“The Little Penguin: Pororo’s Racing Adventure” (뽀로로의 슈퍼 썰매 대모험)

Pororo DVD

By Jae-Ha Kim
jaehakim.com
January 30, 2014

2.5 stars

Pororo (voiced by Zahn Jia)
Mango (voiced by Jon Heder)

That’s my little guy, Kyle, holding an advance copy of “The Little Penguin: Pororo’s Racing Adventure,” which will be in stores on Feb. 4.

Yup. That’s one of the perks of having me for a mom. 😀

So, what the heck is a Pororo, you ask? If you can’t tell by the cover, it’s an adorable little animated penguin. In South Korea, where the “Pororo The Little Penguin” series made its debut in 2003, it’s the show for the preschool/kindergarten set. While it airs in more than 80 countries around the world (including Brazil, Australia, France, India and the United Kingdom), the show never made a concerted effort to break the U.S. market.

Until now, that is. The scrappy little penguin is getting the movie star treatment, with a 103-minute DVD release in the United States, featuring the vocal talents of Drake Bell, Rob Schneider and Jon Heder. The plot is classic Pororo, where the characters pull together, without stooping to cheating or betraying each other’s trust.

I like that about Pororo. Unlike some kids’ series that seem to have no moral compass (cough, SpongeBob, cough), the plucky little penguin and his friends place value on doing the right thing.

s3

In “Pororo’s Racing Adventure,” Pororo and his pals enter a big-time sled race. Their fellow competitors include the ruthless Brown Bears. As much as Team Pororo wants to win, when they see an adversary in trouble, they display sportsmanship worthy of an Olympian. The plot reinforces what a lot of parents drill into their kids’ heads every day: that winning doesn’t always have to be the end result of competition and teamwork.

That said, no one will be surprised by the film’s ending. 😉

The production values are high in the film, and there are some cute sight gags for those familiar with Korean pop culture. For instance, there is a girl group called the Wonder Hippos, no doubt an homage to the pop band the Wonder Girls.

Pororo still

I will admit that while watching the film, I was (at first) thrown a bit by hearing Pororo and his buddies speaking English, instead of Korean. But, like the Korean series, the movie is super cute. (FYI: The DVD includes both the English and Korean language version of the film, as well as subtitles in Spanish and English. It would’ve been a nice touch to have made Korean subtitles available on the English language track.)

For my family, this movie is a reminder of the days when my kindergartener was a baby. These days, Kyle would rather watch “Star Wars” or the aforementioned “SpongeBob SquarePants” than “Calliou” or “Max and Ruby.” But when he was still months away from walking, he was all about that little penguin. He ate off a Pororo plate, drank from a Pororo cup and used his Pororo training chopsticks:

Pororo-Edison chopsticks

He also has a Pororo laptop toy computer that his halmoni bought for him when he was a year old. It’s supposed to help him learn Korean. I say supposed to because I don’t really know how the heck it operates. But he seems to like it just fine and still uses it:

Pororo laptop

Spoilers:

There are none.

Release dates: The film was released theatrically on January 24, 2013 in Korea (and on June 9 in the U.S.). The DVD release is on February 4, 2014.

Running time: 79 minutes.

© 2014 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved

Comments (2)

  1. Kim Jaehwa says:

    Pororo! Such a cute cartoon!

  2. Kathy Hewett Tsudama says:

    I got my tiny niece to watch Pororo on Youtube, she was two when we watched it and loved it. My eldest grew up on annoying Barney (had the stuffed purple “dinosaur” and loved him!) I was all about PBS children’s programming when my girls were little. smile emoticon

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