|Index||4 reviews in total|
'Mr Go' is one of those movies that you go in thinking that you have it
all figured out, only to realise that it packs so much more than you
had ever expected it would. Not that it isn't unabashedly a family
film, but the real surprise to Kim Yong-hwa's expensive 3D film is how
it deftly confounds audience expectations with its engaging plot,
offering a thoroughly enjoyable experience for both young and old
Based on the classic 1980s comic '7th Baseball Club' by Heo Young-man, the titular character refers to a 285 kg circus gorilla who is recruited by a savvy baseball agent to join the professional league by batting for the Doosan Bears. Such a high-concept premise seems primed for formula, especially since Mr Go is also the de facto guardian of a 15-year old precocious girl named Wei Wei (played by Mainland actress Xu Jiao), so one might be excused for already anticipating a rousing finale which simply affirms the ties between human and primate.
For the record, as well as for the benefit of audiences looking for that sort of an uplifting conclusion, it does end on such a stirring high note. Yet that is only half of the story, and Kim and his co-writers - Kim Hyun-chul and Kim Jong-hyun - deserve credit for coming up with some interesting surprises along the way. Instead of proceeding on a straight trajectory therefore, this one twists and turns thanks to some nicely timed curveballs, charting an altogether different path from where you think the various narrative threads are going.
Setting the stage for said gorilla Ling Ling's journey to Korea is the 2008 Great Sichuan Earthquake, which causes the death of Wei Wei's grandfather and leaves her in charge of his circus with a huge debt over their heads. As debtors come calling, Wei Wei is left at her wit's end how to save the circus as well as the forty other orphans who claim shelter under its roof. And so when the wily Sung (Korean actor Sung Dong-il) comes knocking, she readily accepts his offer to transform Ling Ling into a baseball star.
Whereas other genre movies might have settled for making Sung the villain who turns over a new leaf by the time the credits roll, Sung is none of that here; rather, questionable though his motives may have been at the start, he forms an almost immediate bond with Ling Ling even as the latter uses the leaves of his prized Japanese tree in a garden within his apartment to make its bed. Neither does Ling Ling have any trouble settling into the game; in fact, he takes to baseball like the glove that fits the hand.
Reserving Sung's cover-up of Ling Ling's weak knee for almost the very end, Kim works on the debtors' continued harassment of the orphans and more importantly, a second gorilla named Lei-Ting whom Wei Wei had tried but failed to train and tame. At least for the first half of the movie, it isn't quite clear how Lei-Ting will come into the picture, but once you see how the filmmakers weave him into the story, you can't help but be awed for both their ingenuity as well as their ambition.
Indeed, for what marks the first fully CGI-ed character to be created in Korean cinema, Kim has certainly set the bar high for himself and the larger industry. Working together with his VFX supervisor Jung Sung-jin under Kim's own studio Dexter Digital, he brings Ling Ling to life with amazing vividness. Not only is the CGI seamlessly integrated into the live-action shots, Ling Ling is animated with impressive detail to both emotion and character. That feat is even more significant when one compares Ling Ling to Lei-Ting, the former gentle and generous while the latter rash and rowdy.
Undoubtedly impressive are the scenes where Ling Ling gets in the heat of the game; in particular, one where his trainer Wei Wei goes AWOL leaving Sung to take over is exhilarating to watch as Ling Ling gets out of control and is pursued by an emergency helicopter over the roof of the Jamsil Stadium. But Kim reserves the best for last; the finale where Ling Ling and Lei-Ting end up on opposing teams and go up against each other is jaw-dropping to say the least, particularly so when one considers that both gorillas are in fact computer-generated.
With a keen sensibility tuned to the game too, Kim choreographs the baseball matches with throbbing excitement, sparing no expense at replicating the sheer thrill of the games. Baseball fans will also appreciate how he takes care to intertwine finer intricacies of the sport as a business, as Ling Ling's talent attracts the interest of two rival Japanese baseball teams which Sung proceeds to milk for maximum gain. Such details add richness to what could easily have been a run-of- the-mill family movie, and demonstrate Kim's endeavour at both creative and technical artistry.
His achievement is also even the more notable for being the first major Korean-Chinese co-production - a significant part of its US$22.5 mil budget (considered sizeable by the terms of the Korean film industry) was put up by Huayi Brothers. Notwithstanding the necessities of ensuring some Chinese element in the story (Wei Wei's circus hails from China), Kim's film is a brilliant example of cross-strait collaboration that does not need to pander to audiences on either side. Most of all, it is amusing, heartwarming, poignant and inspirational, one of the very best family films we've seen in a long while.
