1) It kept me in suspense. I am familiar with Goku the monkey king and how he was mischievous and had to pay penance for his sins and play a good guy for a while to gain freedom or whatever. That is as far as my knowledge of Goku the monkey king goes, oh and I know he is supposed to have a circlet and lance and was reminded of that later. Big deal, right? Wrong. This movie told me a story I have never been told before and kept me wildly guessing and entertained throughout! It is like a fairy tale. A very good fairy tale to movie translation. A very good play of sorts. What I enjoy about it the most is that I went into it not knowing what to expect. I thought it was about Buddhism? hello? but instead it was about....Well. It's hard to put into words. Read my first sentences about what I knew of the story of the monkey king. That much in this movie is still true. However there are many things I did not know that this movie tells and because my life is so boring and most things predictable (that is to say most movies, video games have predictable plot lines) this was a movie with nice twists and turns that got me to be interested in story-telling and cinema again. And boy did it get me interested again in a big way! I am in awe with how good the writer(s) must have been- the original writers that is to say who came out with the skeleton of this story because there is some wild stuff in here.
2) This movie is surprisingly funny. Actually I had another 2 and 3 in mind as to why this movie is one of my favorites but forget them both. Oh yeah! It reminds me of the wild and wacky stuff I used to watch as a kid in it's creativity! Namely the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. If you're a 90's kid like me and grew up on that show you may actually love this. It's similar because there is martial arts and funny bad guys and action scenes in this. Also the special effects are old school with make-ups and costumes, none of that CGI stuff. I can appreciate the old ways because it doesn't really detract from the story or acting here and that is what's strong.
I suppose people may give this a 7 or 8 instead of a 10, maybe even worse, but I am not too concerned about that. I know why others may not like this (because it's too foreign, or they are too busy to appreciate it's intricacies, or they don't find it funny, whatever the reason someone may not like this, maybe they have heard the story differently and have a preconceived idea of how it should be, who knows, but I had fun watching this and that is why I watch movies to begin with. To have fun. To forget life for a bit. Watch it if you want to be entertained and are not scared of Chinese films as an American or if you can laugh at silly faces, voices, and remarks. This is a nice movie, including the second part.You can really appreciate the imagination and some twisted sense of humor. Decent fighting scenes, pretty woman and impressive art design. The story is, well, kind of freaky, so all this together make this film very surreal, but entertaining enough. Stephan Chow, genius as usual, is very helpful.
You can see that Jeffrey Lau got a lot on his mind. In this movie he presents identities in crisis, internal struggles, personal development and learning, some religious, cultural and social issues, including sexual problems. All this presented to the viewers through fantastic story, while completely ignoring the laws of Fisics.
But the way he chooses to make his statements or opinions looks strange, simplistic and not complete, at least to Western culture cynic like me. There a lot of movies dealing with the same stuff in another way, more realistic and, that's why, more powerful.
So, it's great Mr Lau are talking and presenting this sort of themes in his personal and interesting own way, but the movie is not for everyone. His extreme fantasy takes the viewers far away from reality, it's all very distant, like some alien world. The plot and the characters are very confusing sometimes, this unbelievable environment seems artificial and doubtful, so the movie has no real impact, no meaningful influence, it's like grabbing water with hand. You know you felt something, but there is nothing left.
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