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Birthday Boy

  Directed by: Sejong Park
Written by: Sejong Park
Genre: Short
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Short Animation 2004 (winner)

This movie gets: 9.00 (2 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 14th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

Birthday Boy is also mentioned in pearly's review of Clara (2005).

"The most famous Korean War story since M*A*S*H?" - a review by timchuma

With the attention this movie has received after its 2005 Academy Award nomination, you probably don't need a recap of the story. I will instead give my reasons why I think it is a great movie.

I have to admit that I do have a problem with computer animation compared to the traditional hand-drawn type. People seem to concentrate on how slick it is, and forget that this comes at the cost of the character of the final product. While I have yet to see a computer animated movie that matches the bursting-at-the-seams style of Max Fleischer (early Superman cartoons), films like this one are going in the right direction to redress that balance.

What struck me about this movie was how solid all the textures on scenery and objects were, as it helped to make a believable environment. Knowing the millions of dollars that companies like Pixar spend on their movies, it is great to see the same techniques used in a smaller production.

I also liked the backgrounds, and noticed a credit for a 'matte painter'. I found that they really added to the movie as they were beautiful and nicely understated at the same time.

Somewhat differently to most CGI movies, the on-screen characters retained a cartoon-like quality which makes for a more enjoyable movie. After all, if you wanted to watch totally realistic actors perform, you would watch a live action movie (Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) was probably the worst offender in this regard; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) is a compromise between the two styles).

The most surprising thing about this movie is that it will give me a reason to watch the Oscars for only the second time ever.

I may be getting my hopes up, but I also hope that it encourages more Australian filmmakers to make a really great short film. Toiling away on a feature production that may not even get distribution or anyone coming to see it is a mug's game.

timchuma gives this movie 10 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 31 Mar 2005

"Touching" - a review by pearly

From what I had heard about Birthday Boy before having seen it, I had an inkling that this might be the Harvie Krumpet (2003) of this year's AFI Awards Best Short Animation category. While it didn't have the immediate impact that I felt Harvie Krumpet did, I did think that Birthday Boy was wonderfully done, and it will be a very strong contender for this year's gong.

It's 1951, and Manuk, a 5 or so year old boy living in a small village in Korea, plays on the streets, imagining what it would be like to be on the front lines of the Korean war, as planes fly overhead, and the sounds of gunfire can be heard in the distance. Manuk has a child's wondrous view of what war is, but he's bound not to have this opinion for long.

At just under ten minutes, Birthday Boy manages to get a lot across in such a short time span. Its pace is rather relaxed, letting the story unfold before your eyes slowly, and giving you the chance to take in the beautiful surrounds of the animation, which offer a picture of the Korean village with quite a high level of complexity, from the top of a hill looking down, to the alleyways where Manuk walks home.

Birthday Boy is a touching story that will take your breath away.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 26 Aug 2004

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 9.00
Lowest rating: 8 (by pearly)
Highest rating: 10 (by timchuma)
Rating Percentage

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Those who have commented give this movie: 2.00 (1 rating)

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