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Leafie, A Hen into the Wild is one of the most touching animated films I have ever seen that involves animals. It is based off a popular children's book by Hwang Sun-mi.
It has the feel of a Western animated feature but the undeniable grief and hardship often exhibited in Eastern drama films.
The concept is fairly simple. Leafie is a hen who is confined to an egg farm and dreams of simply going outside to the yard. By playing dead, Leafie is taken out of the farm and dumped in a landfill where the farmer puts all his dead hens. Thankfully she lives and discovers the beauty of the wild. In the wild she meets lots of new characters but especially grows fond of a handsome mallard whom she calls Wanderer. Chaos ensues and Leafie is left to take over the egg that Wanderer and his beloved left behind. The movie primarily focuses on Leafie and her new duck son, Greenie.
As silly as that all sounds, the movie is done exceptionally well. It's seriously unbelievable how a story with such childish-sounding characters can be so touching and heartfelt.
The art is top notch, very close to the quality you would have seen from Disney animated features. The backgrounds are all hand drawn and very beautifully done. It gives the movie a kind of children's story book feel which fits the movie perfectly since it's based off a book. The only issue I have with the animation is that some frames look like they were done in Flash. Flash animations always have this type of motion animation that looks too smooth to be traditional hand-drawn animation. However, this minor flaw does not tarnish the otherwise incredibly beautiful artwork. The 3D blends incredibly well with the hand-drawn art and it some cases you may not be able to tell them apart. It's just really that well done.
One thing I really liked about this movie is how each major character has depth. The main antagonist, the One-Eyed Weasel, is seriously a great character. She starts off as that typical bad guy character but as the movie progresses we see her character become humanized and empathetic.
Despite how much I love this movie, it does have its flaws. As expected from an animated feature, there are some parts that are well--childish. At one point in the movie there is a competition. The scene is described like an Olympics sports event which is kind of amusing but doesn't make a whole lot of sense. They're in THE WILD. Animals DO NOT HAVE MICROPHONES. Seriously, the side characters narrating the scene had no equipment of any sort (except for some kind of log...microphone) so I have no idea how they'd be able to narrate a fast-flying competition unless they were following the competitors (and they weren't).
And of course there is the character design of Wanderer which is so hilariously bishonen that many people who watched this movie couldn't help but laugh. I have to admit, it made ME want to watch the movie because it's just so hilarious to see a BISHONEN DUCK. Aside from Wanderer, there are other characters with distinct features that you seriously wouldn't find on any wild animal. To be honest it reminds me of what Don Bluth does with his animal characters. This isn't a huge flaw but it could make the story hard to take seriously for some people.
Like any Western animated feature that this film clearly takes a lot of inspiration from, there are parts where it focuses on side characters doing silly things. This isn't necessarily a flaw but there are some parts that are so childishly dumb that adults might feel it to be off-putting. One example of this is when Leafie finds Mr. Otter literally taking a dump and then falling off a rock. No idea what was up with that scene and I felt it to be pretty unnecessary among other unnecessarily disgusting "funny" moments.
Overall though, Leafie, A Hen into the Wild, is an absolutely gorgeous movie and I can only hope this gets an official English release at some point. read more