Friday, April 22, 2016
TIFF Kids Film Review - LITTLE DOOR GODS
The 2016 TIFF KIDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL APRIL 8-24 at Bell Lightbox.
LITTLE DOOR GODS - Screens Saturday April 23, 2016 at 5:00 PM. Ages 10-13
Second Screening Sunday April 24, 2016 at 3:30 PM
Modern times have brought unbalance to both the Human and Spirit world. Humans are consumed with technology and either don't pay attention or have no time for Godly spirits. The gods see that they are becoming irrelevant sparking a summit to decide how they are going to adapt. Caught up in this debate are two door gods Yu Lei and Shen Tu whose image humans used to put up in doorways to keep out evil spirits. Brothers with the former being the fitter of the pair they are put on probation at the meeting and forced to be present at home each night for a midnight roll call under the command of the shady Night Spirit.
In the human world young Raindrop and her mother move to a small Chinese town to take over the family wonton soup shop featuring a 100 year old family recipe and the only door gods poster in town. With the move to a new town Raindrop has difficulty making friends while the shop's soup recipe is increasingly seen as bland leading to less customer traffic. On top of these issues the owner of the neighbouring modern eatery and his henchmen are constantly trying to sabotage the family wonton shop.
Light Chaser Studio and director Gary Wang bring to the screen a visually stunning a rich production with a story that children can learn from and love featuring not to subtle pokes at modern Chinese society that older viewers will resonate with older viewers. The spirit world dwellers (workers) are in an economic crisis due to a lack of interest and belief in them from the human world (government). They face possible reassignment, firing or retraining then are summoned to a group think pep session at the Palace of Heaven where they are invited to embrace change and the future while being judged how enthusiastically they do the newly branded deity dance (irrelevant statistics).
Yu Lei short sighted solution to the crisis is to release an evil beast know as the Nian a former serious threat to both the Spiritual and Human world that he feels will make the gods useful to the human world once again. Yu Lei jumps to the human world to seek the Nian followed by his brother Shen Tu. Both come into contact with Raindrop and are surprised to find that the Universe does not fall apart when deities interact and speak to humans.
Little Door Gods is a feast for the senses. The production demonstrates particular precision depicting objects in many scenes that either fall to the ground or rise to the sky in sharp clarity and bold hues. The story delivers strong messages on friendship, loyalty, pitfalls of perceived stereotypes, benefits of working together, and the dangers and real consequences of acting rashly. It's a film that will play well to an audience of young and old alike.
*** 1/2 Out of 4.
Little Door Gods | Gary Wang | China | 2016 | 103 Minutes.
Tags: Animated, Fable, Spirits, Re Education, Summit, Family Restaurant, Secret Recipe, Gods, Humans.