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Still somewhat in doubt about this movie. On the one hand I was really liking it but at the same time it's obviously a far from great movie, that's filled with tons of missed opportunities and isn't half as good, epic and spectacular as it so easily could- and maybe even should have been.

It's definitely a movie that requires a certain taste. After all, it's a Chinese production, based on a well known and old, old Chinese fictional character. It means that the movie itself is also definitely a Chinese one, meaning that the storytelling is not as straightforward and fast paced as often is the case with a Hollywood movie of this caliber and the movie also has a very different style, especially visually. And that was the main thing I liked about this movie; the visual style.

It's hard to describe really and I wouldn't even describe the movie as particularly good looking. As a matter of fact, the movie often is very fake and ridicules looking, with its extensive and sometimes lacking CG effects. None of the backgrounds are real and the characters all have a weird but very distinctive look to them, covered under tons of makeup. It's a very colorful and exaggerated looking, with all of its fantasy settings and characters. The fakeness and over- the-topness of it added to the fantasy elements of the movie in my opinion, which is probably the reason why it worked for me. I even liked the wire fu, which normally is something I'm not a big fan of. But really, to each their own. Everybody is going to respond differently to this movie and while some people are going to fall absolutely in love with the style of it, others are going to absolutely hate it and probably can't stand the rest of this movie either.

I'll admit though that even though I quite liked this movie, I still had plenty of problems with it as well. One is definitely the story! I constantly kept waiting and waiting for things to finally develop into something truly interesting and epic. The movie starts of promising but the whole middle section of it is far from great or interesting enough in my opinion. Also seems that the movie is a bit too silly for its own good, which often goes at the expense of the story- and character development of the movie. It never feels like the movie is following a very solid or interesting main story, since it's lacking some good villains, a good and clear conflict and something that it's continuously and steadily building up toward, among many other things.

It's a movie with a epic feel to it, which makes it disappointing that there actually rarely is anything epic happening in this movie as well. It definitely could have used some more action in my opinion. Not necessarily tons of big epic fights, involving armies of thousands and thousand of characters but also some more smaller action moments. The movie actually does feature lots of action in it and it definitely is more action-orientated than plot- or dialog driven but I don't know, something just feels missing and lacking about it. Perhaps it's simply because everything that happens in this movie feels very random and it keeps coming up with new 'rules', settings and characters every 10 other minutes. The action therefor also comes and goes very randomly and doesn't always makes much of an impression and isn't ever anything too memorable.

So yes, I can definitely understand why some people will be having some problems with this movie and why most probably also won't like this movie. But for me, it still had a certain charm and style to it that I enjoyed and made me like this movie, even though I still had plenty of problems with it as well.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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