"My Life as McDull" follows the life of a piglet who lives with his mom in a crowded city.

This little piggy is 'McNificent'

Must-see anime film serves up
a whimsical coming-of-age story

HIFF Golden Maile nominees

'My Life as McDull'
Part of the Planet Anime series at the Hawaii International Film Festival
Playing at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Dole Cannery 9

Wilma Jandoc

With some films, you can tell right from the beginning what it will be like.

Take the opening line of "My Life As McDull," an animated film from Hong Kong: "When Mrs. McBing was in labor, a pan flew through the sky."

And right on cue, a pink, plastic washtub glides through the air and swoops into Mrs. McBing's hospital room like a UFO.

This movie does exactly what its name says: It follows the life of McDull, a piglet who lives with his mom in a very dirty, very crowded city. In this grimy world, he takes joy in simple pleasures and struggles through childhood disappointments.


McDull -- his mom wanted to name him "McNificent" but decided to be more humble, so she went with "McDull" -- is a little lacking in brains, but he has a child's honest optimism and faith that make him one of the most charming characters ever in a cartoon.

"McDull" brings together disparate elements and blends them well. Its mix of computer graphics, traditional animation and live-action sequences, with a cornucopia of human and animal characters, all work without being jarring.

Narrated by a grown-up McDull, the film starts as a telling of a child's innocent hopes and dreams and becomes an adult's musings on who he is and what he wants from life. It touches on the universal values of respect, determination and perseverance.

We watch as McDull does his best to live up to his mom's ambitions, but coming up short nearly every time. Despite this, he plows on with no dampening of enthusiasm and augmented by a bit of understanding about the world.


But far from any deep philosophical message, "McDull's" true appeal is its humor, evidenced by the opening scenes. This reviewer was literally laughing until she cried for a good part of the movie as the piglet's fancies are translated by a child's overactive imagination.

For instance, when McDull is sick and needs a shot, he fearfully envisions a monstrous patchwork machine with a gigantic needle on the end, chasing and jabbing at him until he runs through a door and falls a long, long way down into a pool of pink goop -- his cold medicine.

Although animation has been shown to be much more than a kid's thing thanks to Japanese anime, "McDull" is a welcome return to the pure fun from which cartoons were born. If you've been looking for good family entertainment, this movie is a must-see.


Hawai'i International Film Festival

When: Through Sunday on Oahu
Schedules: Pick up copies at Dole Signature Theatres and at Starbucks and Blockbuster locations;
Theaters: Signature Dole Cannery, the Doris Duke at the Academy, Consolidated's Waikiki Twins 2 theater and Blaisdell Center
Tickets: Per film, $7 general; $6 (children, military, students and 62 and older); $1 discount for matinees
Call: 528-4433

Neighbor islands

When: Friday through Nov. 10
Locations: Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center (808-823-8444); Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theatre, Maui Community College Ka Lama No. 103 and Ritz-Carlton Kapalua (808-573-4242); Kaunakakai School on Molokai (808-553-3455); and University of Hawaii at Hilo Campus Center, Palace Theatre and Keauhou Cinema on the Big Island (808-969-9412 in East Hawaii and 808-322-2323 in West Hawaii)

HIFF Web site
HIFF screening schedule

Do It Electric
Click for online
calendars and events.

E-mail to Features Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Calendars]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --