Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Candy Candy Movie

Genre: Shoujo / Drama
General Audience
1992 Yumiko Igarashi, Kyoko Mizuki

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Skysenshi's Description:
Candice White, an orphaned 12-year old, has always lived her life in happiness at Pony Canyon. Deep inside, however, Candy -- as she is fondly called by the sisters -- has always wondered why she has reached her age with still nobody wanting to adopt her. One day, Sister Pony brings her good news: the wealthy Ragan family is taking her in. While hoping for the best -- in no way did Candy imagine that the family wouldn't actually be adopting her -- she ends up being hired as a maid to accompany the friendless girl Elisa. Alas, snotty Eliza and her equally stuck-up brother Neil make life miserable for Candy. Everyday they would play pranks that would get Candy in trouble, and while Candy could fight back, she always ends up being punished by the brats' mother.

It is during one of these cruel days that Candy meets her "Prince Charming". She would later find out that her prince's name is Anthony and that he'd have cousins who would adore and protect her. Elisa and Neil's heartless pranks continue hound her. Nevertheless, with Anthony around, the burden just becomes easier to bear.

Not as I remember it... >>> by skysenshi
As a classics lover, I nearly flipped when I found out that my fiancé got hold of this Candy Candy movie. I was a child when the series was being aired in a local TV station and I remember being quite disappointed when they pulled it off the air just when things were getting interesting. For nearly two decades after, I was stuck wondering when I'd actually be able finish Candy's much-loved tale.

This Candy Candy movie, however, seemed so much different from how I remember what I saw as a child. Firstly, the opening and ending songs may in essence still be the same, but they have been rearranged to suit modernization. Secondly -- and this might just be a minor nitpick -- Annie, Candy's best friend in Pony Canyon, suddenly has blond hair. I remember it being black. Thirdly, the movie only showed Candy's earlier happy moments, snippets of her childhood as she first comes in contact with the men who would make such significant roles in her future. Some may disagree that her life with Neil and Elisa is far from being a bed of roses, but you'd have to take my word for it when I say Candy's ordeal has just actually started.

I was actually taken aback when the movie showed that Candy met Anthony first. Gone is the mysterious bagpipe playing "savior" who uncannily resembles Anthony. So for Albert or Terrence fans out there, I would have to warn you that this feature is strictly about Candy and Anthony and their seemingly happy ending. With this little tidbit out of the way, allow me to concentrate more on the movie as a standalone.

As I have earlier stated, the entire film is focused on tidbits from Candy's earlier life, pieced together seamlessly so that it would become coherent despite the lack of substantial background information that the series provided. Watching it now in the eyes of a 25-year old (as of this writing), I am in shock as I realize that Candy Candy is very much fairy tale shoujo (well, Candy's facial expressions make me think of Sailor Moon's goody-goody countenance). You have your two-dimensional wicked tormentors that love creating hell on earth and you also have your prince charming that takes you off your feet as he sits you atop his great white horse. I fondly looked up to Anthony as "my prince" when I was a little girl. Imagine my amazement when it just dawned on me that he has absolutely no personality whatsoever! Of course, he is handsome, kind, nice and err...handsome. That's his role -- to provide viewers with girlish fantasies. Talk about destroying a grand illusion that you've been harboring for decades, ne? Good gawd! Now I see that his cousins are so much more fun, entertaining and talented, though they never really get the girl they wanted in the end.

In fairness, I think this presentation is perfect for children. I would not have loved the series back then were I always this jaded. Children can appreciate two-dimensional characters; when bad guys are just bad and needn't come up with ulterior motives. The prince must always look good, smell good and have a good disposition. It doesn't matter that he is without a past. Our little ones must be allowed to have nice dreams: to be loved, to make friends. To be resilient in the midst of the most oppressive environment. To learn that if they really want something so desperately, they will have to work for it. Everything ideal is already here, in this movie. Predictability notwithstanding.

My memory of the artwork is quite hazy, but the general look of this movie doesn't veer too far from its 1970s counterpart. That's a lovely thing, in my opinion. Though it looks primitive, what with digital animation being the norm now, it still doesn't lose the overall flowery atmosphere.

SPOILER TV SERIES/MANGA NOTES: Well...Anthony dies in a hunting accident and Candy, after a string of broken relationships, ends up with the mysterious Anthony-looking guy with the bagpipe. Too bad our local TV station took Candy Candy off their program list right after Anthony's death. (Some conservative politicians must've thought that such a depressing scenario was detrimental to kids' mental health and so they probably did for Candy what President Marcos had done for Voltes V.) Sorry!

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 9; Characters 7; Sounds 9

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