Potter has long dreamed of becoming a great potter. But while his friends are all successful with their craft in their own way, nothing will work for him. His fate seems to be turned one day when he accidentally falls into the hands of a magical flint that the queen lost years ago and has been eagerly looking for ever since. For good reason: if you own these stones, you can use them to produce gold and preserve your youth and beauty! However, they also lend to being greedy, inconsiderate and brutal. In fact, the potter changes over time, from a friendly, helpful boy to a selfish despot. And only Ginger, his childhood friend, can help him now …
In 2020, the program of the online version of the traditional Annecy Animation Festival attracted attention because it contained a lot of unusual titles, from curious to completely bizarre. As a viewer, you didn’t have to do without more conventional films. One of those traditional films: Ginger’s Tale . Like other animation works from Russia – see, for example, The Snow Queen – they were based here on classic fairy tales. The director and co-author Konstantin Shchekin does not use a specific, well-known template. But the feeling remains that you’ve somehow seen the film before. Or several times.
It starts with the images that are reminiscent of Disney cartoons of yore, although of course they do not reach their level. The Evil Queen, for example, is a mix of Cruella from 101 Dalmatians and Yzma from A Kingdom for a Lama . There are also typical elements such as a headstrong animal sidekick – here a cat with weight problems. In the meantime you can even sing. However, one has the feeling that it was more about compulsory exercises, less about real heartfelt work: Shchekin and his team did not make too much effort to incorporate these elements harmoniously.
The moral of the story was nothing more than standard anyway. As important as it is of course to remind people that wealth is not everything in life, it is not very exciting. Especially since the film, probably out of consideration for the young target group, who needs clear announcements, does without any gray areas. The queen is portrayed as evil from the start, the gold that Potter has won doesn’t even make it seem like it’s good for anything. In this way, no one should be tempted to perhaps flirt with the coins and the possibilities they offer.
What Ginger’s Tale works out beautifully, however, is the increasing corruption of Potter. While he is portrayed as a friendly and helpful boy early on, under the influence of gold and thus power, he transforms into a less pleasant person. The film clearly condemns this change and the behavior, if only through Ginger’s reaction, but also shows that this is not only due to a bad character. Rather, Potter succumbs to the temptation to take a simple path to happiness, to finally be admired by others, instead of being the only one who doesn’t want to succeed.
There are also other positive elements. For example, with all her cruelty, the queen is also funny, especially when interacting with her assistant, who is constantly developing the strangest devices. Since the overall look is also nice to look at, Ginger’s Tale is still enough for the solid midfield. The film could only have been significantly better with more detailed work on the script, which too often doesn’t bother to work out individual points – which is also noticeable negatively in the strangely hasty end. It’s also a shame that the film is dedicated to the protagonist, who fights for her boyfriend to the end, but otherwise gives her little real personality.