Poor Coloring, Awkward Scenes Mar the Reign Of Animated 'King'

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Poor Coloring, Awkward Scenes Mar the Reign Of Animated 'King'

"The King," an animated film about David of the Bible, is due for release on May 5, Children's Day in Korea. The story of the legendary hero has been adapted to suit modern viewers, especially children, whom the film producers are evidently targeting. "The King" of the title refers to the young David, who survives a series of adventures, including a battle with the giant Goliath, to become the second king of Israel.

Toonipark, a Korean animation planning company, created the film in collaboration with High Praise, an American company, on a budget of 4.3 billion won ($3.3 million).

The team behind the film includes some big names in the global animation industry. The film's two directors, Richard Kim and Lee Chung-young, have been making animated films for more than 10 years and have produced feature-length versions of classics as "Rugrats" (with Nickelodeon, an American production company) and "Tom and Jerry," and TV episodes of "Aladdin" and "Dennis the Menace."

Alex Wilkinson and Michael Geisler, winners of Emmy and Golden Reel awards, were in charge of the music. They did a great job bringing color to the film, creating songs such as "We Are 400 Warriers!" sung by the soldiers who try to help the young David to the throne.

The plot of the film is rather simple: David must defeat King Saul after God chooses him to become the King of Israel. The film tells a "good wins over evil" fable but remains lively due to the characterization of the bad old King Saul. Saul is not portrayed as a plain antagonist but as a bad guy with an interesting personality.

The film's producers claim to have raised the standards of Korean animation. It's hard to accept such an assertion as the film has many flaws and seemed to lack the power to maintain the viewer's interest throughout. With comic scenes sprinkled liberally along the way to make up for the much too familiar subject of David and Goliath, the film tries hard to be entertaining but the end result is rather awkward. Even the characters' physical appearances lack grace - they come across as rather unnatural, with oriental-looking eyes and Caucasian body shapes. The film's blinding use of bright colors does not work well.

While "The King" is based on a biblical tale it keeps the religious message mild. It's a good enough film to keep the kids occupied for 75 minutes this Children's Day.

by Ki Sun-min

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