The Legend of Milu Deer: Princess Yoyo

Legend of Milu Deer

One of my favorite sources for learning about obscure foreign animated features is TwitchFilm.net. Certain films though are perhaps best left undiscovered. Case in point: the forthcoming CG effort called The Legend of Milu Deer: Princess Yoyo directed by Guo Weijiao. The film is largely a response to DreamWorks’s Kung Fu Panda. The success of a Chinese-themed story produced by an American company miffed a lot of Chinese citizens and has inspired them to make more (if not better) use of their cultural symbols and traditions.

The film is being produced by the Zhonke Weiwo Digital Technology Co. in collaboration with the Scientific Art Center of the Institute of Automation in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. According to the film’s official website, they are employing “special effects such as 3D deformation, hair, fabric, particles, groups animation, motion capture, and network rendering, which reaches the [most] advanced level in the world.” Apparently, the world they are referring to is the one of 1990.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television is planning to offer this movie as a “present” to the people of China for this year’s 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. If this is a present, I’d hate to think how they punish people in that part of the world.

The trailer:


  • http://animationinventory.blogspot.com/ Teodor Ajduk

    they can’t refuse the gift

    or in my place says:
    Do not look in the teeth of gift
    or
    Do not look in the teeth of donated horse…something like that

  • maxeythecat

    Hoo boy, talk about painful…just goes to show that some people should never be allowed to use a computer.

  • http://www.thepra.com.au Eddie

    I think the main problem with animation in China is that because of the ancient Chinese stories that seem to be their only basis for storylines. They seem to limit their stories to this but end up coming up with some uninteresting stories with characters that have no depth at all. There are so many talented animators and artists in China who are being wasted on bad films. In time it should change. Cultural Revolutions tend to stunt such growth.

  • http://animationapocalypse.blogspot.com/ Baron Lego

    I couldn’t really tell what the story was supposed to be about. A princess? No, wait- a talking deer! Er… that monster? I know- the guy we see on horseback for one scene!

    Hopefully the 3D deformation, hair, fabric, particles, groups animation, motion capture, and network rendering will save it! Or not.

  • Mantichore

    In the words of the trailer itself… what’s happening? After watching it, I’ve just no idea…

  • http://rockitpack.blogspot.com :: smo ::

    Coming soon on Sega CD…

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    “THE END”! I love it! What say you, Elliot, potentially superior to Delgo???

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    WAT.

    It looks like an obvious hybrid of Princess Mononoke, Bambi, and Open Season…all as in-game cutscenes for an RPG.

    Some of the shots in the first half of the trailer looked like they made awesome layouts though, I must admit. Or better as illustrations.

  • AlphaTom

    Wow, a whole movie made up of video game cut scenes.

  • Ryan

    Well, it’s certainly epic-looking…
    Maybe if there was less talking animals, more live action/WETA Workshop involved – but at the moment it looks like one of those between-gameplay movies that the PlayStation used to over-use so much.

  • Spike

    Instead of making everything in CG because “Pixar did that and they got rich because of it”, studios with a small budget should use something cheaper like Flash and actually animate the damn thing.

  • Ben

    Well…this would look ok for a videogame…maybe. But cutting edge…I think not! But, at least it lit a fire under China, and maybe this will get them to start innovating….hopefully??

  • Chiskop

    “The film is largely a response to DreamWorks’s Kung Fu Panda.”

    Yeah, right. Amid. It takes years to make an animated movie. Are you telling us they did this movie in less than a year? As a response to kung fu panda? As a response, are you saying they saw kung fu panda and said hey, lets respond back and do our own kick ass movie? Well if it we’re a response to kungfu panda i figure it would be released in late 2010, they’d still be animating.

    I figure both movies were produced around the same time. this is not a response to anything. its just its a standalone movie. even though i know people will throw in the predictable joke that The Legend of Milu looks like it was made in less than a year. boring.

    Amid. Tone down on the sarcism bro: its becoming boring and just plain bad. i don’t look forward to reading biased stuff:

    “If this is a present, I’d hate to think how they punish people in that part of the world.”

  • Steve Gattuso

    Looks like a game trailer for a Final Fantasy knock-off.

  • http://home.earthlink.net/~superwombat/ Bimmi

    Not only does it look like a videogame, but most (if not all) of the sound effects in this piece were lifted straight from World of Warcraft and other Blizzard games.

    I can’t even snark on this. It’s just kind of pitiful.

  • http://ryanmcculloch.com Ryan McCulloch

    I’ve never thought of ending a trailer with “The End,” Brilliant!!

  • Unca Jeffy

    Chiskop: It takes years to make a quality animated movie. A crappy one can be done in months.

