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Madangeul naon amtak (2011)
Kind of Brutal
I put this on for my not-quite-3-year-old son.
Within the first five minutes, it features:
- The horrors of industrial chicken farming, including filth, depressed chickens, and mass death of chickens.
- A wheelbarrow of corpses (of chickens), with the protagonist tossed on top.
- A mass grave (of chickens).
- A homcidal animal attack (which, okay, animal stories always have these).
- A physically and verbally abusive patriarchal male figure (a rooster) attacking the protagonist... and then, when she stands up to him, he beats her down again and her resistance effectively achieves nothing but more abuse.
I am not a believer that kids' entertainment needs to sanitize out all the ugliness in the world, but... neither does it need to be this nasty. But that's the first five minutes. It's less brutal later on, mostly, and there are nice moments. Unfortunately, that's not the end of the cartoon's problems.
The other big problem is the plot arc: it's arguably sexist to have a protagonist whose primary character development is, "She becomes heroic by learning to make the sacrifices involved in being a good mother." When you're aware of the social setting in which this film was made-where lots and lots of women are similarly consigned to defining themselves primarily as mothers, to the point where they're even called "_______'s mom" instead of their own names, there's something a little off-putting about it.
Not that there's anything wrong with parenthood being valorized: it is a heroic act in many ways, at least when done right. But when's the last time you saw cartoon about a male animal being heroic by making the private, quiet sacrifices of being a good dad? Not even in this film do we see male characters making comparable sacrificing in the name of fatherhood, which... well, it's kind of hard not to notice. (It's also hard not to notice the duckling she adopts is a male character: heaven forbid a female character sacrifice and struggle to parent a *female* child.)
In sum, the cartoon struck me as heavy-handed, tin-eared, and sexist.
Yet another disappointing outing...
Yet another disappointing Korean SF film, 11 A.M. starts out potentially promising, but devolves into a nonsensical mess of melodrama (so many tears!) and laughably bad science very quickly. It's a shame that decent actors and such a great set--and budget--were wasted on such a turkey of a script. One only wishes that people in the Korean film industry would hire actual Korean SF authors (or even just science consultants) before greenlighting scripts like these.
That said, the sets and the special effects deserve recognition, and the actors did the best they could with what they had. Maybe the director was trying to appeal to a "mass audience" in Korea by including all the romantic-family-backstory melodrama, but plenty of foreign SF films (and even mainstream TV series) appeal to large Korean audiences without all that weepy family drama stuff.