Genre: Animation (SF Action)
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About This DVD
2142 A.D. The world civilizations have collapsed under the weight of environmental pollution. A group of scientific and industrial elites have founded and ensconced themselves in a city named Ecoban, sustained by the Delos System that converts pollutants into a source of energy. The refugees from outside world scrape by in a shantytown Marr, located at the outskirts of Ecoban. The leaders of Ecoban, concerned that the Delos System is running out of resources, secretly plots to destroy Marr and its inhabitants and add their remains to the fuel for the life support system. The hero of the piece is an Ecoban outcast named Shua who seeks to infiltrate the city and shut down the Delos: pitted against him is Ecoban's security chief, top-knotted Simon (pronounced Shee-mon in a Korean way) and a fiery, red-haired female agent Jay, both of who, as it turns out, harbor personal secrets concerning Shua's expulsion from Ecoban.
Production cost estimated at 10 million dollars, Wonderful Days is the most expensive animation film ever made in Korea, and has been the focus of intense pre-release media hype as well as debates among animation fans. Director Moon S. Kim (Kim Mun-saeng), a veteran of the CF industry and responsible for more than 200 TV commercials, some of which for Hong Kong-based advertisement agencies, has spent close to seven years in conceiving and producing this futuristic extravaganza.
Wonderful Days is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the film has the kind of dark, shaded beauty that I feel is truly unique in the history of Korean cinema, animated or otherwise, if its designs are somewhat derivative (They seem to be influenced more by American science fiction, including Star Wars, Tron and Altered States, than by Japanese animation as such). As befitting a dystopian setting, the landscape is constantly drenched in rain, and colors are more often than not different shades of brown and blue-gray, but they are never dull or lifeless: authentic lyricism runs through the whole movie, that unifies its tone into a type of romantic melancholia, mourning the loss of warm, forgiving colors, of white flowers and green grass.
The complicated visual elements, a mixture of 2D cell animation, 3D computer graphics and the old-fashioned "special effects" utilizing complex miniatures, is impressive in its attention to detail and its ability to covey fast action with complete legibility. When a gust of wind begins to turn turbo-electric windmills long fallen to disuse, one not only sees the CGI "ripple" that moves the air forward (familiar from movies like Matrix) but also details of the debris that float into the air, painstakingly drawn. The majestic blue sky and moving clouds, close-ups of raindrops drumming on the windowsill, and other breathtaking shots of "nature" seamlessly flow in and out of CGI animation and "real" cinematography.
Wonderful Days is not a soulless, corporate-planned entertainment-machine that most Hollywood summer blockbusters have become (It probably has too much soul for its own good, actually). It remains to be seen whether Wonderful Days will turn out to be a hit: a lot is riding on the shoulders of Director Kim and his team since its quick death in the box office will surely doom any large-scale Korean animation project for the foreseeable future. It most likely will not have a wide crossover appeal that simultaneously reaches out to the seekers of "family entertainment," the diehard animation buffs and the connoisseurs of the strange and unique, the way, for instance, a Miyazaki Hayao film could. Still, taken as a departure point for the Korean animation industry, where God knows so many talented people have struggled, for several decades now, to break through the barriers erected by the superior and better-financed Japanese and American animation, Wonderful Days does present a harbinger for the creatively exciting future.
|Audio Format:||DD 5.1 Surround, DTS|
|Video Format:||Widescreen 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)|
|Special Features:||- Interactive Menu
- Scene Selections
- Music Video
- Theatrical Trailer
- Beautiful Story (Making Documentary)
- Director's Note
|Availability:||Usually ships in 5-10 days|