December 12, 2016

A Chinese Ghost Story: The Tsui Hark Animation 小倩- 1997 Hong Kong

Holiday time is always a very busy time, but we have several movie reviews up our sleeve that we are ready to share with you!

Today, we bring you a review on the 1997 Hong Kong animation film, A Chinese Ghost Story: The Tsui Hark Animation (小倩).  Written and produced by Tsui Hark, best known for A Better Tomorrow, The Banquet, and Once Upon a Time in China series, A Chinese Ghost Story follows in the footsteps of Hark’s popular work on three live-action adaptions of the same name.

Debuting at the Toronto Film Festival, A Chinese Ghost Story went on to win the Best Animated Film Award in 1997 at the Golden Horse Film Festival and in 1998 at the Asia Pacific Film Festival and the Merit Award at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.  The film di fairly well in Hong Kong and China, and Viz Media even bought the rights to distribute it in the States, though if asked if they were successful in doing so, I would have to say no. (I have never met anyone who knows of this animation)

A Chinese Ghost Story is a light hearted film that follows Ning, a debt collector, and his dog, Solid Gold as he travel’s through China. During his adventure, he not only stumbles upon 3 very intriguing exorcists competing to rid the most ghosts from China, but Ning also stumbles upon a ghost town himself, where he meets and falls in love with the beautiful, Siu Sin, a ghost who is ordered to lure men to their death under the order of Madame Trunk, a tree demon.  Sounds crazy right?!

This film is everything and more with various demons and ghosts prancing across the film. Beautiful, bright colors and textures make it impossible for viewers to get bored and the action never stalls in this film. Ning is set upon a high speed chase to either escape the demons and ghost that are out to eat him, or to help save his ghost girlfriend from the exorcists. The animation is a mixture of the popular anime style and ever so popular CGI...but not the CGI we come to know and enjoy today. 

The story and color of this film is great...but it's the awful CGI that is the one thing taking away from this film. Viewers have to remember this film was created in 1997, and it is said the film took 4 years to be made using this exciting graphics, but in all honesty, the film could do without. Even as I watch the film today, every time CGI is used (and it is used A LOT), it feels so abrupt that it pulls you out of the story and the film almost completely. Aside from CGI, keep in mind if you decide to watch the film dubbed, be ready for not the most fluid English translations matching up to the character's mouth.
All in all, this film is still amazing. The storyline mixes a lot of Chinese themes including the idea of reincarnation (one of my favorite things about this film) and is a film any Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away lover would enjoy. If you enjoy the animated version, make sure to check out Tsui Hark's live action renditions of this film. 
In 2011, A Chinese Ghost Story  was remade with real people as well! 


Have you seen this film or the real life adaptions? Let us know in the comments below!

Follow us on twitter @lightscamerasia!

Make sure to subscribe to us on YOUTUBE and like us on FACEBOOK
Please subscribe here to stay up to date on latest posts!


No comments:

Post a Comment