The nostalgic ‘Dooly’ returns to the theater after 27 years. Directed by Kim Su-jeong and the original work, ‘Dooly the Baby Dinosaur: The Great Adventure of the Ice Star Remastering’ is about to be released in theaters on the 24th. This work is the only Dooly theatrical version released in 1996, and the picture quality and color have been upgraded through digital restoration work. Prior to the release of the film, director Kim met with reporters after the premiere at the CGV Cine Library in Jung-gu, Seoul on the 8th. At the press conference that day, along with interest in recalling memories, there were voices of concern about the stagnant Korean animation industry, like Dooly who had to sleep in a glacier for a long time.
In contrast to the current hit of Japanese animations in theaters, Korean films are not producing significant results, and in particular, theatrical versions of animations are barely surviving.
Director Kim confessed that it is not easy to make an animation in Korea, whether it was when Dooly was released or now. Director Kim said, “As an animation director, cartoonist, and producer, I am sorry and sorry for not being able to continue sharing new works with you. When I see Japanese animations doing so well in theaters in Korea, I feel heartbroken and feel guilty on the other hand,” he said. (I want to make) is like a chimney, but there are things that various situations can’t keep up with, and there are parts that I personally don’t like.” He continued, “When I look back at the scenes of the work that was released in 1996, the memories of running back and forth come to mind as clearly as if it were yesterday.” Many of the staff who participated in the work left this floor, and those who remained can be counted on five fingers,” expressing regret for the Korean animation industry.
It is said that Dooly was a popular character at the time, and even though the film ranked 4th among theatrical films during the same period, it was in the red. Director Kim said that it took only five years to make the film and pay off the debt, and made a confession that did not reveal the current state of the Korean animation industry.
The success of Korean theater animations is not entirely absent. In 2011, ‘The Hen Who Came Out Of The Garden’ set a monumental record of 2.2 million cumulative audiences, in 2012, ‘Spotted: Dinosaur 3D on the Korean Peninsula’ attracted 1 million viewers, and in 2019, ‘Red Shoes’ mobilized 810,000 viewers, raising the possibility. showed In addition, Pororo, SinB Apartment, and Hello Carbot are steadily attracting children’s audiences.
Nevertheless, the perception that Korean animation is inferior to children’s, Japanese or American animation is not small, and it is true to a large extent. Therefore, it is not easy to receive investment except for a few works that are already well known like Pororo and that are guaranteed to secure a stable audience for children or to sell character products.
In the case of 2021, 72 Korean animations were released, including 6 feature films for theaters, of which 55 were 3D animations for infants and children.
In a survey conducted by the Korea Creative Content Agency last year for anime content users between the ages of 3 and 69, 58% of them watched only foreign animations, while 24% watched both domestic and foreign animations. The reasons for not watching domestic animations were ‘because they are less interesting than foreign ones’ at 42.8% and ‘because most of them are for children’, 39.6%.
Amid this influence, as the new coronavirus infection (Corona 19) spread, the total number of audiences at Korean animation theaters in 2020 was only 282,975, and in 2021, that number decreased to 221,834. Last year, the movie version of Pororo was released and the audience increased again, but it is still difficult to find new creative animations.
However, while talking about the barren reality of the Korean theater animation industry, director Kim also revealed his belief in the possibility. Director Kim said, “I think the greatest competitiveness of Korean animation is the infinite imagination and creativity of the writers.” On the other hand, if you look at the story structure of Korean webtoons and web novels, they are very free. If this is transferred to the anime as it is, a very cool work will come out and I think it will become our competitive edge.”
In fact, some domestic webtoons have been animated, and productions of ‘Yumi’s Cells’ and ‘Love Letter’ are in progress as theatrical versions.
Even in difficult conditions, there are creative animations that are released. On the 18th, a little earlier than the opening of the Dooly remastered version, ‘Ghost: Child of the Wind’, a domestic creative animation based on Jeju Island’s folktale, will be released. The project was started in 2017 after being selected for a regionally specialized content support project, and it took longer than expected to produce and release this anime, which succeeded in crowdfunding for figure skating and art books. The story itself, which mixes folk tales and robot fights, past and present, is interesting. However, the directing style and drawing are not enough to be called a theatrical version in 2023, so attention is paid to what kind of performance it will produce.
Senior Reporter Uhm Hyeong-joon [email protected]
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