    As for Amid’s bias, that is the purpose of a blog, to read a persons opinion. If you want unbiased reporting, go to a newsservice. Though that will be biased as well. It’s impossible for a human to write or do anything wthout some type of bent to it.

  • Bernhard C. Moffitt

    Steve Gattuso is right. In fact, this would have fit perfectly well back in the late ’90s in a PlayStation 1 role-playing or action adventure game. Now though? No game company that was worth its salt would use something like this.

  • Alex

    I love the “THE END” at the end of the trailer.

    I really hope they at least touch up the animation because it’s mostly just keyframes with no splining done. Not to mention the keyframes could use work themselves.

    People’s republic of China. Free Tibet!

  • Corey

    If I didn’t know any better I would think this was a cutscene from a video game.

    I think it could work, the animation just has no weight or good timing.

  • Alex

    Why do people keep saying it looks like a video game cutscene? That’s borderline (if not outright) offensive to anyone who works in that industry. Maybe a cutscene from 8 or more years ago. These days, most games with at least a decent budget have animation far superior to this (unless you’re talking about Wii shovelware).

  • ghoest

    woooOOOooowww
    those 3d deformations are amazing!! â—•__ â—•

  • jip

    Seriously? I can’t think of a Chinese animated feature that ISN’T based heavily on Chinese culture.
    There are like 20 movies about that cloud flying monkey alone.

    A lot of times Americans are said to be involved only with their own country.
    But, for example, out of the almost 50 Disney “classics” only Pocahontas and Home on the Range really are about American culture and legends.
    When you look at animated features from countries other than the USA (and perhaps Japan), often they seem to be about legends from the country they’re made in.

    I don’t know if this really is a fact, but it seems to be like this.:)
    Maybe Im wrong…
    Yeah.. I don’t know.. Just a thought:)

    • Nina

      In the Philippines, animators create stories based on myths, legends, and history, but they also create original stories. Here’s a link to the website of the first 3D animated movie in the Philippines:

      http://therpgmovie.com/

  • JJ

    ” Are you telling us they did this movie in less than a year? As a response to kung fu panda?”

    Sure. It looks like it was animated in less than a year, while KFP took at least a year to make.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    Mr T. Rauch – although this looks like a serious contender, it’ll be have to spend some time lingering in the cold dark Delgo shadow before I’m impressed.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    “If this is a present, I’d hate to think how they punish people in that part of the world.”

    Go and google “Tiananmen Square” and you’ll be fully informed.

  • Sean

    As much as Kung Fu Panda sucks, why would making a worse movie be a retaliation?

  • Brannigan’s Law

    Corey, please don’t make me hunt you down and force you to watch cutscenes from today’s games. ::smo:: was more accurate in it being from a video game for a system that came out in 91. That royal turd has nothing to do with today’s games. It’s more on par with first year student work.

  • Brannigan’s Law

    maybe something got lost in the translation and it’s pandas that are actually making it?

  • Xavier

    The Henson Company will sign these people before the end of today.

  • Mandy

    Did anyone else notice the the stampede scene was taken directly from The Lion King?

  • http://www.mynameispj.com PJ

    I loved how they blatantly lifted Finding Nemo’s soundtrack at the beginning. I had to check my iTunes because I thought I had the soundtrack going.

    So I guess the only way to one-up movies like Bambi, Princess Mononoke, The Lion King, Open Season, Kung Fu Panda and motherfucking Braveheart is to mash them all together into a single film. And then release an utterly bewildering and disorienting trailer.

    I’m so confused right now

  • Chiskop

    dudes, fine the movie looks bad but geez, all i am saying is its easy to sit back in front of your pc and talk crap. its easy to be a critic. Where is amid’s animated movie? where is all your work? is it good?

    i don’t want to sound like i worked on “milu” but geez, give ‘em some credit, a pat on the back. This blog post was scathing. this post coupled with the post of “The Director of Hoodwinked Speaks”. flames.

    christ i am not showing my work here anytime soon.

  • Corey

    I never said it could be a cutscene from a GOOD game…

    Anyways, it’s really easy to sit here and poke fun, isn’t it?

  • Graham

    Did anyone notice they swiped the music from Finding Nemo at the beginning?

  • Brannigan’s Law

    …and how! *nods head in Little Rascals fashion*
    I don’t know that there’s be this much negative crit if it wasn’t presented as a retaliation. That’s just asking for abuse… that said Chiskop is right too. I know if my personal project wasn’t up to my hi-standards, or presentable ones for that matter, I wouldn’t be sharing it until I felt it ready. If this is the first cg project to come from China then they are to be commended on their efforts, but unless they have never seen quality animation before, I wouldn’t be proud enough to claim that a gift either. This all boils down to quality and standards, that’s what makes good art. Not retaliation or spite. If they had better standards they would have been ashamed to put this out as is. I’m strictly talking about the animation here and nothing else.

