just to make sure that we have a happy ending, absolutely
NOBODY dies in this version. Admittedly, seeing this was an animated
feature I was fully expecting some liberties to be taken, but I was not
expecting a rewriting of the entire story.
The film's worst moments come during the musical scenes. Some of Rogers and Hammerstein's music manages to make it onto the screen but it is handled in such a way that it makes your stomach turn. For example, the movie begins with Anna singing `I Whistle a Happy Tune' while a sea monster attacks her. The King sings `A Puzzlement' while being attacked by giant statues that have suddenly come to life. Then there are the kids that sing `Getting to Know You' while being stalked by the fat midget. At the screening of this film I kept sinking deeper into my seat and saying, `Tell me this isn't happening!'
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.
In the past year I saw a parody of "Titanic" on Saturday Night Live's
TV Funhouse, entitled "Titey," the joke being that Disney had turned
the story into a big joke, with a singing ship, an evil ice berg, and
sea animals that come together to rescue the poor sinking ship, helping
it land safely in America.
The funny part is, if those writers gave the same treatment to "The King and I" the result would have been this movie. Except, in the SNL skit, they had Whoopi Goldberg voicing the iceberg. That was funny. Here, the best they could do for comedy was... Darrell Hammond, an SNL cast member.
Whoever made this movie doesn't have kids, nor much of a brain either. 1 out of 10, but only because it wouldn't let me type in a lower number.
I went to watch this cartoon because I'm Thai. I wanted to see how it is.
And I found that it's too
terrible for me. I mean I couldn't accept some lines in the story. It's
not true for the magic. I don't
want to see western children think that Thailand is a mysterious country
which "Kla-holm" used magic
to harm people. And we haven't had that kind of animal in the sea, look
like a dragon, I'm really sure.
All I say doesn't mean that I don't accept in the story which Anna wrote
long long time ago. The
Western didn't know about our culture. And the story is just Anna's view
point which no one knows that
it's all true or something she made from her own idea. That's what I can
accept. However, I can't believe
the director and script writer of this globalization period do this with
Thai culture. Magic and love story
of our Prince Chulalongkorn with Tubtim are not true at all. Do you know
that Thai people love and
respect our royal family, especially Prince Chulalongkorn was our King
V who did many good
things for Thailand? Do you feel ashamed to do like this? (I just wanna
ask the director and script writer.)
Thus, I think I can accept the classic one more than this cartoon. And I
hope the film which Jo-yun Fat
performes will be better. Please don't "play" with my history in the
The director of the next film, at least, please do what Anna wrote. Or it
will be better to do the research of Thai history.
And I think this cartoon isn't good. I don't have bias but I don't think the picture is really beautiful. Many cartoons are much better.
Hope you all understand my English.
My kids (preschool and first grade) wanted to see this
movie ever since the promos started running. I read all the comments here,
and in spite of them, we went to
The kids loved it. They were glued to the screen every second and talked about it for the rest of the day. In that regard, the movie reached its target.
I was a bit disappointed, but certainly not to the passionate degree I've seen here. I certainly was not expecting a line-for-line remake of the Brynner-Kerr film, nor a remake of any of the dozen or so live productions of the play that I've seen. This clearly was an attempt to reach a new audience, a late-1990s audience that's seen years of _Aladdin_, _The Little Mermaid_, _Pocahontas_ (oddly enough, all long-lived stories that were messed with at some level in the interest of making a movie about them) and I think they connected on that level.
The animation was average at best, and Quicktime-Movie-running-on-a-386-bad at worst. Perhaps I've been spoiled by Disney features or the wonderful Fleischer material of the 1930s.
The musical numbers were buried under visuals that didn't match-- I agree with the other posters who complained about the scene in which "Whistle a Happy Tune" was sung-- and some of the 1990s devices such as the cute animals and the martial arts demonstrations simply left me longing to see the original film again.
But that's me.
I'm renting the original movie for my kids to see which they prefer; this is more an experiment in learning what reaches them as opposed to the appalled father saying "Good Lord, what an abomination! Watch this instead!" After all, they prefer Froot Loops to cantaloupe, and we all know what's better for them. :-) What we can do is introduce them to quality and see if it takes.
