Xi you xiang mo pian (2013) Poster

Xi you xiang mo pian (2013)

  • Rate: 6.8/10 total 3,194 votes 
  • Genre: Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
  • Release Date: 7 February 2013 (China)
  • Runtime: 110 min
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Xi you xiang mo pian (2013)

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  • IMDb page: Xi you xiang mo pian (2013)
  • Rate: 6.8/10 total 3,194 votes 
  • Genre: Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
  • Release Date: 7 February 2013 (China)
  • Runtime: 110 min
  • Filming Location: Heng Dian, China
  • Director: Masaaki Taniguchi
  • Stars: Zhang Wen, Qi Shu, Bo Huang | See full cast and crew »
  • Original Music By: Ying-Wah Wong  (as Raymond Wong) 
  • Soundtrack: Dagger Society Suite (Overture)
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital (Dolby Atmos)

Writing Credits By:

  • Stephen Chow  and
  • Chi-kin Kwok  &
  • Xin Huo  &
  • Yun Wang  &
  • Chi Keung Fung  (as Fung Chih Chiang) &
  • Zhengyu Lu  (as Lu Zheng Yu) &
  • Shing-Cheung Lee  (as Lee Sheung Shing) &
  • Ivy Kong  (as Y.Y. Kong)

Known Trivia

    Plot: A story centered on Tang Sanzang, a Buddhist trying to protect a village from three demons, his emerging feelings for Miss Duan, the demon hunter who helps him repeatedly, and Sanzang's transformative encounter with the Monkey King. |  »

    Story: A story centered on Tang Sanzang, a Buddhist trying to protect a village from three demons, his emerging feelings for Miss Duan, the demon hunter who helps him repeatedly, and Sanzang’s transformative encounter with the Monkey King.

    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Alice Chow known as associate producer
    • Stephen Chow known as executive producer
    • Stephen Chow known as producer
    • Ping Dong known as executive producer
    • Ellen Eliasoph known as executive producer
    • Sanping Han known as executive producer
    • Ivy Kong known as producer (as Y.Y. Kong)
    • William Kong known as executive producer (as Bill Kong)
    • Zhongjun Wang known as executive producer (as Wang Zhong Jun)
    • Zhonglei Wang known as co-producer (as Wang Zhong Lei)
    • Bernard Yang known as associate producer
    • Dajun Zhang known as producer (as Zhang Daju)

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Qi Shu known as Miss Duan
    • Zhang Wen known as Xuan Zang
    • Bo Huang known as Monkey King
    • Show Luo known as Prince Important
    • Shing-Cheung Lee known as Sand Monk
    • Bingqiang Chen known as KL Hog
    • Sihan Cheng known as Master Nameless
    • Yu Xing known as Fist of the North Star
    • Zhengyu Lu known as Killer Yi
    • Chi Ling Chiu known as Killer Er
    • Di Yang known as Killer San
    • Chrissie Chow known as Killer Si
    • Hangyu Ge known as Killer Wu / Short Monkey King
    • Min Hun Fung known as Taoist Priest
    • Lun Yeung known as Mayor
    • Chaoli Zhang known as Almighty Foot
    • Wenhui He known as Maple
    • Yixin Tang known as Blossom
    • Yichun Chen known as Gao Family Inn Manager
    • Zhanling Liu known as Gao Family Inn Manager
    • Xiaochuan Huang known as Leader of the Sand People
    • Yuwen Zhang known as Sheng
    • Min Xu known as Mrs. Gen
    • Jing Li known as Gen
    • Weifu Zhang known as Grandpa Gen
    • Fulin Fan known as Muscleman
    • Qihua Dai known as Lan
    • Kaijie Zhong known as Lan's Baby
    • Jingjing Xie known as Fat Lady
    • Qianwen Yu known as Fat Lady's Husband
    • Wushuang Kong known as Singing Girl
    • Gaoji Li known as Taoist Priest Fook
    • Feifei Wen known as Monk Lu
    • Haisen Huang known as Monk Shou

    ..

     

    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Lin Tai Lee known as hair stylist
    • Sheng Xian Min known as makeup artist: Qi Shu
    • Jae-ho Shin known as special makeup effects artist
    • Michelle Wong known as makeup artist

    Art Department:

    • Hin Fat Hung known as property master
    • Feng Jin known as props
    • Chi-Sang Lam known as props
    • Kwok On Lau known as props
    • Wai Ming Law known as props
    • Tze Fung Li known as assistant art director (as Li Tsz Fung)
    • Chung Wai Ng known as props
    • Yin Keung Yau known as props

    ..

