Mr. Go 3D ("Miseuteo Ko", "Da ming xing")
WINNER: Best Visual Effects, Asian Film Awards 2013
After her debt-riddled grandfather perishes in the Great Sichuan Earthquake, teenager Weiwei (Xu Jiao) in left with the responsibility of managing their family circus while confronting menacing loan sharks. The one thing Weiwei has going for her is Ling Ling, a mighty gorilla with a knack for handling a baseball bat. So skilled is Ling Ling, in fact, that Weiwei sees a way out of her predicament. Oily, ethically challenged Korean baseball scout Sung has plans to bring Ling Ling, renamed “Mr. Go”, on board to boost the fortunes of the Korean baseball team the Doosan Bears. Mr. Go proves to be a hit with the curious public — especially when he proves to be a heavy hitter of home runs! But it’s not a home run for Weiwei, who must contend with the dubious Sung and the dirty politics of professional sports, with the dirty deeds of the loan sharks and the difficult emotions of her primate pal…
Filmmaker Kim Yong-hwa (TAKE OFF, 200 POUNDS BEAUTY) takes a swing at a truly ambitious project, and puts it out of the park with his adaptation of a 1980s comic by Korea’s Heo Young-man (TAZZA, LE GRAND CHEF)! A major effort in CG animation, the multilingual movie MR. GO used a theme universally loved in Asia, baseball, to target not just a local Korean market but in fact a continent-wide audience. The gamble paid off when MR. GO opened to unprecedented box office for a Korean film in China! Sure, the lure of the ballgame laid the foundations for MR. GO’s pan-Asian appeal (special bonus: watch for Japan’s Joe Odagiri, all but unrecognizable in thick glasses an awkward bowlcut!). But it transcends its sports-buff appeal with truly exceptional CG work, loading the bases for some genuinely stadium-scale thrills — and infusing Ling Ling with remarkable depth and expressiveness, to match the bold and layered performances by the movie’s “human” leads (notably young award-winner Xu Jiao of CJ7 and STARRY STARRY NIGHT fame). By turns a zany, even slapstick comedy, an effective moral fable, a touching interpersonal (and interspecies) drama, and an exciting sports story with bursts of spectacular action, MR. GO keeps its eye on the ball — and its heart in the right place.
— Rupert Bottenberg