If you are reading this before seeing the movie, take all the comments in these postings in the proper spirit; don't expect a remake of something that's too wonderful to be remade properly (so why would a studio even consider bothering with a line-by-line/scene-by-scene animated "mirror" version?) but don't expect something lower than horrible. It's actually quite entertaining.
My rating: 6
It has been said that a thousand monkeys working on a thousand typewriters
would eventually come up with the script for Hamlet. If that's so, then
this was obviously one of their earlier attempts. Why else would a monkey
take center stage in this remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein's listless
musical of the same name? And while they were using their hands to write
the stumbling and obvious plotline (including an evil wizard (?!) with the
typical maniacal laugh and bumbling sidekick), the monkeys were busy
creating poorly drawn images with their feet. The best I can say about
animation is that it was probably done as paint-by-numbers using crayons,
although monkeys are commonly known for drawing with their...
How do movies like this get made? Do people in hollywood actually think that children are dumb enough to watch this drivel? Just thinking about this flick makes me want to stab my brain with a q-tip, hopefully causing blissful amnesia, or maybe even a coma. Either way, the thought of this film would no longer haunt my worst nightmares.
Having two younger children, I try to take them to movies like this, sight or review unseen, when I can. They, like most kids, have seen the violence, heard the profanity, and fell into the lowest common denominator of most movies being made today. That's what makes this such a disappointment. I like to observe their reactions and their responses and not rain on their parades. But all they talked about when the thing was over was the guy who kept losing his teeth (remember that from the original broadway musical?), and the mango throwing monkey. This is their memory of "The King and I." Both my kids have visited Thailand and I thought perhaps this would bring up some of the spirit of that world. Instead, we have this exploitative mess that throws out most of the cultural issues and the dramatic impact for a supernatural villain (where did he get these powers? The King didn't have any, other than incredible athleticism). And, of course, is there a movie around that doesn't have a Martial Arts component? I know that kickboxing is big in Thailand but.... I am generally very accepting of the things that are put out there for the kids, but this was terrible. A message to the producers: "Please, please, please, leave Rodgers and Hammerstein alone. I don't want to watch an interplanetary war version of "Oklahoma"!
Here's the story: When I was a toddler, I went over to my Grandfather's
house and he had a copy of the old classic King and I. He set me off to
watch it and I loved it through out. Well, in the presence, I watched
this on STARZ and I didn't know what to do but sit through it and think
about it. I had to rate it a 1/10 because of how awful this was. Look,
I don't remember if the original King and I had this, but this was waay
too frightening to look at for young viewers. There is a villain named
whatshisname who puts on an evil scheme to distract the village with
scary dragons, scary animals, a bloody-colored river, and there is a
near death experience with the king. This movie is way to scary too
look at with your kids. There is this woman who almost drowned at the
part where she gets carried away in the river. I don't think this is
nothing copied off of the original classic King and I but here are some
subjects about it:
The animation was beautiful (almost like a Disney animation film). The script was flat. And the storyline was mostly predictable. The songs were forgettable. The characters are unfavorable.
Skip this floppy animated version and watch the original King and I.
I was extremely disappointed in this cartoon. I was recently in the play, and the 'King's kids' from the play and I went to see it today. I knew that there were some changes, but these were ridiculous! Why have Tuptim fall in love with Chululongkorn and not Lung-Thai? Why have the Kralahome be a stupid, evil guy when he actually had some intelligence in the play and movie? Why have some guy who can play mind tricks -- what purpose in the movie does he have? Also, the ballet, one of the best parts, was left out. I don't see why they had to add a monkey that seemed to be taken from "Aladdin," a jaguar, and elephants, when the plot would have been so much better w/o them. I definitely don't think that the king should have lived at the end.....I don't care if its Disney or not. The real movie/play is much better. And as I said at the end, "We were SO much better!" It's true. Don't plan on seeing it if you are faithful to the real story.
Obviously this does not measure up to the original musical but there is still plenty to enjoy. The songs are there and I also enjoyed the three animals. I'll admit that some sequences were ludicrous (especially the sea serpent) and they gave it a happy ending and glossed over some issues but they didn't bother me that much. 8/10
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