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[HanCinema's Film Review] "Pororo, Cyberspace Adventure"

2016/04/02 | 877 views | Permalink

Retro video games are so chic these days it was perhaps inevitable that Pororo, the lovable penguin mascot of Korean kids' television, would devote a whole movie to the topic of entering the video game world. In that regard "Pororo, Cyberspace Adventure" is probably exactly what you're expecting. Pororo and friends go to the computer kingdom, and save the virtual princess in the virtual world. There's just one problem. The characters in the virtual world aren't really virtual. They're full on characters, even though they are but the arbitrary creation of Eddie designed to amuse his friends.

Yes, it would seem "Pororo, Cyberspace Adventure" has accidentally managed to hit upon a profound ethical dilemma. Is it right for a person (or fox, whatever) to create life solely that it may exist in a maelstrom of suffering caused by the elusive boss character? What kind of responsibility does any creator hold, when their creations are forced into lives of strife and misery simply for the amusement of a penguin and a baby dinosaur?

I am perhaps treating the plot of "Pororo, Cyberspace Adventure" with a tad too much seriousness, given that the villain is a giant spider in a video game where farts are considered a valid weapon. Although really, the mechanics of the game design in "Pororo, Cyberspace Adventure" are pretty iffy overall. On screen the game appears to be a traditional two-dimensional platformer, yet internally, the mechanics are exceptionally complicated.

Consider, for example, how it's possible for Poby to lose his hat. In most games costume designs are inexorably linked to characters and can't be removed. For Eddie to design a game where it's possible for Harry to lose his hat would make him a genius programmer. Yet so many design elements are so faulty- like what's the deal with the stars? Do they represent hit points? If so, why don't we ever see them go away when characters are hit?

...All right yes I am putting entirely too much thought into the worldbuilding construction of this children's cartoon. But in my defense, "Pororo, Cyberspace Adventure" is aggressively generic in a way that's difficult to criticize. Video game rescue the princess plots are about as bare-boned as you can get. Pororo's general tension with the video game's actual hero is also similarly shallow. They don't get along, learn about friendship, all that stuff.

In contrast to "Pororo, The Snow Fairy Village Adventure, the pacing in "Pororo, Cyberspace Adventure" is fairly slow. When "Pororo, The Racing Adventure" is the measuring stick, "Pororo, Cyberspace Adventure" also loses out in terms of visuals. Wacky races trump generic video games easily when it comes to gag design, and "Pororo, The Racing Adventure" also had the advantage of subplots that, while not especially deep, did at least result in character development. Of course, if your chief interest in watching this movie is just to find a way to keep the kids quiet for an hour, well, Pororo does have that effect, whatever the format.

Review by William Schwartz

"Pororo, Cyberspace Adventure" is directed by Park Yeong-gyoon and voiced by Lee Sun, Lee Mi-ja, Ham Soo-jeong, Hong So-yeong, Jeong Mi-sook and Kim Seo-young.

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