I love animated films. I think it’s a great medium and has so much potential in telling a story. Some of the best stuff is from Studio Ghibli. Hayao Miyazaki has made some brilliant, beautiful films. It follows that someone else would want to make a similar mark.
I love animated films. I think it’s a great medium and has so much potential in telling a story. Some of the best stuff is from Studio Ghibli. Hayao Miyazaki has made some brilliant, beautiful films. It follows that someone else would want to make a similar mark. Director Chen Deming has spent that past five years, and 80 million yuan (11 million dollars) on his Chinese animated film, The Dreams of Jinsha.
That’s quite a gamble when competing with the likes of Miyazaki, Pixar and Dreamworks. Does it pay off? Well, perhaps in China, but I don’t know about in the U.S.
The story revolves around a selfish boy, Xiao Long, who in a dream, travels back to ancient China of 3500 years ago. In the Jinsha Kingdom, a mysterious evil energy is threatening to destroy everything there. Xiao Long discovers he has a natural super power and he works with Princess Jinsha to fight the dark energy and defend the Kingdom. Along the way he also learns love and courage.
The animation is good, but not amazing. It is all hand drawn and it certainly has much beauty, as all of the background paintings are of actual locations in China. But I can’t help but notice that there is less fluidity of movement than some other animated films. Some of the characters felt corny, and even some of the translated words in the sub-titles were wrong. Is that nit-picking?
And at a conservative 85 minutes, I felt there could have been some more exposition, especially in regards to the “evil energy”, and the creature it creates. It was kind of random, inexplicable. And though it is said that everything in this film was hand drawn, I could swear the antagonist/creature was computer generated. Not that whether it’s CG is a big deal, but if you see it, you’ll wonder why it was so bland and simplified.
And this natural super power that Xiao Long has? Either I missed something, or it is also simply inexplicable in its origin and how and why he has it. It also seem s to be missing a strong emotional connection. I didn’t get enough to draw me into the characters and their plight.
And why does every animated film have to have some little cute character? Xiao Ling has a little dog that simply annoyed me to no end. Too many scenes of the cute dog being…cute. Can we stop doing that now, please?
I think we’ve been spoiled by the Studio Ghibli films. They are so good that the bar has just been set so high that I expect a certain quality. Anything that falls short of that just doesn’t really cut it. And this film, said to be the most expensive animated film ever in China, doesn’t quite show where that money went.
I’m sorry to say that this wasn’t better than I had hoped. Only two and a half kitten hands.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, thinking I’d rather watch Spirited Away again.