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情癲大聖 (2005)
A Chinese Tall Story

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 01/27/2008
Summary: am i the only one that found this boring?

I have to say the Cgi is used well here and the characters are interesting enough. There are a few laughs but by the end i found the characters boring and also feel the jokes are recycled again and again. the movie moves along fast paced and sometimes your wondering, umm what just happened?

Charlene Choi is the stand out here, unrecognisable with all the make up on. But i feel likes it a role she is use to playing, annoying but cutesy characters. Nicolas Tse is there just to look good, well thats my guess anyway

I didnt find this as entertaining as others but its worth a look to make up your own mind

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 08/22/2006
Summary: Imagination! (remember that?)

Jeff Lau makes use of first-rate CGI in delivering his wonderfully conceived and brilliantly executed tale of Love. Lau makes an excellent decision in focusing on the monk, Tripitaka (Nicholas Tse), whose quest to bring the Buddhist sutras back to China from India (humorously portrayed as a land of Bollywood singing and dancing) is interrupted by a tree spirit out to gain immortality by eating him. He gains temporary safety from the tree spirit and his army when Monkey hurls him far away from the fighting, but unfortunately ends up in the midst of some imps who are equally eager to make him the main attraction of their next meal. And it's here that the story really begins, when he meets the imp Meiyan (Charlene Choi), who is assigned to guard him.

This is the movie many of us wish Disney would have the guts to make. It has the technical element down pat: the CGI is world class. But this film leaves Disney productions far behind in its story (would Disney dare have its hero - let alone a monk - literally fight Heaven for love of a girl and have the deity come off as self-righteously bureaucratic?), in the integrity of its characters (these imps in Disney would quickly give up their idea of eating Tripitaka and be drafted into cute, loyal helpers of Tripitaka, but here they only help him as a ploy and never give up their impish nature). Yes, Disney would have transformed Meiyan into the beautiful spirit, just as Lau did, but would not have stayed true to the story until the end, as Lau does. And then there's the blood.

I've mentioned the CGI and the story, which are both impressive, but there's another element to this film's success - the acting. I thought everyone turned in good performances and I liked Nicholas Tse's selection of a role that isn't so flattering; but the one that really carries the film is Charlene Choi. She played the ugly imp Meiyan perfectly; no sentimentality, no false emotion, and through a layer of makeup so thick she's unrecognizeable as The Twin.

This movie is always true to itself. It's the type of film that could have become self-indulgent, getting lost in the CGI, or could have sold out the characters or manipulated the viewers' emotons, but it never does. It has Integrity. Three cheers for Jeff Lau, his crew, and cast!

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/27/2006
Summary: 8.5/10 - beautiful and mad

It's official - Jeff Lau is on crack! The film starts where Journey to the West presumably finishes (Tripitaka, played here by Nic Tse, has reached his destination and acquired the sutras)... then goes off somewhere else entirely, mixing some seriously disparate elements around a love story and various meditations of a more or less philosophical nature. The film has as much to do with the tale of The Ugly that of The Monkey King.

A CHINESE TALL STORY is reminiscent of Chen Kaige's THE PROMISE in several ways - not least in the heavy use of CGI to create its fairy tale world. The quality of the effects is impressive - certainly some of the best work to come from Hong Kong. Combined with some fine art direction and cinematography, the film can look really quite beautiful. The films also share an erratic tone, though at least with Jeff Lau at the helm we can be sure that the comedic moments are intentional here :-p I guess both films share Nic Tse too - his casting as Tripitaka was certainly an odd choice, but he carries it off. This is not the Tripitaka we are used to seeing, anyway.

I suspect that many people will dislike the film as much as they did THE PROMISE - it's such an uncompromisingly odd film that I'm sure it will simply come across as self-indulgent to many (and perhaps it is), or just a nonsensical train wreck to others (it's not). I think it's a brave film - perhaps not completely successful in all it attempts, but at least attempting something interesting. I enjoyed it :-)

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: evirei
Date: 01/13/2006
Summary: It's taller than expected.

This romantic comedy starts of when Nicholas and his disciples finally reach the place where the sacred scroll was kept. Everything was going fine until the “Evil Tree Spirit” tries to kill Nicholas and eat him up. Yes, it’s believe that anyone who eats his flesh will remain immortal.

Oh ya, before I do continue, if you are expecting this show to have any or a lot of similarities to the original version, please DO NOT CONTINUE to read or watch this show.

The three disciples soon went and fight the “Evil Tree Spirit” which to me is the most unrealistic 3D part of the show. Yeah, I never could understand why they would have to use a “spawn” like figure to portray the “Evil Tree Spirit”. In this movie things were rather vice versa. Nicholas was rather afraid of his first disciple “the monkey king”. When they were being outnumbered by the “Evil Tree Spirit”, “the monkey king” quickly send his master away with his golden stick. Yes, the golden stick will only obey the person when they say “love you a thousand years” to activate it and “I don’t love you anymore” to deactivate it.

Nicholas was soon sent to a far away place where he landed himself on a evil spirit’s hideout. Everyone thought he is “the monkey king” since only the monkey king holds the golden stick. The leader in the hideout chooses Charlene to guard him because she is the ugliest and thus not easily being cheated by Nicholas.

The “Evil Tree Spirit” soon send troops over to look for Nicholas and most of the people in the hideout was killed. Nicholas and Charlene manages to escape and tries to find ways to safe Nicholas’s disciples.

Along the way, Nicholas and Charlene manage to crack up hilarious yet bringing a touch of romance jokes. Your eyes is not blur, yes, Nicholas’s character soon falls in love. One will ask.. “What? A monk falls in love? He even join the evil spirits?” Yup yup.. he did all that. Chinese cultural will find this hard to accept as monks were suppose to be noble and they cannot fall in love nor wear spiderman costume trying to spray cob webs. But let me remind you.. you are watching a ROMANTIC COMEDY. What is a romantic comedy without romance?

In the process of training and trying to safe his disciples, Nicholas soon falls in love with Charlene. Obviously there were obstacles and Nicholas misunderstood Charlene’s good intention and they both parted. Something magical happen to Charlene.. yeah and if you could see in the poster, she has this beautiful wings and she is no longer ugly.

One might ask, what’s Fan Bing Bing’s character. Ermmm she is supposed to be human race’s ancestors who left earth and went somewhere else to hide from war, when they suddenly came back. Well, to me.. it seems like they are god. Hahaha.. yes bright light in the sky… come and go as they like, manages to do weird and unexplainable stuff.

I would say it is a beautifully crafted story. Yes, true love is something hard to get, to be parted from someone you love isn’t that painful, it’s even worst when you are always with them and yet you can’t love them. The movie bombarded me with loads of beautiful 3D stuff every 5 minutes. Yeah, I think almost 70% of this show is CG’s and I think it is done beautifully especially Charlene’s angel wings.

In short, I would conclude this review with just two sentence. If you could watching the whole “the promise” without even having the intention of stabbing yourself till death with a knife, you will survive this.

Reviewer Score: 7