Mak Dau goo si (2001) Poster

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An innovative and moving animated feature
mlstein21 June 2002
The little pig McDull and his cousin McMug are huge favorites in Hong Kong, but this lovely and complex film is unlikely to get a distributor outside of Asia. More's the pity, because it's one of the richest of recent animated films, even counting Studio Ghibli's work. It starts as a charming, off-beat account of an extraordinarily ordinary kindergardener in Hong Kong and his his obsessed but loving single mom, animated with an eye-popping variety of techniques that convey perfectly the hallucinatory intensity of early childhood. (We see Mrs Mc charging through her work day as the heroine of a video game; and her cooking show--with every permutation of chicken, bun and paper imaginable--must be seen.) Soon, though, it takes shape as a memory picture, and deepens and darkens without ever losing its cockeyed playfulness.

The visual direction of Alice Mak, McDull's creator, is exceptional, and so is the superb music, borrowing heavily from Schubert, Schumann and Mozart in a perfect balance of absurdity and tears. At the end the film moves seamlessly into live action, bringing its meditations on the end of childhood, the disappointments of life, and the mysterious possibilities of joy to an open-ended close. I'm sure that I miss a lot of the humor, since I don't know Chinese; but the subtitles convey a surprising poetic feel that surely is even stronger in the original. Not for children; but don't miss it if you have the chance.
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I've had 2 tasio bau, may I have 2 more?
ETCmodel028 September 2002
First animated feature I've seen from HK, and hopefully not the last. Brilliant and unconventional, with an amazingly whimsical style of narrated recalled episodes interwoven with introspective investigations and loads of imaginative tirades. Wonderful mix of styles and techniques in the rendering, covering pretty much the full gamut of potential animation disciplines. Great comic writing, lovely recurrent jokes, terrific voice talent and really excellent songs, especially the one about tasio bau (steamed pork buns). Excellent for the kids, heck, the whole family! Really smart stuff! And no, I'm not biased just because my favorite female comedian Sandra Kwan-Yue Ng is one of the voice talents in this. ;)
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A wonderfully strange, sad film.
sharits_ghost10 December 2004
Visually, "My Life as McDull" is extremely innovative, blending 3D computer animation with 2D images and even live action. The film's dialogue and events are also fascinatingly idiosyncratic.

McDull is, true to his name, dull-witted, but the authority figures who govern him--his mother, the headmaster, his teacher, his bun-snatching coach--are all incompetent and selfish. The film sharply criticizes the assumption that adults are smarter and superior to children, yet its oddness keeps it from ever becoming preachy.

Consider the narration by the adult McDull. He may be smarter than his childhood self, but he regrets what he's learned, speaking mainly about how unhappy he is. "My Life as McDull" is as perceptive in its portrayal of childhood and aging as any film I've seen.
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Cute and humorous
CaNdiCe MOO!24 August 2005
I've seen this movie twice before. The first time, I found it tedious and boring because it was just another cartoon, somewhat similar to Disney cartoons. The evil of Disney...However, this summer I took a trip to Hong Kong and then watched McDull again. The second time around I found it way more interesting and actually funny. This movie has been called unfunny, but to understand McDull it helps to be able to understand Cantonese and to have visited HK since most of the jokes and the visuals are all about HK anyway. Per se, people who have never seen HK or don't speak Cantonese aren't going to find this funny because it's basically an inside joke about life in Hong Kong.

All in all, the movie's a cute affair, nice visuals, and they show some really good aspects of HK and some HK culture, as well as actual places in the city like the Peak Tram and the MTR, etc. The story's fine; about a pig growing up and reflecting back on his childhood. It's great for the kids because it's creative enough and the comically foolish McDull will appeal. It's worth watching even if it drags on needlessly.
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unfunny but watchable
Tan karhui3 June 2004
Its take on humour is laboured and contrived, which thrived on the absurdist and repetitive but ultimately running dry. It is so repetitive that the movie can be better employed as a language course in Cantonese. It is best illustrated in the the long and dreary sequences involving some calf muscles, or was it turkey calf muscles, spinning round and round in turnkeys.....

Having said that, its take on a coming-of-age and mother love story is more commendable despite its flaws. Having opening scene ripped off from Forrest Gump, I feared the worst for McDull. I feared the story would disneyfied (is there such a word? maybe degenerate wld suffice) into a feel good show, where everything grim and sad would suddenly turn gold, as if by magic. Here, we are not treated with a magic show, but with the reality of a mother's devoted love to her not-too-bright son and their struggles in life against a not-too-caring and unforgiving world.

In addition, its visuals were innovative. The fusion of cutesy cartoon and reality photography help to create a believable McDull universe in which animals and humans share their disillusioned lives together in a claustrophobic urban jungle which is more commonly known as Hong Kong in our universe.
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don't watch it dubbed!
Dhomochevsky1 November 2003
This movie has been released in france at the beginning of this year (2003). Eager to know what a HK animated movie would look like i went to see it without any hesitation. Unfortunately i have been quite disappointed. Very short but too long and too repetitive at the same time. I was wondering where to laugh because nothing seemed fun to me. what's more i was almost alone in the theater so i couldn't rely on other peoples reactions. I wouldn't say i got bored, but really confused. As a japanese anime fan, i maybe expected too much from this movie. What's sure is that french dubbing is simply awful... If there had been enough original copies i would have watched it in cantonese version of course. I don't know if there is any english dub as well, but i warn all those who understand french to avoid the one which has been made here. That simply kills the movie...... the songs in particular are absolutely unbearable.
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Hong Kong animated film manages to be both for kids and adults as well as being one of the best movies of any sort in many years
dbborroughs23 July 2006
Hong Kong animated film that concerns the reflections of an older McDull, seen here as a pig, back on his life as a five or six year old. Its a combination of live action, 2D and 3D animation that could only have come out of Hong Kong.

Beginning with the birth of McDull this film then jumps to his arrival in school and then goes from there. McDull and his mom seem to be taking on the world alone and we see how she struggles to raise her son and get by as McDull is seen to be both unaware of the poverty that he was living in (as the child) and yet as the adult he's keenly aware that his mom was doing the best she could to raise him as a single parent. It manages to both captures the bliss of the innocence of being a child as well as the melancholy of how the knowing adult looking at the same situation would see it. It warms and breaks your heart at the same time.

Absolutely a great film the films one real flaw is that its a bit too disjointed. The pieces don't always fit together or lead into each other in such away as to make a unified whole. I was hoping that in the end it would all come together and while it didn't quite the final piece manages to wrap it all up nicely.

Largely unavailable outside of Asia this film really needs to be seen elsewhere in the world. I understand why the film hasn't been seen in the US since its "manage to have it both childlike and adult" style would be off putting to a studio who wouldn't know how to market it. But considering that the film spawned a sequel, Karaoke discs, a toy line, and more in Asia one would think that this is truly a movie for everyone (its mix of adult and kids humor makes it almost a movie one could grow up with) If you love great movies see this film.
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