Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Magic Pudding

Lowdown: It’s tough to fend off jealousy for endless pudding.
The Magic Pudding is an innocent Australian animation production from 2000 of a kids’ story that seems to be on air each year around Christmas time.
As the film starts, we are introduced to a ship in arctic trouble and its crew of three: a human, a penguin, and a dog. As their ship sinks they become stranded on the ice and with the hunger the dog sets his eye on the penguin. The hints for the dog’s vicious nature become widely exposed when the trio stumbles upon a magic pudding called Albert (John Cleese), a dish that provides endless serves of whatever its owner wants to eat. The person and the penguin are happy with their unexpected salvation, but the dog wants the pudding to himself. A fight ensues and the good guys win.
Back on dry land in Australia the two good survivors establish a society made of them two to protect the pudding from pudding thieves who want their magical asset. It’s a hard job looking after the pudding because on its own it is quite mischievous: it turns out this pudding's naughty behavior is responsible for many a key moment in history, including Napoleon’s affairs and the sinking of the Titanic. The duo becomes a trio when a young koala searching for his parents, the film’s lead role, is added to the society and all three help one another. And yes, as can be expected, it is that evil dog from pudding history that is responsible for the missing koala’s parents…
Overall, The Magic Pudding is a nice kids’ story, but one cannot avoid feeling that it could have been much nicer. It fails to really ignite the imagination and relies too much on its celebrity voices (Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving and Geoffrey Rush) as well as the very frequent use of Aussie lingo to keep its fire lit. On the bad side of things there are the occasional singing outbursts and the plot feeling too patched up and too predictable.
Most familiar scene: The evil dog taking control of the pudding only to lose it to his over-conquering jealousy for power (oops, a spoiler) looks way too similar to the evil Vizier Jafar from Disney’s Aladdin.
Overall: Kids could love it but that’s all there is to this pudding. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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