Seen in Jeonju

One Million B.C., Ttoli (1981)

12th September 2011

ttoli 1 millionTtoli was a character that most Korean children growing up in the late 70s and early 80s would have been familiar with. In  the three 1970s’ films Ddoli was a child who grew up in the wild with his animal friends in the forests of North Korea where he battled against communist plots in no less than three films. However, by the 80s, he was turning up in different time eras such as the Joseon Period in Korean history, the future and one million years in the past in this movie.  Young Ttoli did not begin the film in the past.  He was clearly living in the modern age as his parents are piloting an airplane on the way to visit his grandparents.  They experience a Bermuda Triangle-like situation and are sucked through a vortex to the far past where humans, dinosaurs and pre-human, loincloth-wearing ape-men..oh and advanced aliens, all exist simultaneously. Ttoli’s father survives the crash but is so far from the wreckage of the plane, that he has no idea where his wife and son are. Ttoli’s mother is indeed never seen again, but the infant Ttoli is taken in by a tribe of cavemen. 

The child’s presence causes the already existing friction between the tribe’s chief whose wife want to raise Ttoli and the second strongest hunter who wants to lead the tribe to become worse. When Ttoli kills a baby tyrannosaurus that wandered into his cave, the cavemen all rightly fear reprisal from the adult.  It comes swiftly during the night as the gigantic white dinosaur nicknamed Tyranno attacks the village and kills nearly all the cavepeople including Ttoli’s adopted mother. His father was not present at the time having taken a hunting party out, but when he returns, he takes the surviving cavemen on a mission of revenge from which he does not return.

Orphaned for a second time, Ttoli is taken in by the dimmest of the cavemen who moves away from the village. For several years he raises the child who becomes an adept hunter and inexplicably has bonded with a pterodactyl. He also has made friends with a young cave girl from the village, but when her father recognizes Ttoli, she is ordered to stay away. On that same day, Ttoli is re-introduced to both of his father’s although he does not recognize them at first. His foster father has been wandering around like Captain Ahab hunting the white dinosaur who maimed him. Meanwhile, his real father had been found by a dying race of aliens who bequeathed to him their time-travelling flying saucer which he has been working on while holed up in a cave.

There is a lot more with the ape-men capturing Ttoli’s father and wanting to sacrifice him Fay Wray style to the white dinosaur and an active volcano. However, it has to be kept in mind that this is decidedly a children’s movie. I found it very noisy and the there were plot holes you could drive a flying saucer through.  Just who were those aliens?  They had less than 10 seconds of screen time! Literally, if you blink, you will miss them.  Where did Ptera, Ttoli’s pterodactyl friend, come from and why are they friends at all considering that every other pterodactyl wants to kill the humans? I will not, however, question why the cavemen and the modern humans all spoke the same language… I was grateful not having to sit through another Quest For Fire

I own four or five Ttoli movies on DVD and this is the first one I have watched.  For a Kim Cheong-gi film, the creater of Robot Taekwon V and Ulimae, it was rather poorly animated, but at only 85 minutes, it was tolarable and since Ttoli is a classic character and a major character in Korean animation history, I do not regret watching it and learning more about him. .

Comments are closed.