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  • Summary: When young Bilike finds an ordinary ping pong ball, he and his friends take to flights of imaginative whimsy and embark on a journey to find the source of the mysterious unknown object. Bilike's old grandmother says the ball is a glowing pearl sent by the gods, but the boys are skeptical after it fails the test. Since none of their other family members are able to offer any more insight, the three boys trek to the faraway monastery to consult the wise lamas. But even the grasslands' most knowledgeable inhabitants are stumped. When a television show finally reveals that the object is the "national ball of China," the determined young scouts set off to return the ping-pong ball to the Chinese capital, where an even bigger adventure and more amusing trouble await them. (First Run Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. A tender, visually stunning comedy-drama.
  2. 75
    In Mongolian Ping Pong the point is to look under the majestic vistas and see value in ordinary things -- ping-pong balls included.
  3. 75
    Movies don't come any more charming than Mongolian Ping Pong.
  4. This is one of the most becalming films ever made. The grasslands seem oddly serene, and to watch them is to feel your pulse rate flatten out -- yet another aspect of Mongolian Ping Pong's transcendent charm.
  5. Although its leisurely pace might be a bit tough going for restless Westerners, Mongolian Ping Pong is the kind of film that should rightly be seen by children, not just adventurous adults.
  6. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    60
    A charming but overextended yarn about some prairie tykes who mistake a table-tennis ball for a glowing pearl from the gods.
  7. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    25
    Hao doesn't seem to have a point of view. Mongolian Ping-Pong is episodic and meandering, with several tedious stretches.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. ChadS.
    Nov 9, 2006
    8
    A coke bottle falls from the sky; a ping-pong ball floats down a river; yes, "Mongolian Ping-Pong" at times recall the South African import "The Gods Must be Crazy". Both films share the concept of a foreign artifact which transforms the culture of its nomadic practitioners. In this world without Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, or any sort of formal wonderment to entertain a young child, Bilike believes that his ping-pong ball is a glowing pearl. "Mongolian Ping-Pong" is about how children from all walks of life find magic in their prosaic lives. When Bilike and his friends learn that their glowing pearl is actually a ping-pong ball, they launch a short-lived journey that recalls the South African film, and unintentionally, "The Lord of the Rings". Like those homebody hobbits, these rural boys have no idea how far a far-off place really is. "Mongolian Ping-Pong" moves at a snail's pace, but not off-puttingly so. Expand
  2. EdK.
    Feb 5, 2007
    4
    The San Francisco Chronicle review has this movie pegged: episodic, meandering, and tedious. I was hoping for something clever, set out on the steppes of outer Mongolia. Well I got the Mongolia part, just nothing very clever. I understand that subtitles change things a bit, but the "dialogue" (such as it was) was terrible (did the kids write their own lines?). And the storyline doesn't ever really get off the ground. A better title for this movie would have been, "Random Goings-On in Mongolia, with a Ping Pong Ball." I give it a 4 just for the scenery and because I like independent movies; really, it's about a 2. Expand