|A girl loves her milk cow. Only in Korea!|
Dir. Chang Hyung-yun
Starring: Jung Yu-mi, Yoo Ah-in
Review By Greg Klymkiw
I detest most contemporary American animated features. They're annoyingly all the same twaddle, with identical/interchangeable characters, similar thematic elements, way too many dumb, ephemeral AMERICAN pop-culture references and -ugh!- lessons learned. I wonder if any American animated features and the pathetic, desperate, moronic children, plus their idiot parents would ever, respectively, showcase and accept, a love story between a girl and a cow? Not just any girl, mind you, and not just any cow.
Writer-director Chang Hyung-yun takes a well-worn Asian tale (completely mismatched lovers against a fantastical backdrop) and, unlike most American animators with their own stock ideas, shakes it completely upside down and creates a movie that's as original in Asian culture as it will most certainly be to any viewers in the Occident. The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow is a thorough delight and comes across as a Korean answer to crossing Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) with Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles). If you don't believe me, get this:
A forlorn Korean satellite is about to be replaced with new-fangled machinery and faces an eternity of sad, lonely obsolescence until "she" hears a lovely, heart-rending tune from Earth. This transforms her into a teenage girl robot called Il-Ho. Powered with jets in her feet (not unlike Astro Boy's), she travels to our green planet in search of the melody's source. The music, comes from Kyung-chun, a hapless, struggling composer and musician whose longtime girlfriend has dumped him.
His broken heart transforms him into a milk cow and his life is in danger from two horrible foes. First off, there's a nasty teleporting slime bag with a magical bathroom plunger that removes organs from the bodies of brokenhearted humans turned into animals that he sells to a black market dealer. Secondly, and perhaps even scarier, is a horrifying monster called the Incinerator who trolls the streets of Seoul looking for broken-hearted humans transformed into animals so it can plunge them into his fiery, gluttonous mouth, devouring them in flames.
Thankfully, our Milk Cow is befriended by a roll of toilet paper who is, in actuality, the haplessly-transformed Merlin the Wizard and, of course, the kind, friendly and lovely Il-Ho, the satellite who just wants to be a real girl and most of all, to love and be loved by Kyung-chun who could be transformed from his milk cow state if he could just fall in love with her.
Now how's that for a great story? It's certainly the sort of thing we don't get to see in our soul-bereft North American multiplexes. It's a gem of a movie, however, and I urge all parents and kids to seek it out. They won't quite know what hit them, but when it does, they'll know they want it a lot more than Madagascar 3. That's a guarantee.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: **** Four Stars
The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow enjoyed its international premiere at the 2014 edition of the magnificent FantAsia International Film Festival in Montreal. In the meantime, feel free to order any of the following animated titles directly from the Amazon links below and in so doing, supporting the ongoing maintenance of The Film Corner.