Korean Animation Will Hit U.S. Screens This Summer"Turtle Hero" (Byeoljubu Hero), a new Korean animation, is going to the United States. It is adapted from "Byeoljubu Jeon", a Korean traditional folk tale. In the original story, the turtle, a loyal subject of the Sea King, journeys to earth on a mission to bring the king the liver of a rabbit. The Sea King needs it for medicinal purposes because of a sudden and unknown illness. The turtle succeeds in carrying out his duty and returns to the sea, although the shrewd rabbit uses subterfuge to escape during his first attempt.
However, in "Turtle Hero," the hunter and the hunted, a turtle named Hero and a rabbit called Toremi, fall in love. Toremi, an orphan, grew up lonely but is exceptionally bright and vigilant. Hero becomes torn between his love for Toremi and loyalty to the Sea King. Toremi's lack of parents attracts Hero, who wants to shelter her. Although this version of "Turtle Hero" gives the folk tale a modern twist, the new plot is very appealing to its juvenile viewers.
Not only the plot but the whole production style of this old story is new, and both the animation and audio processing have achieved a good result. It is obvious that the animators and the sound mixers have taken particular pains in their work. A staff member at Hahnshin Corporation, the production company for "Turtle Hero," said, "Though this animation is targeted mainly at children, we tried to make it perfect by having experts in each field as staff members so that adults can enjoy it as well."
Park Si-ock, who produced popular Korean animation films such as "Run, Hani" and "Yeongshimi," directed "Turtle Hero." Kim Hye-ji, who has composed songs for the popular dancing group, Fin.K.L, contributed to the soundtrack for the film. Park Kok-ji, the veteran film cutter who edited movies such as "Shiri" (1999) and "The Legend of Ginko" (2000) was the editing engineer.
Lively supporting characters are essential to animation as well as films, as seen in Disney animations. Watching them, it becomes evident that if the supporting characters fail to function, a pall is cast over the whole film. It is the lack of unique supporting characters in "Turtle Hero" that leaves something to be desired. In spite of various supporting characters such as Porong the raccoon, Catchy the cat, and the monkeys known as the Bucky Brothers, their presence does not add more enjoyment to the story.
Despite this shortcoming, "Turtle Hero" is a good step for Korean films because it is being distributed in the United States. August Film, an American movie distributing company, has guaranteed at least $6.13 million for "Turtle Hero." This promising new animation is to be released in July in Korea and in the United States.
by Ki Sun-min