Toys at The Korea Society, CG movie test footage of Robot Taekwon V to be released in 2009.

Toys at The Korea Society, CG test footage of 'Robot Taekwon V'

Just as The Korea Society opens a new exhibit on 70’s and 80’s toys from Korea with the Taekwondo-style butt-kicking giant robot Taekwon V as its centerpiece today, there’s news that the animated feature film will be made into a live-action/CG film to be released in August, 2009 (Test CG footage looks awesome! read on).

First, straight from The Korea Society’s website:

“Toys – always more meaningful than the simple playthings they appear to be – can embody the fantasies, values, obsessions and anxieties of a generation. Toy Stories: Souvenirs from Korean Childhood includes a veritable toy box of over 90 flamboyantly colored action figures, robots, miniature tanks and paper dolls from 1970’s and 1980’s Korea.”

So the exhibit will have more than just action figures and robots for boys, but also girls’ toys and dolls too. Being that Korea’s growing industrialization made new things possible in the country for the first time during that period, it would be interesting to see just what got kids excited back when there was no Guitar Hero or PlayStation. Here’s some key proceedings tied to the show:

  • The opening reception for the exhibit is today at 5:30 PM
  • Exhibit runs through April 18
  • “Gallery Talk” (lecture): “Our Toys Our Selves: Robot Taekwon V and South Korean Identity” on February 7
  • Film screening of animated feature Robot Taekwon V (2007, Digitally restored from original 1976 prints) on March 18

The film was the first Korean animated feature – ever. While original prints were long thought to have been destroyed by fire, a print was later found in one of KOFIC’s (Korean Film Council) off-site storage warehouses, was digitally restored in a 3-year-long process and re-released in 2007 to theaters across the nation in a very successful run.

Second, the live-action/CG adaptation. With Shin Cine(씬씨네) pouring 20 billion Korean Won (more than $20 million US) into the production, and CG/visuals done by (count ’em!) 5 Korean VFX companies they’re going all-out on this one. Twitch does remind us that releasing in 2009 means it will “go head-to-head with The Transformers 2 in the Korean market.” YTN (Korea’s CNN) cites the movie will be based on the webcomic series “V” but will be a completely separate(different) work, and that the screenplay is in its final drafts. Won Shin-yeon of A Bloody Aria and Seven Days will direct, and in the YTN newscast, Won says

“Though it’s hard to be moved to awe or tears with technology, robots, I want to try doing that with Taekwon V, and I’m confident it will be possible with this.”

V webcomic. The top text reads, I haven't lost yet.

V webcomic. The top text reads, "I haven't lost yet."

In the webcomic, Hoon, who at the time of the original animation in 1976 was a young man, is now a 50-something years-old powerless paper-pusher that joins forces with Robot Taekwon V when it (he?) resurrects to fight off an impending evil. The series was produced by comic artist Jaepigaru and Robot Taekwon V, Inc. (yes, amazingly there’s a whole company just for one animated character).

You can watch test CG-render footage in the video below (or click here if it doesn’t work). Let’s hope its historical significance and national-fanbase backing culminates in something much less cringe-inducing than the cg-craptastic flop that was D-War.

Tags: animation, korea, toys