     

    Company

    Production Companies:

    • Bingo Movie Development
    • Huayi Brothers
    • China Film Group
    • Village Roadshow Pictures Asia
    • Chinavision Media Group
    • EDKO Film
    • Venture 3D (3D Conversion)

    Other Companies:

    • Bingo Group  funding
    • Codex Digital  digital recording equipment
    • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
    • EDKO Film  funding
    • Macrograph  post-production

    Distributors:

    • Huayi Brothers Media (2013) (China) (theatrical)
    • Magnet Releasing (2014) (USA) (theatrical) (subtitled)
    • Edko Films (2013) (Hong Kong) (all media)
    • Golden Village Pictures (2013) (Singapore) (all media)
    • IPA Asia Pacific (2013) (Thailand) (all media)
    • Roadshow Films (2013) (Australia) (all media)
    • Roadshow Films (2013) (New Zealand) (all media)
    • Twentieth Century Fox (2013) (Malaysia) (all media)
    • Twentieth Century Fox (2013) (Taiwan) (all media)
    • Twentieth Century Fox (2013) (Vietnam) (all media)

    ..

     

    Other Stuff

    Special Effects:

    • Macrograph
    • Different Digital Design
    • 3 Plus Animation Production
    • Macrograph (visual effects)
    • Venture 3D (3D conversion)

    Visual Effects by:

    • Ju-Kyoung Bae known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Jihye Bang known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Sungjin Bang known as lead stereographer: Venture 3D
    • Ji-sung Cha known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Minji Cha known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Changwon Choi known as technical director: Venture 3D
    • Hanki Choi known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Hoik Choi known as vfx producer: Macrograph
    • Jinsub Choi known as stereoscopic paint supervisor: Venture 3D
    • Sung-chan Choi known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Todd Cogan known as stereographer: Venture 3D
    • Todd Cogan known as stereoscopic executive producer: Venture 3D
    • Via Fernandez known as digital artist: The Base Studio
    • Sunyou Gack known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Sung-Won Hahm known as visual effects director: Moneff
    • Ahreum Han known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Nayoung Han known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Seungchul Han known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyunkang Heo known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Insoo Heo known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Jiyoung Heo known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Jungyun Huh known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Sung-Ho Hur known as lead compositor: Moneff
    • Youngho Je known as vfx producer: Macrograph
    • Hyunsik Jeon known as lead stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Seokmo Jeong known as lead stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Sooncheol Jeong known as lead stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Yujin Jeong known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Yeyun Jin known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyemin Jo known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyungho Jo known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Kuanhyuck Jo known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Yeongran Jo known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Sooneun Joeng known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Moonsung Kang known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Su-jung Kang known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Taegyun Kang known as vfx supervisor: Macrograph
    • Areum Kim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Byunghoon Kim known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Dae-jun Kim known as vfx supervisor: Moneff
    • Do-yeon Kim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Dongjin Kim known as stereoscopic depth supervisor: Venture 3D
    • Haemin Kim known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Hee-kyu Kim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyejin Kim known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyeon-Seok Kim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyewon Kim known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyungil Kim known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Jaewoong Kim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Jimin Kim known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Jongpill Kim known as vfx supervisor: Macrograph
    • Kihong Kim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Kyung-Nam Kim known as lead 3D artist: Moneff
    • Minjung Kim known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Miyoun Kim known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Soo-hyun Kim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Wooyoung Kim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Yu-ra Kim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Gui-hwan Ko known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Heetae Kwon known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Ken Law known as visual effects supervisor
    • Ahreum Lee known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Byung-Sang Lee known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • DJ Lee known as visual effects producer
    • Euikyoung Lee known as lead stereographer: Venture 3D
    • Eun-ok Lee known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Gyeunghyeun Lee known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Gyunggeun Lee known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Hanna Lee known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyungkee Lee known as lead coordinator: Venture 3D
    • Inho Lee known as vfx executive producer: Macrograph
    • Jaewon Lee known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Jim Lee known as project manager: Venture 3D
    • Jongho Lee known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Jungbok Lee known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Nina Lee known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Sang-Mok Lee known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Seunghoon Lee known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Seungwoo Lee known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Si-hoon Lee known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Sujin Lee known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Sungha Lee known as director: Venture 3D
    • Tommy Lee known as lead coordinator: Venture 3D
    • Jongyeon Lim known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Jungsu Lim known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Jongseung Mun known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Yunhae Nam known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Seong-Jun Oh known as project manager: Venture 3D
    • Hyungsuk Park known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Jong-gil Park known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Jongkyoung Park known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Junchul Park known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Keun-Pyo Park known as lead animator: Macrograph
    • Kyungmin Park known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Minji Park known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Sohyun Park known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Sunny Sung-Yong Park known as vfx producer: Macrograph (as Sung Yong Park)
    • Young-Hwan Park known as director: Venture 3D
    • Hyunsoon Ruk known as stereoscopic roto supervisor: Venture 3D
    • Hyeon-woo Seo known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Youngeun Seo known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Bomyi Shim known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Ina Shin known as lead coordinator: Venture 3D
    • Juhyun Shin known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Sungah Shin known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Yeongjoo Shin known as lead project manager: Venture 3D
    • Miran Song known as stereoscopic paint artist: Venture 3D
    • Youngjin Song known as Stereoscopic Roto Artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyun-su Sun known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Sangkyu Woo known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Hyein Yoo known as stereo artist: Venture 3D
    • Jaeseok Yoon known as lead stereographer: Venture 3D

