• Sien Nüi Yau Wan / A Chinese Ghost Story (2011) - A milestone of Hongkong cinema goes Twilight - 6/10 (07/09/13)

    Sien nui yau wan / A Chinese Ghost Story (2011)


    I have seen the original three movies as a child and I have kept very positive memories about it. These movies were atmospheric, artistic, mysterious, mythological and romantic. From the imaginative fighting scenes over the profound emotional parts up to one of the best movie soundtracks ever done in the history of cinema, these movies introduced me to Chinese culture and until today I have remained fascinated by this diversified and colourful country.

    I am aware of the fact that remakes often fail to be on pair with the originals and I think that a remake of one of these untouchable movies shouldn't have been made. They had already done a comic adaption of the story in 1997 and now they have released some sort of remake of the original film even though both films have a slightly different story line. This movie may be dedicated to the brilliant late Leslie Cheung but in reality it's a question of business to revamp these series in times of Twilight and similar movies that are popular around the world. This movie is definitely for younger audiences and not for those who have grown up or liked the first three films. If this movie had a different title, it would maybe be worth seven points but as it's directly related to the original by its title, it wouldn't be worth more than five points. In the end, I think that my six points are a quite fair rating for both points of view.

    This revamp of the series focuses a whole lot on special effects. There are too many of them, they look very artificial and they are miles away from the innovating techniques of the original movies. These CGI effects don't fit at all to the beautiful landscapes, the traditional clothes, the old fashioned countryside villages and the mythological elements of the movie. It's as if you put aliens in a western and I always thought only Hollywood would do this kind of things.

    The actors in this movie do a good job but they really can't mess with the original cast. Yu Shaoqun isn't on the same level as Leslie Chung because he fails to add his own note. Louis Koo comes quite close to the original performer Wu Ma and has some strong charisma that pleases me very well. Liu Yifei gives her very best to portray a charming and innocent ghost but I really liked the supernatural grace of Joey Wong better. The supporting actors could have been more developed in this film but at least the guide and villages fool was quite addicting. I thought he was rather funny because he reminded me of a person I had met in real life.


    The story is close but on the same level as the original feature. I would even say that the last third of the movie and the final battle scenes were maybe even better than the original. The problem for me was the ending that I didn't like at all. It felt a little bit random and rushed. I was expecting an epic ending or a happy end but any development got suddenly aborted. I think that this ending wasted a lot of potential.

    In the end, modern movie fans will like the special effects and fighting scenes of this movie and the popular love story. Personally, I think that the new version lacks depth, development, magic and uniqueness and doesn't come close to the original feature that had been a true milestone for Hongkong cinema. Fans of the original shouldn't waste their time with this movie even though it's rather entertaining. They will be disappointed comparing this to the original. Those who liked this film should immediately try out the three original movies and get a lesson in truly well crafted cinema. Fans of popular movies that mix monsters and romance in the key of Twilight might though really enjoy this film.


    « Ajeossi / The Man From Nowhere (2010) - Another masterpiece of contemporary cinema from South Korea - 10/10 (06/09/13)Gong Fu Zhi Wang / The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) - An entertaining modern fantasy movie but no great homage to Hongkong's martial arts cinema - 7/10 (08/09/13) »
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