12 February 2024

Sweet and Sour

If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, then nothing will.  Sometimes life can be hard and our canine hero of Sweet and Sour is not having a good time of it.  All of that is about to change though when he stumbles across the gateway to Chinatown and the culinary delights it contains. As he passes by the restaurants he can hardly contain himself.

It isn’t long before he has tasted all the delights for himself and has fully immersed himself in the almost orgasmic aspects of Chinese cuisine.  He even buys the t-shirt.  Yet when he discovers an awful truth (much like Charlton Heston in Soylent Green) the dream quickly sours.

With his gruesome discovery, his heaven turns in to his own doggy hell.  Can he find salvation?  Only time will tell.

The film was conceived by Eddie White, such a fan of Chinese Culture that he (with a tongue firmly in cheek we suspect) named his animation studio the People’s Republic of Animation.  The idea quickly took root but White discovered he needed some help.  Enter the Shanghai Animation Studio.

Renowned the world over for their exquisite hand-drawn work, they created the amazing effects work you see in the movie.  Sweet and Sour has the claim, then, of being the very first Chinese-Australian animated co-production.

The Australian team took care of the 3D animation with the Shanghai studio contributing the hand-drawn traditional work.  The combination of the old and new is brought together with stunning effect.  The oldest Australian who worked on the project was, at the time, 26 years old: on the other hand, the youngest Chinese animator was 39.

The success of the collaboration is self evident in the astonishingly beautifully animated final project with the two styles seamless.  The Chinatown itself has something of a retro feel, being reminiscent of the Hollywood films of the thirties.   The character of the dog is familiar without being a repetition of all the Disney pooches we have seen in the past.

Since its premier in 2007 (in Hong Kong) the film has been given approval for mainland Chinese screenings and has been featured in more than a dozen animated film festivals worldwide.