    MPAA: Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence including bloody images, some sexual content and partial nudity

    ..

     
     

    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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    Posted on March 11, 2014 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .

    8 Comments

    1. foggy grey from Singapore
      11 Mar 2014, 5:00 pm

      Fortunately, the movie packs Stephen Chow's comedic style, or I wouldcall it contains his soul. There's Chow's usual style of comedy,action, love story, and some meaning behind life. Well, what more isneeded in a blockbuster movie? Unfortunately, nothing is perfect. Iwent into the cinema without any expectation, and I didn't read anyreviews so I could enjoy the whole movie as if I was the first to doso. I understand that Chow directed this movie, and even demonstratedto retain the "feel" of his usual style. Still, I find the first 15minutes of the movie to be a little dry in terms of humor. As theprotagonist enters the scene it was a bit difficult for me to laugh.However, as the story unfolds, and as the mainstream humor pours in,laughter floods the cinema wave after another. To add, theprotagonist's wacky hair style, does resemble Chow in some ways.

      The CGI is of top quality, I can see the movie spending a lot of moneyon CGI. Many of the scenes contain a lot of visual detail andpicturesque grounds. The music is familiar and lovely, I shall notreveal too much.

      Show Luo's appearance in this movie was like his usual funny-self inhis TV entertainment news. I would appreciate it more if he would haveneglected his usual style and adopted a new one. It's not a bad thing,but it's not a good thing too, it lies somewhere on the neutral side. Iguess on the good side, his fans will love to see him.

      Trying my best not to disclose too much. This movie is a prequel to hisprevious 2 part movie, "A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora's Box, andA Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella." The essence of this movie ishow it somehow relates to "A Chinese Odyssey" in terms of how life is,in its cycle. The feelings the protagonist experienced in this movie issimilar to what his disciple experienced in "A Chinese Odyssey". Thegood news for those who haven't seen "A Chinese Odyssey", is that youcan watch this movie on its own.

      Lastly, there are some tear-jerking scenes. My eyes welled up at someparts, but I stayed a man. I would give this a 9.5 out of 10 because ofits imperfection, but the scores only allow whole numbers. So…. enjoythe movie.

    2. Victor YC Ong from Singapore
      11 Mar 2014, 5:00 pm

      An absolute breakthrough…! From the refreshingly inventive script("X-MEN Origins" of Pigsy, Sandy etc.), mind-boggling CGI, dazzlingKungfu, beautiful cinematography, belly-aching comedy (look out for thehilarious fish demon purification scene), to the evocative moment whenyour heart is touched and your eyes streaming wet; which explains whyit broke China's box office records, reaching USD$100 million (overRMB$0.6 billion) in 8 days (the fastest ever), and taking in USD$12.5million (RMB$78 million) on the opening day alone (another first).

