Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Chinese Tall Story (2005) Celebrating Chinese New Year!

Another go round with the monkey king going west....sort of.

Beginning in the middle of some action the movie just goes from the first frame onward.

A monk and his three disciples go to a town to get the sacred suras that will bring peace to the world once they are translated and spoken to the world.But an evil force has intervened and kidnapped all of the children of the town. The evil force wants the monk because if you eat him you will live forever. The retainers battle the forces of darkness before forcibly sending the monk off for safety (The monk thinks he can win simply by reasoning with the bad guys). The monkends up with a bunch of lizard imps who plan at some point eating him... however the bad guys arrive and he's off an odyssey with the ugliest of the lot.

Can a movie that starts off the rails go off the rails?

Don't get me wrong I really liked this movie but its so scattershot and all over the place that plot and logic simply fall away as some scenes simply pick up mid action with no way of knowing how we got there (The final battle to rescue the disciples is completely out of left field). This is one of the messiest movies I've seen, but it made me laugh and smile like no get out. The movie starts and you have no idea where things are and then whats on screen is either interesting or funny and you just go with it. How we get from thing to thing is often beyond me. Its full of odd asides and strange references as we go from heaven to the ocean to space to the rib cahe of some mythic beast to god knows where. This movie floats all over the place which helps keep it fun since you don't know where it will end up (and is the reason"m keeping details to a minimum)

And its funny. Very very funny at times.

And the action is very good, even if a good chunk of it is unabashed CGI animation (which provides for some cool images, the golden staff, the spider attack formation, the angel in flight...)

And its very touching. Action and comedy aside this is actually a wonderful love story. Its the story of an ugly imp and a monk who end up falling in love (and having other complications). Its a interesting look at the nature of love and what is true love. You will be moved.

However much I enjoyed it I was still annoyed by its scattershot construction. The films inability to hold its ideas together and to tell a complete story really hurts the film and takes away from the enjoyment every time we get to a bump in the road. the bumps take you out of the movie itself and make you realize how much is being cribbed from other sources.

Absolutely worth seeing since it does have many choice moments, just be prepared for some bumps and you'll have a good time.

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