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The future of Chinese animation lies in its mythological past

Like Chinese Animation? The Gazette's film critic is pretty sure that if you don't now, then you soon will as tales like Jiang Ziya become more and more prevalent even in North America.


Jiang Ziya

Stars: 4.5

Starring the voices of Zheng Xi, Yang Ning, Tute Hameng, Yan Meme, Hi Guanlin, and Shan Xin

Directed by Teng Cheng and Wei Li

Written by Xie Xiying

Runtime: 110 minutes

Unrated, but features scenes of violence

Now available on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD

Fans of animated movies should seek out work from other countries. It’s definitely an eye-opening experience, that's for certain. If it doesn't offer a primer on how other cultures and countries produce their storytelling, it will at least stand as a contrast to such work from our own continent that you would be more familiar with.

Take the new blockbuster Beijing Enlight Pictures effort, Jiang Ziya. The work is definitely impressive and absolutely not Disneyified. It's a fantasy action adventure story based on the mythological tale from China's Investiture of the Gods from the Ming Dynasty. The hero Jiang is a Taoist nobleman who must cleanse the country of the enmity of the Fox Spirit Clan leader who started a large war. But there are supernatural forces at work, with mythological creatures and otherworldly demons playing with their powers and weapons too. This new animated movie is a far cry from The Croods, even Mulan... the cartoony version, not the more recent live action one.

That being said, there’s a bit too much blood, even within the first minute of the film. It isn't pervasive in the film but I did find it to be reminiscent of Heavy Metal at times... it has that kind of graphic 'fantasy' violence. I’d say this should be reserved for more mature audiences, though ones who can still appreciate the artistry that go into such colossal efforts. I appreciate it, for what it's worth.

I anticipate that more films like this colourful tale with its colourful imagery will become more and more prevalent in North America, so it's probably time to start learning, viewing and appreciating them. I must admit that for me it's still a bit of an acquired taste, but there was more than enough there to stimulate my interest for more. Beijing, are you listening? Please make more. I'm ready for the challenge.


Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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