Here’s a movie, animated by Madhouse, but voiced fully in Chinese, about the highlands of Tibet. With this it already gets a plus for its interesting setting. It’s also a coming of age movie about a young boy, which is a bit unfortunate, but this mvie has more than enough to make up for it.
It’s an excellent look on the culture of Tibetan sheep herders and in particular a doctor in those areas (the lead character’s father is a local doctor). On top of that, it also has a number of very interesting action scnees involving dogs. Those things set it apart quite a bit from the mould of coming of age movies. It’s a movie that is grounded in realism, yet also packs some nice climaxes, and in terms of pacing it’s pretty well paced: the quiet scenes build up well for the climaxes and they remain interesting for the entire movie.
There are two main problems with this movie. The first is the very unfortunate name that was chosen for the golden dog that the movie is all about: Doogie. I’m not sure whether this sounds any less cheesy in Chinese or not, but the mood of the climaxes did get broken a bit when the characters kept going “Doogie! Doogie! Doogie!” over and over. My second issue is that a lot of the characters could have been more interesting. The dogs are awesome, but the lead character does little to set himself apart from other young leads. The bad guys of the movie are also pretty bland. Some of the side characters, like the old medicine seller and the male lead’s father were interesting to watch, though, but unfortunately the dull characters outnumber the interesting ones.
Tibetan Dog is a very good movie, especially considering its settings, but the director, Masayuki Kojima did work on more interesting stuff. The characters in Piano no Mori were just better developed, Hanada Shounen Shi was the example of a young boy lead done right, A Spirit of the Sun had better suspense. Oh, and not to mention Master Keaton and Monster, of course.
|Storytelling:||8/10 – Good build-up. Good use of dogs in the movie.|
|Characters:||7/10 – Unfortunately a few too many bland characters at key positions.|
|Production-Values:||8/10 – Well animated, but nothing special for movie standards.|
|Setting:||9/10 – A movie about Tibet. Excellent, and it makes great use of it.|