Review of 'Big Fish & Begonia (Dayu haitang)'

big_fish_begonia.jpg Hum, so what was this about? Let me see…Ah, yes, I remember (having just read up on the IMDB summary): In a magical realm Chun (voiced by Guanlin Ji), now of age at 16, is sent in the form of a dauphin to the human world where she is warned to keep clear of humans. Returning to the portal that will return her to her world she is trapped in a net but is freed by human boy but in the process the boy drowns. Touched by the boy's sacrifice Chun has his soul returned to her in the form of a fish which she raises with love and compassion for the day it can be returned to the human world as a human boy.

Sure, “Big Fish & Begonia” looks quite good but it's story is overly simplistic with characters that fail to engage, hence my having to read the summary despite having only just seen the film…instantly forgettable. Chun just seems as a petulant child with all of the depth of a sheet of paper. There is no explanation of much of what is happening which can be a good thing but here it just means the viewer accepts without any sense of wonder anything that happens – It is all just much of a muchness.

Having watched a short documentary on the making of the film it is all a bit sad that this is how the film has turned out despite the obvious passion of the filmmakers. It just seems it could have been so much more had they concentrated a bit more on drawing the viewer into the world and character…perhaps a bit more depth to the story would be good too, but with this film we are left with an extended version of an animation short (which, ironically, is where the original idea was expressed). As it is, it is a bit, well, boring and overly sentimental. No, I didn't like it…

Rating: “Not great, but not the worse”

Review Date: 2019-12-14

Directed by: Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun

Studio: B&T

Year: 2016

Length: 100 minutes

Genre: Animation