If you plan on watching heartwarming Christmas movies this holiday season, you may want to consider adding “My Friend Bernard” to your list. It is a Korean 3D animated film released in 2007 in which one of the main characters is from the popular Korean animated TV series, “Bernard“. The movie shares a message of friendship, courage, and hope. Santa sees the pure heart of a boy who wishes for Christmas to come and therefore, he grants him a wish.

My Friend Bernard” begins with a little boy named Sam who dreamed about a polar bear and a penguin in a meadow. He wakes up from the dream to find that it is Christmas Eve. He gets into a series of unfortunate events at home — his pet bird escapes from the cage, and he brings his teddy bear outside with him to chase after his bird. Then, he runs into Santa. A stray dog nearby sees his bear and attacks him to take it away. He loses his bear, but sees it coming to life later at night when he looks out the window and to his surprise, it’s talking to Santa. The next day, his wish is fulfilled when a magical pendant arrives in his room. By spinning the magical pendant, a gigantic mug will appear. It is a special mug that allows one to travel the world when they enter it. A fantastic adventure awaits Sam as he receives the opportunity to explore the globe.

The mug takes them to the North Pole. There, he spots rivals in love, Bernard (the polar bear) and Kkongkkong (the penguin), who both appeared in his dream. He spots them trying to catch a fish for a female penguin, named Dodo, whom they are trying to win over. Dodo likes Kkongkkong who is courteous and polished, but she keeps her admiration to herself. She enjoys being treated as a queen. Bernard is frustrated that Dodo doesn’t return his affection. When he is mad, they have to watch out as he can be a mischievous troublemaker!

The giant mug then takes SamBernardDodo, and Kkongkkong to a tropical desert on the other side of the world. As soon as they land in the desert, they are spotted by Hudadak, an intelligent lizard who always packs handy items in his suitcase. They are relieved to find water in the dry land but behold, a dragon appears. The dragon sees Dodo and takes her to its cave. Throughout the movie, Kkongkkong displays acts of bravery by risking his life numerous times to save Dodo from danger, getting more courageous each time. On the other hand, Hudadak is the first one to run away when they are at risk.

My Friend Bernard” is a heartwarming movie that can make you feel touched and uplifted. The characters don’t talk; the only voice you will hear is the narrator’s, who explains the characters’ feelings and what is going on in the story. I like how the movie gives a message about how compassion for others leads to friendship. Sam is a kind and genuine boy who helps others out whenever they are in danger even though they may have intentionally or unintentionally placed him in peril many times. His empathy, love, and bravery has led to the companionship between himself and the others as well as the others amongst themselves. With him taking the lead in tough situations, they begin to trust one another in order to overcome the challenges hindering them.

This movie was enjoyable with non-stop action. They’re often in jeopardy, attacked by creatures (the dragon) or put in danger by forces beyond their control. You may be disappointed that the characters don’t speak, but their character development can be observed through their actions and expressions. The sound effects evoke a sense of suspense, keeping you on your toes in anticipation of what is going to happen next. The plot is simple and not complicated. Its intended audiences are preschoolers, elementary students, and minors. However, adults can enjoy the movie as well and it’s guaranteed to bring you warmth during the holidays.

If you are looking to watch an animated Christmas movie, this is the one for you. It was featured in a number of international animated movie festivals including Brazil, Germany, and Italy. It is rare for Korea to produce animated movies, and this one took almost 5 years to make. This holiday season, feast your eyes on the brilliant Christmas treat that is “My Friend Bernard“.

Plot: 8.5/10
Cinematography: 7.75/10
Animation: 8/10
Sound: 9.5/10