Sunday, August 4, 2013

Movie Review: Yobi: The Five Tailed Fox

If the main character's name wasn't a tip-off then I shall mention that this isn't an anime but rather a Korean movie, apparently foxes are tricksters in every culture where, well, foxes naturally live. I vaguely remember hearing about the movie and then hearing lack-luster reviews of it a short time later but when I learned recently that it was streaming on Netflix I decided to give it a shot anyway.

Yobi: The Five Tailed Fox

Summary: Yobi is a fox who lives with a group of aliens who crash landed on Earth 100 years ago (they haven't had much success repairing their spaceship) and becomes curious about the students at a local school when one of the aliens gets accidentally made into a pet by some of them and ends up trying to emulate them and be human herself.

The Good: There were a couple of cool ideas in the film, such as the afterlife scenes, and I'm not sure if these ideas came from Korean mythology/legends or if they were entirely the work of this film but things such as that and the shadow were rather neat. I suppose kids might like this movie, it was certainly random enough at times to be unintentionally funny, but if you're above the age of 12 then your chances of liking this film are strongly diminished. 

The Bad: Looking back on the story, I have no idea why there even were aliens in this story at all. They don't add anything to it emotion wise, plot wise (or even plot-device wise), or comedy-wise for me and that's more than a little problem. The subplot with the hunter also came out of nowhere, while it was hinted at that someone was hunting down the foxes the first scene with him in it was just so left field that I wondered if I had missed an earlier scene that set it up, it felt like poor structuring to me. I also had some problems with the ending, not because it's open-ended and vague, that I would have been fine with, but because it seems to contradict itself with it's final sequence of events. Overall however I just found this story a bit dull, it's about Yobi and she does change some, although for her changing means "falling in love/seeing why she would want to become human" which isn't very deep or really interesting character development, and none of the side characters do which makes all of their involvement in the story, not just the aliens, feel a bit pointless and flat in the end.

The Production Values: At times the art and animation looked okay and at other times it went careening down into uncanny valley (the specific moment I'm thinking of is one of the kids doing a comedy routine he really likes which involves a lot of movement and the CGI just makes it creepy). On a slightly weird note I thought that Yobi had a bandage on her noise whenever she was human because of some weird shading, although her overall design was rather cute. 

In the end I'm going to give this movie 2.5 out of 5 stars (good lord I feel like I've given a lot of those lately) since it looks odd at times (in a way that's not stylistic but rather "we didn't have the budget/skill to make the CGI look better"), the plot was a bit rambly and had a lot of unnecessary parts to it. Don't think I'll ever rewatch it, don't really recommend but if you really like weird CGI I can try and find that comedy routine again because that was truly bizarre.