If you remember on my The Iron Giant Review, I mentioned that this animated movie, The King And I, became the downfall of Warner Bros. Animation Studios and boy does it show. The King And I is one of the most respected musicals ever created and it was one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's best works. For those who don't know, The King And I is based on a true story about an English governess named Anna Leonowens, who comes to the kingdom of Siam to become a schoolteacher for the children of a very ignorant king in 1862 and she brings a very different way of thinking to the King of Siam and his children. That's the whole plot in general but it has a deep message about having a change of heart and it gave us memorable songs. The animated adaptation was in development for 5 years because of Warner Bros. executives f*cking up the schedules for all 4 films and when it was released in 1999, it was a flop at the box-office, causing the estates of Rodgers and Hammerstein to forbid any of their musicals to be turned into animated feature films FOREVER. So, does this mean that this movie was a flop at the box-office but in reality, it could be a good film and an overlooked gem?
HA HA HA!! No.
This movie has got to be the worst thing ever created by man itself. It's insulting, stupid, offensive and a drag to sit through. The characters are under-developed, the villain is beyond unnecessary, the story is rushed with zero depth put into the script and one of the worst slapstick humor that will make Tom and Jerry The Movie look better than this film itself.
The story in this adaptation it's just like the original story that I just told you but with this particular movie, they took too much liberty to it's source material and added a bunch of unnecessary stuff into the story like the villains named Kralahome, the king's "brother" who hires the governess in order to convince her that the king is barbaric and to remove him from his throne, so that he becomes king and we have Master Little, who's a fat guy who always get sad cause everytime he gets hit with something, he loses a tooth. BTW, this is his only "funny gag" and it's not even funny, it's goddam tiresome and did I mention that Kralahome is a rip-off of Scar from The Lion King? We also have a slave girl named Tuptim (Who in the hell would name their kid Tuptim?!?), who has a crush on the Prince but can't confess her love because prince and slave girl are forbidden to love each other. Why? We don't know and never delves deep on why this love is even forbidden, so really who gives a sh*t. To make matters worst, let's add some cutesy animals because every animated movie that tried to compete with Disney needs cutesy animals and a new character named Louis, Anna's son and probably the dumbest little brat in animated film history, as he almost gets himself killed and he is so annoying that not even the asian boy from Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom can top him. Also the movie makes no sense on both logic and reason. For example:
The movie starts with the gorgeous music of Richard Rodgers but later on, we cut to Anna and her son on the sea by boat and Kralahome is watching them with some kind of mirror (probably he stole it from the queen of Snow White) and uses his mind powers (don't ask, they never explain his power in the film and he never uses it to his advantage) to summon a giant chinese dragon to destroy the boat and then 7 minutes into the film, they defeat the dragon by singing and dancing about how whistling a happy tune will not make you afraid of anything and when Kralahome arrives to pick up Anna after her encounter with the dragon, Kralahome replies to Anna:
"I trust the seas were calm"
Anna later replies: "Perfectly. Thank you."
So... What? Are we gonna forget the encounter with the dragon? You're not gonna go crazy and scream "HOLY SH*T!! A GIANT F*CKING CHINESE DRAGON ALMOST ATE US AT SEA!". First of all, you don't respond to a person that way when you were almost gonna die and BTW Anna, whistling a tune while you sh*t your panties won't make the emotion of fear go away easily and no way in hell that you will feel better while you whistle a tune during some horrible massacre or terrifying event in our human history. Let's move on to the next big dumb thing in the movie: The characters and the story development.
The characters are just awful. Anna is still the strong female character like in the play but The King was handled very poorly in the film. He's too much of a dick and he doesn't even develop as a better person. All he does is being a jackass to Anna, constantly repeat etcetera when he finishes every sentence that he speaks and for the most part. he never spends time with the kids. Speaking of the kids, they're barely in the movie as they appear in one musical sequence that is ruined by overuse of slapstick humor and just appear on 4 scenes that barely gave them any development or depth into the kids.They could have been used for some relationship moments with Anna and The King but nope, they wasted that opportunity because they had no idea how to develop a character. Even the story feels butchered as the message of the original play is barely mentioned and the damn slapstick humor ruins any emotional moment that the film desperately tries to create. Hell, they ruined a beautiful musical sequence WITH FORCED HUMOR!
With all my negativity with this movie, is there anything good worth mentioning on this horrible movie? Surprisingly yes. I do like the animation in this and while it has some animations errors (especially characters disappearing for no reason on screen), it manages to looks good with some decent background art and gorgeous imagery at times. The music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein are a joy to listen and the film's biggest strength. The music is full of power and awe with excellent written lyrics for the songs that play in the film. I also like the voice-acting despite the characters are hit and miss with actors delivering very good British and Asian accents.
If you're looking for a good adaptation of The King And I, go look for the 1956 version instead as this movie is a complete and utter disappointment for those who wanted to see a grand animated musical of one of the greatest musical of all time. If Warner Bros. actually spent time developing the movie WITHOUT any interruptions, then it would have fare better results. The King And I is one animated movie that I hope no one finds out about it's existence and stays dead for a long time.
For some reason, I'm having this feeling that I seen this kind of movie before and while they're both movies from different materials, they share the same problems. Wait... This means that The King And I is just like....
(Googles the image of The Lorax 2012 movie and compares it to The King And I)
Oh my God. The Lorax (2012) and The King And I (1999) are the same movie. O.O....... So you'll excuse me. I'm gonna go and start running for my dear life before the memory of watching The Lorax (2012) come back to my mind. Good bye!