A Chinese Tall Tale
((summary taken from Wikipedia))
It is a twisted story about the monk Tripitaka and his three disciples who are journeying west to acquire Buddhist scriptures. While stopping in Shache City (present day Yarkand), they come under attack by minions of the evil Tree Demon. The demons capture his three disciples.
Tripitaka is then captured by the king of reptiles and placed under the care of the ugly and shunned Meiyan, who falls in love with the monk. Luckily for Tripitaka, an alien princess rescues him, and Meiyan decides to team up with the princess in order to rescue the disciples.
Wow. This movie... I'm literally speechless. This had everything I love in a film: a unique, crazy story that somehow manages to come together at the very end; beautiful costumes and music; interesting, diverse characters; exceptional directing; amazing actors. Really, the list goes on and on! I haven't been this impressed with a film in a long time.
If I had to sum it up in two words, I'd say it was visually stunning.
Every shot in this movie, was like a photograph. I must have grabbed hundreds of snap-shots alone while watching it! Every picture looked so beautiful, I wanted to make it into a wallpaper for my desktop, lol. And the colors were so vibrant and alive--the very first scene alone, just blew me away.
The story (which is based off a famous Chinese folk tale) was very engaging. At first, I was confused beyond words and wasn't sure what was happening, and as the film went on I just kept getting more confused. Yet by the end, somehow, it all seemed to come together and I actually understood it! It was so unique, and unlike anything I'd ever seen before. (I have heard though that Western audiences have been known to get lost in its story... so don't take it as a given that you won't walk away a little confused). I'm just saying that personally, for me, this wasn't the case. But I've watched a few other Chinese-style dramas based on those same folk tales, so that could be why I accepted everything so naturally.
Either way, I REALLY want to watch more movies like this! My next mission is to hunt down other movies this director has worked on, and watch them all. ^_^
Nicholas Tse. Ooh, I never knew what was so great about him before... but now I know. I REALLY need to find more things that he's been in. Even bald, he's hot. Charlene Choi was excellent in her role as well. She really made the ugly, outcast imp come to life, and gave surprising depth to her character. Tripitaka and Meiyan were truly an interesting pairing. I don't think I've seen an OTP that messed up or strange in awhile, lol. And the end, though not necessarily happy, felt right and gave a promise of more to come... and believe me, I REALLY want to see that "more to come". I hope the director makes a sequel that continues to follow the legend with the same cast. The characters were so interesting and funny, and there were so many twists! Those unfamiliar with the legends would definitely be surprised.
I think this is the kind of movie that I could watch again and again: with every watching, you'd discover something new. And the music alone was breathtaking. Normally, music isn't something that will stand out to me, so when it does, I'm always doubly impressed. To be honest, I would willingly buy the movie soundtrack, even if most of the songs are purely instrumental.
The only downfall really, was the overuse of CGI. But in this kind of movie it's sort of necessary and expected... so it didn't bother me all that much. It was distracting a couple times though... especially when she created a fighting mecha to battle the tree spirit. For a moment there I was like (...)
I could have done without that scene, haha.
Overall, a beautiful film. It will be confusing at the start, but slowly things start to come together, and in the end, you'll probably understand most of what you've been watching. For anyone who loves imaginative worlds, characters, fables, and things that generally defy explanation or reason... then A Chinese Tall Tale is definitely for you!