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EventsFeature Film

Sunday in LA: “Wonderful Days” at USC with Peter Chung

Eight years ago, I wrote about a remarkable-looking Korean animated feature I’d seen that, to this day, hasn’t been officially released in the US: Wonderful Days (aka Sky Blue). The film is an visually dazzling, action packed sci-fi thriller, beautifully realized by its director Kim Moon Saeng.

Next Sunday, Nov. 4th at USC, director Kim, animator Peter Chung and animator/director/historian Tom Sito will screen the film at the Ray Stark Theatre on campus and then discuss its production, the Korean animation industry and independent feature production on a panel immediately following. The screening starts at 2pm, the Q&A at 4pm, with a reception at 5:30pm. This event is free and open to all. For more information, click here.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Still haven’t seen this one myself, but from what I’ve heard about it over the years, it seems to have had it’s share of criticism from the anime community that wanted to like it. I suppose we can see it was an early start in getting any attention to Korea’s domestic animation productions.

  • Seth

    I received this on imported blu ray for Christmas two years back. While not a great film, the art direction and genuine feel make it a must see for any animation fan.

  • I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this, several years ago before Blockbuster went into bankruptcy. I rented it from a brick and mortar franchise location. In the end the wind turbines start turning again, right?

  • Vic

    This got a British DVD release & I own it,you can get it over here for £5!!It’s wonderful,highly recommend.

  • I have seen it. Exquisite visuals, but a plot reminiscent of Lang’s “Metropolis” back in 1927, with the industrialists’ improbable rationale of, “Let’s kill all the striking workers to get them back into production!”

  • This movie looks absolutely fantastic, but is fairly terrible in the plot department. I am surprised it never got released here, though – back in 2003, I got a screener for it and everything.

    Korean animation is getting better all the time. I’m hoping we hear release news of LEAFIE: A HEN INTO THE WILD soon!

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Thank you Mr. Toole for popping over!

  • FayeFaye

    Think I’ve seen this years ago…looked amazing but I don’t remember the story at all.

  • As a fan of Korean animation I have to say, it really isn’t wonderful, and is unrepresentative of that industry today. It combines all the most predictable, generic aspects of 90s scifi anime with all the over-egged awkward character animation of something like a Bakshi or Bluth. Really the worst select aspects of two disciplines. They are way way past this now. Peter should have shown Aachi and Ssipak.

  • Johnno

    Neat film, but don’t expect any grand story from it. It’s fairly simple and straightforward. Neat idea to mix physical mini modeled sets with animation.

    The soundtrack for the film is however the most wonderful thing about Wonderful Days. If this film is ever released here, I hope it comes bundled with the CD soundtrack in a collector’s edition. I would buy it immediately!

  • Kev

    WOW!! I remember seeing this trailer in college, and being blown away by the visuals. I was wondering where it went. And like a lot of overseas animation, it never gets a US release. To see it out there again is cool, but I still won’t be able to go to the event.

  • When we did the world premiere of this film in 2003 (in DCP no less – boy, that was an adventure all on its own!) the film was quite well received. I believe the version we showed was quite a bit longer than what was released as Sky Blue. There’s a director’s cut release that was much closer.

    Some of the depth in the background work (for example, the references to Gaia Theory and the like) are rather subtle, as compared to celebrated works like Evangelion, let’s say. The criticisms of how unremarkable the characters and the character development were, are quite defensible. What the film did represent was a bold attempt to reach for the top, to produce something incredible and home-grown instead of simply subcontracting for the anime industry. The camera and model work was superb, and the workflow was quite remarkable. The music was haunting, and integrated well. The film had quite a lot of soul in it, and anime-like to bug anime purists, and to get a whole bunch of anime fans to think about what anime vs. animation really means. Aachi & Ssipak, Mari Iyagi, Leafie, King of Pigs… all of those films are distinct and fantastic Korean films. Wonderful Days belongs in that conversation.