Zodiac: The Race Begins (Chinese: Ã§â€Å¸Ã¨â€šâ€“Ã¤Â¼Â Ã¥Â¥â€¡) is a CGI film produced by Singapore's Cubix Pictures. The film was released in the city state on January 26, 2006.
It is Singapore's first 3D animated film and recounts the legend behind the ancient Chinese zodiac on how 12 animals came to be chosen as its symbols. Its script, researched by Singapore-based freelance playwright and former cross-talk celebrity Zhao Jin, incorporates eight myths.
The great Buddha gave the eminent Jade Emperor the task of ruling the celestial and mortal worlds. However, mortal human beings did not have an awareness of time, which spelt calamity. To avert this, the Jade Emperor gave a celestial order: "Let it be known in the mortal world, that I, the Imperial Jade Emperor, shall appoint 12 animals to ascend to the celestial world. These 12 species of animals shall represent a cycle of 12 years with each animal representing a year. Any humans born in a particular animal's year shall bear that animal's mark and his strength. This representation shall be known as the Zodiac."
But deep in the dark swamps, the thousand year old tree spirit, determined to thwart the plans of her long-time enemy, the Jade Emperor, sets forth to prevent the success of the Race by impeding the 12 chosen ones.
35 artists were casted in the voiceovers for the show. This includes prominent Singaporean actress Fann Wong, who did voiceover recordings for the characters of the snake and the cat. Popular radio DJ Dennis Chew did a voiceover for the rooster, the rat and an evil court official.
The film has been badly reviewed by critics, and some saying the results of the film are those of a 2D animation.