Monday, August 10, 2009

The McDull Craze

McDull Wudang (麦兜响当当) is the fourth installment in a series of animated films starring McDull, the unsophisticated but lovable piglet with the birthmark on his right eye. The film, also known as McDull: Kung Fu Kindergarten, posted strong box office figures in its opening weeks on the Chinese mainland. According to CRI English, it drew in box office earnings of 63 million yuan (about US$9 million) on the mainland in its first two weeks. According to the film's distributor, the film has a good chance of ending up China's highest-grossing domestic cartoon. Meanwhile, the people of Hong Kong will have to wait until August 13 for the film's release.

The new movie is, for the first time, a joint mainland-Hong Kong production. And possibly reflecting the mainland's involvement, this time McDull ventures outside Hong Kong to travel to Wudang Mountain on the mainland and learn tai chi at a Kung Fu Kindergarten (shades of Kung Fu Panda).

McDull started out as a comic book character back in 1988, created by the Hong Kong husband and wife team of Brian Tse and Alice Mak. In 2001 McDull became a movie star, in My Life as McDull, followed by McDull, Prince de la Bun (2004), and McDull, The Alumni (2006). A five-part series of educational TV shows featuring McDull was produced in 2006. As is the way of all successful cartoon characters, expect a flood of toys, books, DVDs and other merchandise to follow in the latest film's successful wake.

It's not difficult to see the appeal of McDuff . He represents a Hong Kong Everyman, not always successful in achieving his dreams but never conceding defeat or giving up hope. And despite his simple-minded nature he has a winning innocence and heart of gold. Another factor in McDull's popularity is the distinctive Hong Kong humour, sometimes surreal, sometimes crude (one featured character, a man made out of dung, was called Excreman), and lots of clever puns and word play. Judging by the film's success over the border, it seems mainlanders can relate to McDuff too.

1 comment:

  1. I'm in Los Angeles, and this is a good synopsis to familiarize me with what is hot in Hong Kong. Thanks!



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