  • http://spitandspite.com SpitAndSpite

    OMG. Yeah, with total valley girl accent and all.

    Grow up! If you don’t want people to talk shit about your product, don’t make a product, and honestly, being on cartoon brew is more exposure than that pile of steaming shit will ever get so relax on the motherly love. Ha! you people are so thin skinned.

    Amid, bro, keep doing what your doing, if i want nerdy, bordering on sad, news and fun facts regarding insanely specific references in 60 yr old cartoons, i look at Jerrys post, when i want acidic, ruthless but surprisingly honest sarcastic opinions, i read your post. Do what u guys do.

    don’t start washing it down, if people want washed down crap, they can read online reviews from the content providers themselves and feel as happy and uninformed as they want. keep up the post u 2 :-)

  • En Ming Hee

    Actually, if any of you guys can understand Chinese, there is a Chinese animated series that is far better animated and drawn than this, and should really be MORE appropriate as China’s answer to Kung Fu Panda. For one thing, it’s got actual kung fu.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Red Cat and Blue Rabbit’s Seven Knights.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owzNJnxlC5A

  • http://karnabal.blogspot.com/ Dennis S.

    Remember the Opening of the Beijing Olympics? If China can do that then I have no doubt that they can create truly beautiful animated films once they get the RIGHT people leading the projects (maybe Zhang Yimou or Ang Lee? or even the 90+ year old Tyrus Wong of Disney Fame). I see The Legend of Milu Deer as one of the steps in the journey of a thousand miles. Everyone’s got to start somewhere.

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com Zekey

    Oh I remember this. I had this for my PS2 and later they ported it to the Gamecube. It was kinda fun for an rpg.

  • Sammy

    At about 1:20, there’s a lady whispering sound that says:” What’s happening here?” Sort of precisely what I thought……

  • Ting

    Actually, I think China ‘used’ to have potential in creating animation.. I am not sure whatever happened to their talents there. I used to love this one so much as a kid but they just never make anymore animation as good as this. If only they translated this in English, I’m sure more people would be able to enjoy it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrTpuciUM6k

    I sometimes wonder if Samurai Jack is inspired from this too! But I could be wrong.

  • TheGunheart

    I gotta say, for what’s obviously a horribly low-budget film, the animation isn’t quite ”that” bad. It’s horribly dated, but for I assume is a first effort from an inexperienced company, it could be worse.

    Frankly, it always bothered me how everyone on this site jumps on foreign animated films.

    BTW, En Ming He, that really isn’t half-bad for a TV series.

  • Nittles

    it’s horrible. it’s fun to rip it. if you don’t want to be criticized, don’t make art. especially don’t make art and say that it is cutting edge and pushing boundries.

    i’ve made plenty of pieces that people hate. it happens. if you are going to put something creative in the world, it will get ripped by someone. That’s how you improve, and how we have fun.

  • Spike

    It’s not as if poorly animated American films don’t get jumped on here…

  • Nick

    Open Season, meets anime, meets 300 all in World of Warcraft. I also love how the preview ends with The End. Oh how I wish it were.

  • TheGunheart

    I guess to me, after subjecting myself to a few seconds of the likes of the Freaky Flickers (or whatever it was called) trailer, some choice clips of Dingo Pictures material, and the infamous Ratatooing (sp?), this honestly doesn’t look that bad. Woefully inept and definitely not something I’d want to watch, but not ”that” bad.

    And damn, that Red Cat and Blue Rabbit’s Seven Knights toon is ”brutal”. Sure, it’s not as outright gory as Happy Tree Friends, but the amount of abuse that pink squirrel takes in the episode I’m watching is just unreal: kidnapped while she’s sleeping and carried like a ragdoll, thrown around, beaten up, tied to a waterwheel, kicked in the throat, mind controlled into leveling a forest with a sword, and then tossed around some more.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Wish I knew what was going on in this trailer too, not even a bit of narrative in order to give us an idea of what this is about (let alone why “The End” rather than “Coming Soon”).

    Eddie’s right as well. I personally wish they could get out of the folktale biz and try to bring more contemporary, modern issues in to their work. The only reason why most Chinese want to watch foreign cartoons is for the same reason why the Chinese studios need to realize some may want to have something a little more than the same legend told an umpteenth time. I’d rather see a cartoon contrasting on the lives of the city folk in the eastern provinces versus the quite, rural surroundings of the western provinces myself. Perhaps even a story taking place outside China if they could handle telling stories of other cultures. Yes, they have their history and legacy, but please stop shoving it down your peoples’ throats now and then.

  • http://www.partsunknown.net Chris Ferguson

    Maybe that was the whole movie.