20 October 1999 | jacqui-3
enchanting tale & animation
Reading all the reviews of "Don't expect to understand this one", I went in the theatre expecting another trashy eyecandy-piece...I came out loving it! The fact of the matter is, if you aren't already familiar with the Chinese folklore or myth of the love story between Xiao Qian and the tax collector Ning, you WILL find some ideas like the "ghost-busting" strange to comprehend. Actually the so-called ghostbusters have supernatural powers well-associated to Taoist masters, or elites of the popular rituals and religion in Chinese communities. (The other two "ghostbusters" recall wuxia/martial arts heroes in popular literature.)
This animated version is quite enjoyable as far as visualizing these stories well-known and dear to many Chinese. Having said that, there are also a lot of contemporary touches (e.g. the abusive boyfriend-ghost who seems a parody of the various Cantopop megastars giving another one of his "idolize me" concerts!)and musical numbers that are sometimes "Disney"-ish (having a song for the sake of the Disney-mation convention perhaps?) and at others really really gorgeous pop.
So, eyecandy it is but with very creative camera angles and enchanting colors. Very ambitious and hilarious! Recommended even if you don't want to mess with the subtitling (which reads rather strange anyway due to cultural relativism etc.) The luscious images and love story are "universal" enough to understand by anyone.