      Stephen Chow has been honing his skill as a highly specializedfilm-maker par excellence, notably with Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle,CJ7 and now Journey to the West – Conquering the Demons; injectingphoto-realistic CGIs, comic innovations and content with a moralthread. Speaking of which, the key message that loving-kindness (Metta/ Ci Ai / Universal Love) for all sentient beings is a transcendentalquality that ultimately conquers ignorance, ego and hatred is conveyedpretty succinctly.*

      Having watched it in both 2D and 3D, I must say that the stereoscopicversion certainly heightened the virtual realism that gave JamesCameron's Avatar an extra oomph.

      The bad thing about this movie is – it leaves you hungry for even more,despite the running time being nearly 2 hours (110 min) in itscinematic version. Hopefully, Stephen Chow decides to produce a sequel,which would almost certainly need to feature a celestial dragon,perhaps like the magnificent one from Sam Neill's The Dragon Pearl.

      *See Dhammapada (Ancient Collection of Short Sayings by The Buddha)Verse 5 – Hatred is never appeased by hatred. It is appeased only byloving-kindness. This is a timeless law.

    3. l_c_world (l_c_world@yahoo.com) from United States
      11 Mar 2014, 5:00 pm

      I saw the TV commercials and trailers and thought : what a piece ofsh*t! Is this the kind of movie Stephen Chow, who directed and starredin Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle, CJ7, all good movies, is making now?Boy was I wrong. Never have I seen a movie trailer that I thought wassh*t and the movie turns out to be so much fun (except Robocop-butthat's a classic on another level.).

      Stephen Chow had so smartly kept the good stuff out of the TVcommercials. The movie far surpassed my expectations. I went to see itsimply because of good word of mouth and it opened Huge. Also news wasgoing around that this movie scared 6-8 year old children and made themcry in the theaters. Yes, there are parts of this movie that areintense, violent, bloody. Not what people expect from comedy king andfamily entertainment star Stephen Chow. But there are also childrenlaughing. So warning : not suitable for kids under… 10 ? PG? PG13?

      This looks and feel like a good old Hong Kong movie. I love it. Sadly,the once exciting Hong Kong movie industry is a shadow of it's formerself. With most productions moving to China now.

      Stephen Chow unfortunately does not appear in this movie at all. Hedirected, worked on the screenplay and co-produced it. Had a youngerChow starred as the male lead this movie would have been even better.Shu Qi is pretty as always and the entire cast is good.

      The classic story of Journey to the West is given a new twist. In thehundreds years old story the Monkey King was imprisoned by Bhuddha forwreaking havoc in heaven. He must seek redemption with Piggy, Sandymonk to help Tang Seng on his journey to seek enlightenment. I won'tgive away the story of this movie. But I will say that I was verysatisfied and that if you like Hong Kong movies or Stephen Chow'smovie, you must go to the theater to see it.

      Also the 3D stereoscopic effects were well done.

      I might add that the Monkey King in the movie is not what most peopleexpect but not untrue to literature. He's been trapped 500 years andhe's mad as hell ! The Taiwanese actor that played him is the best inthe movie. He played every nuance. Also Monkey King only change to oneother form despite having the ability to change to 72 forms in thebook(not including human form).

      For once I think a good dubbing is actually better than subtitlesbecause there is so much going on in the screen and reading thesubtitles takes your eyes away from the action. This movie deserves(andprobably will get) a USA (or worldwide) theatrical release.

    4. moviexclusive from Singapore
      11 Mar 2014, 5:00 pm

      Can any earnest Stephen Chow fan be blamed for eagerly anticipating his"Journey to the West"? Aside from the fact that it marks his firstmovie in four years, it promises a return to the inimitable blend ofslapstick comedy, kung fu and romance which Chow had so successfullyparlayed into a winning formula in the duology "A Chinese Odyssey: PartOne – Pandora's Box" and "A Chinese Odyssey: Part Two – Cinderella" –never mind that Chow does not reprise his role as the "Monkey King" orfor that matter have any starring role in this new movie.

      Fortunately, Chow's fans can rest easy – despite not having anyphysical presence in the movie, this "Journey" is classic Chow from theacting to the writing and to the directing, the latter two roles ofwhich he is credited for in addition to producing the movie. Andperhaps the best news of it all is that Chow returns to the sheerinspired inanity and hilarity of "Shaolin Soccer" and "Kung Fu Hustle",so be prepared to be rib-tickled silly by the misadventures of MissDuan (Shu Qi) and Xuan Zang (Zhang Wen) in demon country.

