Woo La La (released in Japan as Amai x Kireina) is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated romantic fantasy comedy-drama film produced by Gingo Animation for Universal Pictures. Directed by Michael Wildshill from a screenplay by Karey Kirkpatrick and Billy Frolick, the film features the voices of Josh Hutcherson, Debra Messing, George Takei, Ian McShane, Ken Jeong, Brad Garrett, Gong Li, and Hiroyuki Sanada. The film follows a young couple named Amai Yamada and Kireina Miyazaki, who try to get away from legendary creatures created by a greedy couple-hating businessman named Warui Kobayashi.
Originally developed under the title Nippon, Woo La La was the first Gingo film to be presented in 3D. The film was first released in North America on March 13, 2009 by Universal Pictures. It received critical acclaim and earned $532 million worldwide on a budget of $164 million. A television series of the same name aired on Cartoon Network from October 2011 until April 2013.
- Josh Hutcherson as Amai Yamada, a shy but kind and pampered young man living in an apartment in Tokyo. He was an orphan after the death of his parents. His favorite food is sushi. His name "Amai" (甘い) literally means "sweet".
- Jonathan Wildshill as Amai as a child. The voice actor is the director's son.
- Debra Messing as Kireina Miyazaki, an innocent, kind, trustworthy, overprotective and pretty woman who helps Amai as her boyfriend. Her name "Kireina" (綺麗な) literally means "beautiful".
- George Takei as Warui Kobayashi, a haughty, ruthless and greedy businessman who dislikes couples, especially Amai and Kireina. He brings legendary creatures to life to track down Amai and Kireina. His name "Warui" (悪い) literally means "bad".
- Ian McShane as Chani, an oni-like creature who is the leader of a team of hench-onis. He is one of Warui's henchmen.
- Ken Jeong as Mio, one of Warui's henchmen. Being the Warui's henchman is Mio's first job, despite him being only a teenager.
- Brad Garrett as Sumo Gumo, a Sumo wrestler who is one of Warui's henchmen and he is Mio's partner.
- Gong Li as Ying Yamada, the adoptive mother of Amai. She takes care of him.
- Hiroyuki Sanada as Kabuto, Amai's best friend. He is often loud.
- Gedde Watanabe as a sushi chef.
- Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Cho.
- Dee Bradley Baker provided vocal effects for Amai's pet Japanese raccoon dog Mr. Fazu.
The idea for a film about a boy and a girl falling in love in Tokyo was proposed by Michael Wildshill during the production of Gingo's 2004 film Computeropolis. At the time, Gingo encouraged everyone at the company to come up with ideas for more computer-animated features. Wildshill, Gingo CEO Geo G., and Karey Kirkpatrick developed Wildshill's concept into a story before pitching it to Gingo. Geo G. described the pitch as "Ico in modern times". Gingo officially announced the film, under the working title of Nippon, on August 1, 2003. Billy Frolick was contracted to write the script for the film with Kirkpatrick. In May 2005, Gingo announced that the film was expected to see a 2008 release.
In September 2006, Universal Pictures scheduled the film, now titled Woo La La, for a March 13, 2009 release. According to Wildshill, the new title was a pun on "ooh la la", which means an exclamation of surprise, and "woo", which means to try to gain the love of a woman. Wildshill commented, "I tried to make the film's name less fun. The title would make sense since this movie is about two Japanese people falling in love." The Japanese release of the film was titled Amai x Kireina.
- Main article: Woo La La/Soundtrack
The score for Woo La La was composed by Hans Zimmer. The soundtrack was released on March 10, 2009 by Varèse Sarabande. Originally, Wildshill wanted Michael Giacchino to compose the music, but he was too busy composing for other feature-length projects, such as Star Trek, Up, and Land of the Lost (all three of which were released in 2009).
The film was accompanied by a Gingo animated short film The Sounds of the Ocean.
The film's teaser trailer was released on July 2, 2008, and was shown before Swapped.
Home media Edit
Woo La La was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 1, 2009, by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
Critical response Edit
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 98% approval rating with an average rating of 8/10, based on 183 reviews, making it the highest-rated film to date produced by Gingo Animation. The site's consensus states: "Dazzling, wondrous and spectacular, Woo La La offers a clever plot and a total delight to the Gingo anthology." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 89 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences gave the film an "A+" CinemaScore.
Box office Edit
Reception in Japan Edit
- Main article: Woo La La (TV series)
To see the main transcript of the film, click here.
To see the transcript for the trailers of the film, click here.