11 August 2018 | Wizard-8
Strange, goofy, but never dull
I wanted to see this movie for quite some time after hearing that it was a smash hit in its native China; I wanted to see what regular Chinese people found so appealing. After seeing it, in some ways I am at a loss for words. The movie is a fantasy comedy, though both the fantasy and the comedy will seem very strange to most westerners. The fantasy portions are unlike anything in Hollywood movies, and they sometimes seem to depend on viewers having an extensive knowledge of ancient Chinese culture; if you don't have that, you'll probably be lost at times, like I was. And the humor is far from subtle, much of it being extreme slapstick that westerns might find extremely excessive. But the movie is so different in these two regards, that I was always interested to see what was coming next, since I had never seen a movie like this before. This is definitely not a boring movie. And the movie looks extremely polished for the most part, though the CGI is a bit too cartoony at times.... though this might have been intentional, to give the movie a goofy feel. While I think that many casual western moviegoers might find the whole package a bit bewildering, viewers who want something different and fun will probably find this an amusing diversion.