      Those familiar with the classic "Journey to the West" novel will knowthat Xuan Zang is also known as Tripitaka, who would be entrusted byGuanyin with the mission of recovering the sacred texts together withthree disciples – Monkey King, Zhu Bajie and Sand Monk. Chow leavesthat tale for the inevitable sequel; rather, in this movie, he fashionsin essence a prequel, where Xuan Zang is no more than an amateur demonhunter yet to attain enlightenment, Monkey King or Sun Wukong (HuangBo) is a conniving demon imprisoned in a cave by Buddha, Zhu Bajie is apig demon called KL Hogg (Chen Bing Qiang) who especially kills womenwho lust after handsome men, and Sand Monk (Lee Sheung Qing) is ahalf-fish half-beast water demon who wrecks havoc on fishingcommunities living near the water.

      You'll do well to remember that each demon you see on screen is ofsignificance; otherwise you may be wondering why the screenplay,credited to Chow and seven other writers seems to dwell too excessivelyon each particular demon-slaying encounter – beginning with Sand Monk,then KL Hogg and finally to Sun Wukong. Indeed, the movie is reallymade up of these three distinct sequences, with the exception of onemore that builds on the budding romance between Xuan Zang and his muchmore skilled and experienced fellow demon hunter Miss Duan.

      Within that narrative structure, Chow constructs four elaboratelystaged battles that combine his brand of quirky humour, choreographerKu Huen Chiu's imaginative action and production designer Bruce Yu'srichly conceived sets with some truly impressive CGI that rivalsanything you have seen so far in Chinese cinema. Thankfully, Chowdoesn't get caught up with putting on the best visual effects show; infact, with an inspired and confident directorial hand, he balances allthese elements deftly, never forgetting that his audience is expectingnothing less than his signature brand of laughs.

      Right from the start, you'll know that Chow's comedic sensibilities areat his sharpest. He takes his time to set each scene – for instance, inthe first sequence, a charlatan is seen tricking the villagers that agiant sting ray he had blasted dead in the water was responsible forone of their own's death, so much so that when the real culprit (i.e.the water demon) appears, that entrance is even more dramatic. Dittofor the appearance of KL Hogg and Sun Wukong, whose appearances in fullglory are again preceded by red herrings that make the 'coming-out'more impactful.

      Chow again demonstrates an exceptional ability to juggle comedy andtragedy – here, in engineering humour amidst the deaths of others bythe respective demons – and it is to his credit again that placingthese two elements side by side in every sequence does not make themovie any tonally jarring at any point. And of course, as with all hisfilms, this one features his unique brand of exaggerated slapstick -like the obscenely over-sized woman who comes to save the day (think"Kung Fu Hustle" and "CJ7") or the occasional gross joke that involvessome inappropriate kissing – and his cheeky tendencies of confoundinggenre stereotypes.

      In place of his mug, Chow has found his proxy in the form of Mainlandactor Zhang Wen. It is said that Chow shows his actors just how heexpects them to act in every scene, and in the case of Zhang Wen, weare sure Chow must have showed Zhang the way he would have played therole himself. You can almost see Chow through Zhang's rubber-facedmannerisms – and the same goes for Huang Bo, who plays the mischievousSun Wukong with more than a hint of Stephen Chow.

      Chow also fashions the love story between Zhang and Shu Qi the way heand co-star Athena Chu used to in the 'A Chinese Odyssey' films, andthere are certain recognizable shades of similarities in therelationship between Xuan Zhang/ Miss Duan and Monkey King/ Zixia inthe latter. Nonetheless, Shu Qi isn't simply a stand-in for Athena Chu– fearsome when fighting demons like an oriental Tomb Raider and yetamorous when it comes to romancing Xuan Zhang, she is thoroughlyalluring from start to end in the very sexy and sassy manner we wouldexpect from her.

      So really, there's little to worry even though you won't see StephenChow in the movie – every bit of it is quintessentially Chow. Like his'A Chinese Odyssey' movies, this "Journey" has action, comedy, romanceand the additional ingredient of CGI to ensure an alternately amusingand suspenseful and thrilling ride from start to finish.

    5. DICK STEEL from Singapore
      11 Mar 2014, 5:00 pm

      Truth be told, I wasn't quite impressed with the idea that Stephen Chowhad to revisit one of his greatest films, and do another version of it.But Chow had proved me wrong, and had some nifty creative ideas behindwhat he had wanted to do with another Journey to the West tale, hardlyrehashing the earlier Jeff Lau effort. He had managed to keep thestrengths of what he is well known for in irreverent comedy, andcrafted his best in years, while coming up with yet another new spin tokeep things engaging even for the most jaded amongst us on the tale ofMonkey King. The trailer, while keeping things really short, now onhindsight was a brilliant little piece of a short prologue, whileteasing the audience on a Monkey King appearance that's never beenportrayed nor seen before in this form, which does take some gettingused to.

      But this film, co-directed with Derek Kwok, sets its sights onTripitaka the monk, or Xuan Zang, instead, before he got preordainedinto monk-hood. In this re-telling, Xuan Zang (Wen Zhang) is a novicedemon-hunter, and a hopeless one at that. He believes that every demonshould be shown compassion, and is for non-violence as much aspossible, in order to rehabilitate demons that he found, using his bookof nursery rhymes which his master claims to be one of the best sutrasaround for subduing of spirits. Xuan Zang embodies all that isbenevolent, consistent in spirit (pardon the pun) what you know of thecharacter, except that he has that thick mop of hair. But despite hislack of skills other than a stout heart, help comes in the form of MsDuan (Shu Qi), the expertly skilled demon hunter, with her own posse toallow some cameo appearances, who has the hots for Xuan Zang (againplaying to the tune that he is someone desirable, as any Journey storygoes), and pops up almost always at the right time to save his hide.

      Elements from Journey stories include the individual encounters withall his disciples and their tweaked back stories, which credit has tobe given to the screenwriters for improvements that worked within theconfines of this alternate story they wanted to tell. The highlight isof course how Xuan Zang's first meeting with Sun Wukong (Huang Bo)went, which is as comical and witty as can be, which extended to thebig battle finale that had as much heart, a key winning element fromChow's A Chinese Odyssey films, to move when themed against the notionof sacrifice. The final twenty minutes was a fitting climax, buildingup upon a series of very smart episodes, which included, on a higherlevel, how scriptures are based on love.

      And this romance between Xuan Zang and Ms Duan forms the crux of thestory, like in A Chinese Odyssey, that drives the narrative forward.Shu Qi plays the much tomboyish demon hunter with aplomb, who has todig deep to find her femininity in wooing Xuan Zang, and who would haveguessed she looked so comfortable and credible in executing many of hermartial arts scenes. Wen Zhang like others before him who have playedthe kind monk, was right at home with his performance, a littlebumbling mixed with that tinge of innocence, and sheer determination inwanting to do good despite only having the best of intentions, and noneof the skills. And amongst the other characters, all eyes are perhapson Huang Bo's rendition of the Monkey King, which I can only say it'sextremely different to begin with, and I'm sure some find the characterdesign a little bit bewildering.

      Then again, it's a retelling, so some decisions made may not sit wellwith others, but I thought it was a breath of fresh air, especiallysince it's probably the first time (in a long while maybe) that it tookthe stance of all the disciples being enemy combatants and demons. Ican't rave enough about the finale that dealt with how the Monkey Kinggot that golden headband of his, as it touches on the virtues of loveand forgiveness all in one fell swoop, conspicuously making the deitiesof Journey missing and unnecessary in this story.

      Chow as a director has somehow imparted his acting techniques from themany demeanours he had portrayed in the past, to probably each andevery character here, so much so that everyone has shades of Chow'seasily recognizable persona, especially when dealing with comic timing,and style. And like his recent lavish productions, this one is nodifferent, which is full of CG effects, but polished and more of a toolto tell the story rather than drawing attention to themselves. But thatdoesn't mean that Chow has lost touch with his more humble beginnings,at times opting for practical gags that had served him well in thepast, and low brow humour still ever-reliable in eliciting laughter.

      Given a subtitle in this film, one can only hope there's a follow up ofsorts, because the baseline has been set, the origins told, and whatlies ahead are the countless of episodes in the troupe's perilousjourney westwards to retrieve the Buddhist scriptures, which anyonecould be taken and given a new narrative spin in similar treatment asthis one. Stephen Chow once again showed that he still has thatcreative flair and streak within him, that even if he doesn't appear infront of the camera, he has what he takes behind it to deliver the bestof his hey-days. One of the best films out of this Lunar New Yearseason!

    6. attilabarcellos from Brazil
      11 Mar 2014, 5:00 pm

      The movie is a wonderful experience, for Buddhists and for the generalpublic that is able to enjoy fantastic stories.

      It is about the first part of a very long story of the monkey godWukong, a very powerful entity that used to annoy meditationpractitioners at Buddha's time.

      The special effects are above average and the overall experience, too.

      There's a lot of action and funny moments, also. Nevertheless, I don'tthink that's a movie for children, after all. Please, don't listen tothe bad reviews, they really aren't fit for this kind of movie.

      Enjoy, being or not a Buddhist.

    7. hkauteur from Hong Kong
      11 Mar 2014, 5:00 pm

      Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons marks the very first StephenChow directed movie without him acting in it. So, what can I properlyexpect from this movie? The idea of a Stephen Chow movie is alwaysexciting. However, I was concerned that it might be the start of an newera in which Stephen Chow will only direct movies and not act in themanymore. For that, I was both excited and scared to see this film. Butfinally, I decided there probably wasn't anything to expect and justwalked in without expectations.

      Fortunately, that ended up being the best way to seeing this movie. Iended up being really surprised and taken away by it.

      It's clear that Stephen Chow's passions are now set into directing. Hehas improved a lot as a director; his films have become more cinematicexperiences. There's less reliance on comedic dialogue, more emphasison telling a story with stronger imagery, and has an improved sense ofsetup and payoff. He's much more interested in storytelling mechanicsand more invested in where he can take an audience emotionally besidesjust laughs. With the way he structures some of his story, there's asymbiotic relationship between comedy and tragedy that he's veryinterested in exploring.

      Wen Zhang delivers that exact balance between tragedy and comedy in hisperformance as Xuanzang. He is a charismatic leading man and heshoulders the film with both its funny and heartbreaking moments. Whenhe was playing for humor, I laughed. When he was crying, I found itmoving. I am buying him at every moment and he was playing me like asqueeze toy. The story gives a genuine pathos as he becomes theXuanzang we know from the story.

      Shu Qi is very affable in this role and it's nice to see her play acharacter with more cartoonish sensibilities. I especially liked herpsychotic expressions when she was killing off demons. And yes, I cansee how hard it is to reject Shu Qi if she threw herself at you likeshe did in this movie.

      Huang Bo is a fun Monkey King and makes a very engaging antagonist.This version of Monkey King is richly complex. It's an interesting takeon the character because it highlights a key point about Sun Wukongthat's often glossed over: He never had a choice to join Xuanzang onhis journey to the west. The Monkey King goes only because he is tamedby the magical torture crown that's he is forced to wear on his head.In this interpretation, he's not completely good or evil. Huang Bo doesnot play it too over-the-top by enhancing the animalisticsensibilities. Instead, what really stuck with me was how heconvincingly played the desperate pain of being trapped under amountain for five centuries.

      The film's gags are executed with much discipline. The gags are zanybut not random. They are all building character and moving the storyforward each step of the way to it's final conclusion. It's masterfulhow Chow is able to use comedic moments to build towards moments ofsadness and loss.

      The thought of no more Stephen Chow roles anymore aches me a bit buthis presence is felt here. He has delivered a well-made film.Fortunately the film is done well enough to help me get over my achingand accept him now as only a film director. I look forward to seeinghim continually improve as a storyteller and to the next installment inthis series.

      For more reviews, please visit my blog @ http://hkauteur.wordpress.com

    8. siderite from Romania
      11 Mar 2014, 5:00 pm

      The style of the movie immediately brings to memory Kung-Fu Hustle,also written and directed by Stephen Chow, but its target is areinvention of the Journey to the West story.

      Unfortunately, much of the symbolism used in the film is lost on me,since I know nothing of Chinese mythology. I am sure much of thecharacters and word games that I suppose mean a lot to a Chineseperson, to me are just wacky and incomprehensible. That being said, thefilm is very nicely done, combining drama and comedy in a way that ismostly foreign to western cinema, good acting and cool special effects.

      I have to admit that the movie makes me want to read some translationof Journey to the West, one of the Four Great Classical Novels, so, ifthat was Chow's purpose, the film is a success. I also have to admitthat I liked the movie, considering whether to keep it for laterviewing or not. As such, it is clearly above average, but the naggingfeeling that a lot got lost in translation makes me rate it only so:above average.

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