If I tell you – without spoiling anything, as it is the main trait of the piglike character involved in the scene – that the demise of one of the villains in the new animated family feature Bling is set in motion by the aforementioned character emitting wind from his nether regions, I think you will get the tone this film is aiming for. Mildly diverting and occasionally amusing though it is, this South Korean cartoon from production companies Digiart Productions and Digital Idea (no, I haven’t heard of them either), directed by Kyung Ho Lee and Wonjae Lee and featuring the voice talents of Taylor Kitsch, Carla Gugino and Tom Green, is no Disney masterpiece.
Sam (Kitsch) is desperate to win the hand of Sue, the only girl he has ever loved. So he sets out with his group of robot friends to buy the biggest, blingest engagement ring he can find, in order that he can propose to her on Valentine’s Day. The course of true love however seldom runs smoothly, and Sam has to overcome a series of perilous predicaments as well as some of the world’s most dastardly villains, before he and Sue can finally find their happy ending.
Children might laugh at this film – but lets be honest, most kids below the age of say six or seven will laugh at anything which includes talking animals, silly robots and farting pigs, all of which play their part in the action here. Adults on the other hand will most likely find Bling’s attempts at witty humour, deep messages and nostalgic nods to other classic animation painful in their lack of subtlety: if I tell you that there are a group of midget men in masks who run around en masse omitting strange noises and gibberish talk, it won’t take Einstein to work out where that idea came from. The only attempt by the filmmakers to hide their inspiration is to make their tiny people white instead of yellow.
The only vaguely interesting character in the whole escapade is the villain’s sidekick robot called Victor, who’s similarities with the creation of the mad Dr Frankenstein are again so unsubtle they’re embarrassing. The hero and heroine of the part, Sam and Sue, are so wimpy and irritating respectively that the viewer ends up rooting for bad boy Victor, which is never a good thing for a kid’s film. Add to this Sam’s friends – a group of robot ‘superheroes’ clearly modelled on characters from the 1970’s Japanese television series Monkey including the farting pig mentioned earlier – and the whole thing is really rather sad, and only worth watching if you have nothing better to do.
With so many children and family friendly animated films produced on a regular basis, the studios behind them have to work hard to achieve a level of skill and content that can compete with that of the great studios like Disney or Studio Ghibli. Something which Bling sadly dosn’t.
Bling is available to watch for free, exclusively on Google Play from March 3rd.
Directors: Kyung Ho Lee and Wonjae Lee
Writers: Chris Denk, Hyunjoong Kim and Kyung Ho Lee
Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Carla Gugino and Tom Green
Runtime: 82 mins
Country: South Korea