Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Journey to the West (2013)

IMDb plot summary: Tang Sanzang, an aspiring Buddhist hero tries to protect a village from three demons. He develops complex feelings for Miss Duan, the demon hunter who repeatedly helps him, and finally quests to meet the legendary Monkey King.
Directed by Steven Chow and Chi-kin Kwok. Starring Qi Shu, Zhang Wen, Bo Huang, and Show Lo.

(Spoilers ahead.)

Tonally, this is such a confusing movie. It seems to be mostly an over-the-top slapstick farcical adventure, but then there are these genuinely heartwrenching death scenes, as well as an equally heartwrenching scene where the hero laments his inability to save them (this moment is bizarrely played for laughs). It is even more confusing when we get to the end and discover that everything we've seen so far is just... the buildup to a sequel. Like, really. It's not that one story ends and another one begins, it's that the entire *point* of this one is to be generic back story for our main character. That's a frustrating way to structure your movie, and I didn't appreciate it. There are a lot of really great individual parts, and I laughed out loud several times, but as a whole the movie is disappointing.

2 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Journey to the West < Death at a Funeral (2007)
Journey to the West > Secondhand Lions
Journey to the West > Over the Hedge
Journey to the West < Nacho Libre
Journey to the West < Near Dark
Journey to the West > Casino Royale
Journey to the West > Ocean's Twelve
Journey to the West > Einstein and Eddington
Journey to the West < Mission: Impossible
Journey to the West < The Deer Hunter
Journey to the West < Star Wars Uncut
Journey to the West > Little Lord Fauntleroy

Final spot: #1553 out of 2602.

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