Mr. Go is an action drama comedy that delivers more than you had ever
expected it would. It's such a high concept premise that most likely
will assume that it follows a certain formula done before by Hollywood.
Fortunately, it's not. There are some unexpected yet interesting
surprises throughout the film.Remember the kid in Stephen Chow's CJ7?
She's the circus ringmaster Wei Wei in this film.
Some of the plot elements presented in the film are questionable: Why would a parent dares to let his own baby go near a 300kg gorilla? Why would the Korean professional baseball league allows a gorilla to join in any team to compete? If the circus is in the middle of a desert, why would anyone willing to go watch the show? The CGI rendering of the gorillas Ling Ling and Lei Ting seems almost believable but feels uncanny at the same time.There are plenty of amusing emotional bonding moments between Ling Ling and the Korean baseball agent, Sung or Wei Wei. The scene where Ling Ling desperately trying to rescue Wei Wei during the Sichuan earthquake is particularly heartwarming. The baseball matches shown in the film are well choreographed.
Unfortunately, the film suffers from too many deliberate expositions about the character background and doesn't flow nicely as the story progresses. The helicopter chasing scene in the stadium seems a bit too much and unnecessary. There's no sense of team camaraderie shown in all the baseball matches and no players reactions to the new recruits in the team. The film also might lose some of its appeal to certain audiences due to its choice of sports.
Overall, it's still a decent major collaboration between China and South Korea to make such a high budget film.A decent watchable family film suitable for audience of all ages.
Hong Kong, Chinese, Taiwanese and now Jiao Xu, the 'CJ7' fame kid
forayed into the Korean film industry. She was quite impressive in all
her movies, we can call her a Disney girl from east. Her performance
and flawless CGI character(s) are the movie's advantage. Frankly, I
never expected such a clean graphical character like western's big
production house do.
Last time I heard was these eastern countries fought for the rights of Senkaku islands. But now it is good to see they are together for this wonderful movie. It won't be your favourite flick, but will be a cool movie to watch with children. For the moment I even thought did they hired Andy Serkis to do motion capture for the Gorilla. Because it was that perfect and Serkis is the only known who is a master in giving such performance.
After losing their elders in an earthquake, a young circus ringmaster, Wei Wei and other children struggle to rebuild the business. When load shark threatens to take the kids and sell animals to cover the debt, Wei Wei comes up with a plan. To make a big buck that she must leave China for South Korea with her beloved pet, a gorilla called Ling Ling to take participate in the baseball series. Soon their popularity reaches far east, where many Japanese baseball franchises stand in the queue to sign Ling Ling in their team. When everything was going fine, the problem arises after money lender follows her there with another plan.
It is a Korean's answer to Hollywood in the field of live shot movie with merge of an animated character. We must appreciate the filmmakers for their contribution to this movie from impossible theme to making possible. The plot is not believable, a gorilla to play baseball? Humans are no match with a gorilla's strength, then how can they allow to participate the tournament. It was a comedy flick so there you go that mean it is nothing more than an entertainment. In the perspective of family audience and kids, it is worth giving a shot.
On the first time you step into theater studio to watch this movie, you may expect Mr. Go is just another family-oriented film with basic plot and predictable ending but I should say, it wasn't. The plot is well- build. For first thirty minutes of the movie we are asked to 'learn' the history of the star gorilla explaining the relation the gorilla and the human child shared. Not like another movie with animal-human relation, this one is so vivid. You'll know exactly why the gorilla loves her so much.Though some of plot elements are quite questionable. The plot twist also not disappointing, it plays with our sympathy to that gorilla and might cause to tears a bit (for kids, may be they really would cry, gentle one). Surprisingly, the visual are so Hollywood-like. The CG of gorilla looks so natural and expressive, scenes in stadium shows that they really look for details, such as choreography. Being released in 3D, it's worthy. You may shove your body to avoid the balls they are throwing but that's it. The only scene which is worthy to watch in 3D is just in the stadium one. The characters don't flow so smoothly through the entire movie. They give us some ala Korea jokes to laughed at, which are nice I think, but it can't cover the hole of its characterization. The difference between a character on the beginning and last half of the movie is so contrast without a sleek progression. We may questioning, "why is he suddenly like that?" Though like I said, the plot twist is still unpredictable. Some casts are brilliant, but I can't help myself to dislike the human- kid due to her angry-like expression in whole of the movie. Odagiri Jo's act is so amusing to be missed. Overall, it's a nice movie to be watched with your kids. The very 30 minutes may make you boring but the last 30 minutes is incredibly enjoyable for a trilingual movie (chinese, Korea, Japanese). It also gives good value through the story and heartwarming ending that will make you stay until the credits really comes out ;)
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