Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 23rd, 2006
Above the Zu Mountain range, on floating peaks and the like, live various clans of immortals. They must unite to fight off the attack of a returning enemy: the dreaded demon Insomnia. The united efforts of the clans meet with plenty of problems, including star-crossed lovers, and humans from down below wind up being dragged into the battle, too.
At least, that’s what I’ve been able to make of this. Tsui Hark’s remake plays out like a showcase demo disc for the Hong Kong special eff…cts industry. The results are certainly eye-popping in a CGI way, but lacking any real grounding in a coherent narrative, after a while the FX become tiresome. It’s all very frenzied, but might just as well be the world’s longest video game cut scene, with all of the context removed. The English language version has had some 24 minutes clipped from the running time, but given how nonsensical this all is, I doubt many would notice. Still, this is an unforgivable butchering of someone else’s art. Thank goodness both versions are provided here.
The film is pretty much non-stop razzle dazzle, and so the sound needs to be up to the challenge if the film’s main quality is to come through effectively. Call the results close, but no cigar. There are plenty of nice FX moments, and all sorts of wind-whooshing sounds roaring through the speakers, so the surround is fine. The dialogue is clear and undistorted.. The volume, however, is rather low, and thus the track doesn’t quite have the power it should have. The 2.0 English language version is much the same, and though the dubbing sounds odd as ever, the match-up with the lip movements is surprisingly good.
The colours are absolutely sumptuous, and barring some very minor grain, the picture is perfectly sharp and clean. Contrasts and blacks are first-rate, too, as are the skin tones. So the film may look more plastic than organic what with all the computer imagery (one is startled whenever an actual location shot crops us), but it’s a very spiffy plastic.
Other than the fact that there are two versions of the film here, the only extra is a subtitled making-of featurette, which is strictly promotional. The menu is basic.
Talk about eye candy. But here is proof that no matter how pretty that candy is, we still need some sort of workable story.
Special Features List
- Making-of Featurette