By Reno Rangan
Man Always Solely Wanted to Dominate The World and Its Other Species
As far I remember I’ve not seen any Chinese or Hong Kong movies in the past 12 months. So I have heard about this film a lot, that it was the China’s highest domestic gross movie ever. Since then I have marked it to check it out as much soon as possible and after watching with a high expectation I’m here right away. I’ve been watching movies since my childhood, but it became serious after the The Two Towers. So first I’m a fantasy film fan before becoming neutral. But still sometimes I’m very keen on them like I was for this one.
In the present era, we’ve seen zombies, superheroes, vampires, werewolves, aliens, robots and so on are varieties for making a good entertaining flick. But just half a millennium ago when there was no motion-picture, but literature and the stage play, there were only good vs bad, god vs devil, man vs monster and beasts. So the modern creations were sci-fi and the old ones are fantasies. After CGI is becoming very flexible, the filmmakers are on the race to get on-board into one of those genre franchises. So nowadays we are witnessing head-to-head contest between these two genres, but a great treat for the movie fanatics like me.
The first impression was the film’s posters which were done similar to the traditional Chinese paintings. Second, the decent trailer, I was displeased with the CGI characters in the clips, but watching them in the full flow movie it looked so much better. One of the best visually stunning Mandarin movies. Despite setting a record at the box office, the budget was doubled after the drug controversy over the original lead actor who was later replaced by another and re-shot his portions entirely including special effect were redone.
“Monsters are the most cunning creatures in the world.
They hide in human skin, dress as human and speak human language!”
The director had a handful of experience from working on some Hollywood projects. Literally, it was his first solo, also the first live-shot directional debut movie and he nailed it. Very disappointing when it comes to the story, because it was just a one-liner, which is well known since the inception of motion-picture. Set in the ancient period China when the humans and monsters lived together and later went to war to dominate each other. A border was drawn between the two worlds that brought peace for centuries until one day some kind of coup happened in the monsters’ side. So the confrontation restores after a few monsters hops on the other side with human. How it all will be solved is the remaining action, adventure with lots of fun.
Quite similar to current European migrant crises. People who flee from the civil war in the Middle East are not welcomed by the few locals which led to some violence in the refugee camps. In this movie as well, without realising they brought the same environmental situation between man and monster.
Of course it is a children/adult movie, but killing the cute monsters and cooking them, all of them kind of gave me a skeptical feeling. Besides that it had romance as a sub-plot and Baihe Bai was so cute. Usually movies from this part of the Earth remain as martial arts. Since the director worked on the Shrek films, it is easily noticeable that some of the content was influenced from the other industries as well. The human skin thing reminded me of MIB and the song of Indian films. The comedies are the uplift along the exciting stunts which fought among the live and CGI characters.
There are some things that do not make sense, but in fantasy films these are logical and we can’t consider as a flaw. But explanation is needed, especially the inspired mythical story from another culture and that is where it quite failed. Overall the movie passes the entertainment and quality test, but it is more a family movie and less a youngster’s. Definitely a sequel is on the card after the tremendous success, if they fail to bring another movie, it will be their loss. For the foreign audience, especially the western world, it might be an average or an okay movie because it’s quite familiar with this kind of theme. Anyway, I recommend it for those who enjoy comedy-fantasy films.