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The Race Begins (2006)

Sheng xiao chuan qi (original title)
0:52 | Trailer
The great Buddha gave the eminent Jade Emperor the task of ruling the celestial and mortal worlds. Although the Emperor has made the mortal world a peaceful and tranquil place, which was ... See full summary »


Edward Fu


Zhao Jing Chen





Credited cast:
Fann Wong ... The Snake / Cat (voice)
Dennis Chong Kheng Chew ... The Rat (voice) (as Dennis Chew)
Jamie Yeo Jamie Yeo ... (voice)
Vernetta Lopez ... (voice)
Zhao Jing Chen Zhao Jing Chen ... (voice)
Johnny Ng Johnny Ng ... (voice)
Yun Fei Li Yun Fei Li ... (voice)
Hock Lai Lim Hock Lai Lim ... (voice)
Saik Nee Ng Saik Nee Ng ... (voice)
Teck Wan Ng Teck Wan Ng ... (voice)
Vivien Pei Ying Tan Vivien Pei Ying Tan ... (voice)
Sau Long Wong Sau Long Wong ... (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Arnold ... Ringo the Rat (voice)


The great Buddha gave the eminent Jade Emperor the task of ruling the celestial and mortal worlds. Although the Emperor has made the mortal world a peaceful and tranquil place, which was thriving and prosperous, men still did not have an awareness of time. With the absence of this facility, calamity was certain. To prevent this calamity, 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 hacks a plan of her own. Determined to thwart the plans of her long time enemy, the Jade Emperor, she sets forth to prevent the success of the Race be impeding the 12 chosen ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild peril | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

26 January 2006 (Singapore) See more »

Also Known As:

The Race Begins See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cubix International See more »
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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Singapore's first 3D animation film. See more »


In My Dreams
by Fann Wong
See more »

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User Reviews

Singapore's Stab at Shrek-Style Animation
3 June 2006 | by dzongSee all my reviews

The story of how the Chinese Zodiac was created has always been one of my favorites, so I decided to check out Singapore's animated version of the story, even though I fully realized that I'm about 15 to 20 years older than the movie's target audience.

"Zodiac: The Race Begins" fills in some of the holes from the old fable. Why were these twelve animals chosen? Why not The Elephant? (he was too big and dangerous). Why not The Cat? (she was too lazy and foolishly trusted the Rat to sign her up) After a truly horrible musical number (which is admittedly kind of catchy) the twelve chosen animals begin a race to the Jade Emperor's Heavenly Palace.

Some of the animals have to confront a villain described as The Evil Tree Spirit (?!) who's not very scary or relevant.

My main problem was character development. Obviously, this is a children's movie, but it would have been much more interesting to see an exciting race between the animals. Instead, the mildly annoying Rat and the hard-working Ox are the main characters and the other ten animals are relegated to the background. All the animals have at least one or two scenes, but most don't have much more than that.

Another problem is that the outcome is never in doubt. Anybody who knows anything about the Chinese Zodiac (as most of the audience presumably does) will know the exact order that the twelve animals finish. The director needed to find other ways to engage the audience, and he did not succeed.

The animation would be quite good for a student project, but it's just not up to par for a full-length international animated film. It's quite possible that young children won't notice these flaws, but this is not a "fun for all ages" quality production like Shrek or Japanese animated films.

Final Note: The Snake (my own sign) does sing a pretty song in the middle though.


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