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麥兜故事 (2001)
My Life as McDull

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: an entertaining little piggy...

a bizarre and random animation about a pig who lives in hong kong.

nicely animated, in a variety of styles, and entertaining, even if it's narrative is little more than a stream of consciousness...

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 07/03/2002
Summary: Delightful

There's plenty to be charmed and delighted about in the animated feature "My Life as McDull." Toe Yuen Kin To, Brian Tse and Alice Mak have done a tremendous job in bringing the little pig, McDull, to life. Even though this is an animated tale for children, "My Life as McDull" surpasses many Hong Kong films, regardless of genre, in terms of style, characters, and storyline. The animation is visually pleasing. The title character, McDull, is rooted in two dimensions, with a host of animation tricks to keep the eyes happy. The film has that children's storybook look and feel, as if each page could be a fold out to greater things.

"My Life as McDull" is basically a fond remembrance of youth as introduced from an adult point of view about the relationship between a boy and his mother. It is this perspective that makes the film a tale for all ages. It is deceptively powerful in the way it draws your attention to the screen, from the inventive animation, to the voice-overs, to the music. The score to" "My Life as McDull" is so sweet and melodic that it puts much of what is out in theatres to shame. No cheesy synthesizer here.

"My Life as McDull" is a very warm and entertaining film that is great family fun.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Stardust
Date: 05/07/2002
Summary: Impressive

I usually don't watch animated movies, but I gotta say I'm impressed with this one. A story about a not-so-bright pig with his own struggles and his mom who is trying to make ends meet while providing unconditional love. The general story is a coming-of-age tale about McDull and leads up to his life as an adult. The bond between him and his mom is clearly expressed and quite realistic.

Some comedic moments, some bitter-sweet moments. The mom's wacky personality generates many laughs, and McDull is as adorable and innocent as ever. However, after a while, the laughs die and the movie tends to drag. For younger children, the movie may be too long and at times a little deep when McDull gets philosophical.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 05/03/2002

I'm not at all devoted to animated features, but this movie was so delightful, funny, brilliantly, affectionately satirical, that it completely won me over. It's intensely "local" in its references, flavour, in-jokes, and its look. But that's not a limitation. Precisely because of its lovingly detailed take on HK, McDull expands far beyond the constraints of what might be a "merely local" film, and connects, with graceful ease, to an audience that's much broader than local. Much the same way as Fruit Chan's films (like LITTLE CHEUNG) go right to audiences' hearts because viewers can sense the authenticity of the details, even if they can't recognize them as bits of their own home.

The voice work in MY LIFE AS MCDULL is wonderful: McDull's voice, an utterly charming kid, is priceless: you want to take it home with you. Sandra Ng is deadpan hilarious as McDull's mother, and Anthony Wong provides another virtuoso performance as series of eccentric balding men (the principal, the food vendor, the sports coach). Jan Lam is marvellous as the adult McDull, and The Pancakes is perfectly dippy as McDull's primary school teacher ("The Pancakes" is a one-woman band whose hilariously off-beat songs are a unique HK alternative music phenomenon).

Cheers to McDull's music design: who would think that a series of adorably jovial nonsense songs could be set to gorgeous Schubert and Schumann piano pieces. Particularly impressive were the Mozart piano sonata excerpts, which were actually played, authentically, on a fortepiano! (the 18th century forbearer of the modern concert grand) -- it's a minor point, but symptomatic of the astonishingly apt attention to detail and craft that characterizes the design and conception of the movie as a whole).

As Tim and others have said, the art design is continuously inventive, constantly changing. The photo-realist / surrealistically animated cityscapes, with their rapturously twirling cranes, are breathtaking. Perhaps the most moving segment (on the life and death of a turkey) looks as if it's simply drawn with pencil on craft paper, but that doesn't inhibit its effectiveness at all.

The film isn't perfect: perhaps the middle section, on Cheung Chau Island, sags a bi. But that lull sets up a completely unexpected ending, with a shocking change of tone and format that took my breath away. And made me rethink everything I'd seen before.

Congratulations to everyone involved: director Toe Yuen, writer Brian Tse, and artist Alice Mak, for bringing their fantasies and their feelings to life: there aren't many movies that have the capacity to both delight and astonish like McDull.