Tale of Mari and Three Puppies tells a story of the miraculous
survival of a mother dog and her puppies for 16 days in an evacuated
village. Mari is a Shiba Inu puppy taken in by a family that
lives in a rural town in Yamakoshi (now called Nagaoka). Later
Mari has grown into an adult and has three puppies of her own.
However times of happiness does not last, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake
brought catastrophic destruction.
The Japanese sure has a penchant for things kawaii
(as in cute). Soft toys, cartoon characters, girly accessories
and puppies. Yes you heard that right, puppies. To prove this
point, there is "Quill", "Helen the baby fox"
(okay I cheat a little, not a dog here but a cute baby fox)
and "10 promises to my dog" which is still currently
in its theatrical run as this review is being churned out.
And here we are, “A tale of Mari and three puppies”
which is a straight to video release.
on the true story of Mari, "A tale of Mari and three
puppies" is about a dog who manages to rescue her old-age
owner during a severe earthquake which struck Nagaoka in 2004.
However one must note that creative license has been applied
on the movie version by the filmmakers. Instead of having
the protagonist as an old grandfather, the fictional character
of a young girl named Aya and her brother has been added to
the context thus making the movie more accessible to audience.
Similar to the grand old 1963 Disney’s classic, "The
Incredible Journey", Mari and her puppies are not voiced
by celebrity actors, their acting are purely guided by trainers
which really helps in conveying their natural actions. Unfortunately,
Mari and her puppies are not given enough screentime despite
the running time clocking in at 2 hours. Dog lovers might
feel shortchange by this point but trust me, there are enough
emotional moments to tug your heart strings. There is a lot
of emphasis on the relationships between the father and his
young children, the human characters so to speak. The widower
has a tough time dealing with his children when the rescue
team has to abandon Mari and her puppies in a heart-wrenching
moment in the movie. Mari on the other hand who has become
sort of a surrogate mother to the young Aya is shown roughing
it out scavenging for food for her puppies while waiting for
the return of her owner.
The high production values which took me aback includes some
convincing CG, miniature shots, breath-taking cinematography
and a haunting score by renowned composer Joe Hisaishi, "A
tale of Mari and three puppies" is an ageless inspiring
tale of courage and bravery. Mari definitely makes a great
educational movie for the entire family.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
The visual transfer is passable here and it comes with only
the original Japanese track and English subtitles.
by Linus Tee