Stick to the original

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am

This movie proves that moving popular cartoons to the big screen doesn't always work.

The Japanese cartoon Atashin' Chi became popular when it was first shown on TV in Hong Kong. It not only attracted children, but also captured the heart of adult viewers.

Fans will be pleased to know that the movie is voiced by the original dubbing artists from the TV version. But this may be the only aspect that meets their expectations.

Compared to the TV series, the movie is overly long and dull. The jokes aren't strong enough to support the 95-minute-long movie.

The film uses an old-school idea of characters exchanging bodies to teach lessons. Mrs Fa switches bodies with her daughter. As they learn about each other's lives, they also learn about consideration for each other. As the family works together to restore normality, they learn the value of co-operation and the importance of family.

The plot is predictable, even for a children's movie, and the self-righteous tone greatly reduces the entertainment value.

Even the animation doesn't measure up to that of the TV series. Mrs Fa's fish-like face is interesting on TV, but on the big screen, the close-up of her face is more frightening than amusing.

Atashin' Chi The Movie is a family movie with important moral messages, but true fans would be advised to stay away.