Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to a special screening of a foreign animated film called Mune: Guardian of the Moon. This film was made back in 2014 but is just now getting its US release by GKIDS. Unfortunately, they only put it in theaters for one day but it is a film that is worth checking out on DVD/Blu-ray when you get a chance.
Mune: Guardian of the Moon is a fantasy film that revolves around nature. There is a light and dark side of the world that controls the Sun and Moon, respectively. Both cosmic entities have guardians who watch over them and a temple that helps move them into place. At the beginning of the film, two new guardians are selected: the arrogant Sohone is chosen as Guardian of the Sun and a young elf-like creature named Mune is picked for the Moon (a little on the nose with the name there).
Mune doesn’t want to guard the Moon but is chosen anyway. Another character named Leeyoon becomes very jealous and steals the sun. There is also a villain named Necross who wants take away all the light from the Earth. Meanwhile, a girl named Glim, who is made of wax, joins Mune and Sohone to find the sun.
As you can tell, there’s a lot going on here and it does get confusing at times. The character motivations, aside from pure villainy or heroism can also be a little fuzzy but I find that often to be the case with fantasy books and movies. We know enough to see who the good and bad guys are, and we follow them on their journey. It worked for me.
The animation in Mune: Guardian of the Moon is absolutely stunning. I loved the bright, almost neon colors of the cgi portions and equally loved the simpler 2D animation that was done during dream sequences.
The music by Bruno Coulais is really strong and, at 86 minutes, the film doesn’t outstay its welcome, unlike many fantasy films that tend to drag on longer than they need too. Even though the characters are fairly generic, I thought they had heart and I enjoyed watching them. I mostly just loved being in this world and exploring something completely new!
Next time I see it I hope to view the subtitled original film because the new American dubbing sounds too American. The voices sounded too modern and hip for a fantasy story like this. It needs voices with gravitas and heft to them. I was particularly confused about Glim’s character. It was hard to decipher sometimes what her powers were and what her role in the story was.
Other than those gripes, I really enjoyed Mune: Guardian of the Moon. It’s beautifully animated with great music, world-building, lore, and a sweet message of having confidence in yourself. I think kids will find plenty to like and adults will enjoy the artistry and scope of it. I guess you could say it has something for everyone!
Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden