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My Beautiful Girl Mari (2002)

Cast: Chong-ok Bae, Lee Byung-hun
Director: Lee Seong-kang, Lee Seong-kang
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: A.D.V. Films
Genre: Kids, Animated, Korea, Animation
Running Time: 80 min.
Languages: English, Korean
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Recently Rented By highgrove

My Beautiful Girl Mari concerns a lonely boy who must contend with a mother who constantly spends time with her boyfriend, a deceased father, his sick grandmother, and a cat who often goes missing. In response he becomes deeply involved in a fantasy world that features the title character. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Special - Limited Quantity On Hand

GreenCine Member Reviews

Resembling more of an art house film than animation... by markhl April 6, 2004 - 10:44 PM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
It's a difficult task overcoming the formidable shadow of the prolific japanese animation industry and the status that Studio Ghibli films have achieved over the years. However, this impressive feature goes a long way to establishing a sense that may become a unique trademark for the growing korean animation industry. The tone and feel of Mari Iyagi is completely different than the works of Studio Ghibli in that it is simpler and is more grounded in reality than fantasy. In fact, the heart of the film resembles more closely the subtle, contemplative portrayals of life commonly seen in korean films and TV (non-animation) than anything I've seen in animation, japanese or otherwise. Mari Iyagi isn't necessarily about the adventures of a young boy in a fantastic world and focusing too much on that aspect really detracts from the fine balance between imaginative reality and fantasy that this work achieves, both animation-wise and theme-wise. The last sentiment expressed by the main character Nam Oo reaffirms this aspect of the film.

The production is absolutely top notch with some impressive "class A" actors like Lee Byung-Heon (Bungee Jumping of Their Own, JSA, etc.) and Ahn Sung-Ki (Silmido, Kilimanjaro etc.) voicing some of the roles. The score fits absolutely perfectly and further distinguishes the feel of this one from anime. It's interesting that the korean dialogue was so realistic that in the absence of the visuals, I would've easily mistaken this for a real film. The english subtitles are handled pretty well and no dubs are available on this disc. Unfortunately, the extras on this R1 disc are not too extensive unlike the R3 discs (from descriptions on various websites) however it should be noted that most of the extra content on the R3 discs are not offered with english subtitles and thus probably not useful for non-korean speakers.

Lastly, I should mention that I've been a huge fan of japanese anime and have had more than my share of doubts of how unique and original korean animation could become beyond the heavy influence of japanese and american animation, both of which are more more popular even within Korea. The technical aspect of animation was never in doubt but what about the style? Mari Iyagi restored much of my faith and hope in this struggling but growing industry. Instead of watching for comparisons with other animation or getting caught up in the differences from what you've grown accumstomed to from japanese or american animation, try to watch this one without any biases to see the piece for what it is and not for what it is not...

A mish-mash of Ghibli by kamapuaa October 27, 2003 - 3:39 PM PST
7 out of 9 members found this review helpful
This movie came off as a re-hash of many familiar Ghibli elements - primarily, it's about a kid who can't really socialize, and literally enters into a magical, psychedelic world. When you're watching it, you can't help but compare it to "Mimi o Sumaseba" or "Omohide Poro Poro."

When it veers from the familiar Ghibli material, the movie was more interesting - The magic is understated almost to the point of being magical realism, and it gave an interesting look at life in a small fishing town. But, it didn't go far enough, and the storyline didn't end up amounting to anything. I think this movie had potential, and I'll keep my eyes open for any future animations by the same director. But unless you've already seen all the Ghibli movies, I wouldn't recomment this one.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.42)
64 Votes
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