One of Hans Christian Andersen's best known stories, 'The Ugly Duckling' is a beautiful story that touches me every time, plus it is one that is relateable to me. It lends itself well to animation, actually think it works much better as animation than non-animated. It also works beautifully as a seven minute cartoon, when a few details are left out but the spirit still remains, and as a just under twenty minute short film with enough material to sustain it. As great as the story is, it is too slight for feature length.
This is all evident in Soyuzmultfilm's version. As far as adaptations of the story go, the 1939 Disney cartoon, an extremely poignant one but never came over as too cloying, will always be the closest to my heart. But Soyuzmultfilm's version is very close behind, yet another Soyuzmultfilm animation that should be better known worldwide and not restricted to near-obscurity. It really is a work of art, which is as affecting and enchanting as one can forget, it is much more than an animated television short film.
It is beautifully animated for one. It is never too elaborate, where there would have been a danger of swamping the story and its emotion, and neither is it simplistic to the extent that it looks cheap. A lot of time and effort went into 'The Ugly Duckling', especially in the attention to detail in the backgrounds and the use of colour, vibrant but never garish and in the more emotional moments more muted and darker. The music fits beautifully as well, nothing as catchy as the whimsical main theme of the Disney animation but the haunting and melancholic quality of it fitted perfectly with the story's emotion.
Of which it is filled to the brim with. It did bring tears to my eyes because it resonated with me and one hates seeing somebody alone in an unfamiliar place, have been there and it is not a nice feeling. The story and titular character are so easy to relate to, being someone myself who was, and occasionally still am, ostracised and bullied for being different. It was very upsetting for me but felt embarrassment in saying so out loud.
Altogether, beautiful and very touching. 10/10
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