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Journey to the West (2013)

Xi you: Xiang mo pian (original title)
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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.

Directors:

Stephen Chow, Chi-kin Kwok (co-director) (as Derek Kwok)

Writers:

Stephen Chow (as Xingchi Zhou), Chi-kin Kwok (as Zijian Guo) | 6 more credits »
1 win & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Animation

An animated version of the mythical Chinese hero.

Director: Stephen Chow
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Qi Shu ... Duan Xiaojie / Miss Duan
Zhang Wen ... Xuan Zang
Bo Huang ... Sun Wukong / Monkey King
Show Lo ... Kongxu Gongzi / Prince Important (as Zhixiang Luo)
Sheung-ching Lee Sheung-ching Lee ... Sha Seng (as Shangzheng Li)
Bingqiang Chen Bingqiang Chen ... Zhu Ganglie / KL Hog
Sihan Cheng Sihan Cheng ... Wuming Shifu / Master Nameless
Xing Yu ... Beidou Wuxing Quan / Fist of the North Star (as Xingyu)
Zhengyu Lu ... Killer Yi
Chi Ling Chiu ... Killer Er
Di Yang Di Yang ... Killer San
Chrissie Chau ... Killer Si
Hangyu Ge Hangyu Ge ... Killer Wu / Short Monkey King
Min Hun Fung ... Taoist Priest
Lun Yeung Lun Yeung ... Mayor
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

How Tang Sanzang recruited his disciples and embarked on the epic adventure. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence including bloody images, some sexual content and partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Facebook | Official Site | See more »

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

7 February 2013 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

Journey to the West See more »

Filming Locations:

Heng Dian, China

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,456, 9 March 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$18,058

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$215,018,058
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby Atmos)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the highest grossing film of 2013 in China, making 1.247 billion yuan. See more »

Connections

Followed by Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Darling General (aka Chuang Jiang Ling)
Composed by Yu Hui Yong and Hu Deng Tiao
Courtesy of Columbia Pictures Industries Inc.
Under Licence from Sony Pictures Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
HK Auteur Review - Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons 西遊·降魔篇
24 May 2013 | by hkauteurSee all my reviews

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons marks the very first Stephen Chow directed movie without him acting in it. So, what can I properly expect from this movie? The idea of a Stephen Chow movie is always exciting. However, I was concerned that it might be the start of an new era in which Stephen Chow will only direct movies and not act in them anymore. For that, I was both excited and scared to see this film. But finally, I decided there probably wasn't anything to expect and just walked in without expectations.

Fortunately, that ended up being the best way to seeing this movie. I ended up being really surprised and taken away by it.

It's clear that Stephen Chow's passions are now set into directing. He has improved a lot as a director; his films have become more cinematic experiences. There's less reliance on comedic dialogue, more emphasis on telling a story with stronger imagery, and has an improved sense of setup and payoff. He's much more interested in storytelling mechanics and more invested in where he can take an audience emotionally besides just laughs. With the way he structures some of his story, there's a symbiotic relationship between comedy and tragedy that he's very interested in exploring.

Wen Zhang delivers that exact balance between tragedy and comedy in his performance as Xuanzang. He is a charismatic leading man and he shoulders the film with both its funny and heartbreaking moments. When he was playing for humor, I laughed. When he was crying, I found it moving. I am buying him at every moment and he was playing me like a squeeze toy. The story gives a genuine pathos as he becomes the Xuanzang we know from the story.

Shu Qi is very affable in this role and it's nice to see her play a character with more cartoonish sensibilities. I especially liked her psychotic expressions when she was killing off demons. And yes, I can see how hard it is to reject Shu Qi if she threw herself at you like she did in this movie.

Huang Bo is a fun Monkey King and makes a very engaging antagonist. This version of Monkey King is richly complex. It's an interesting take on the character because it highlights a key point about Sun Wukong that's often glossed over: He never had a choice to join Xuanzang on his journey to the west. The Monkey King goes only because he is tamed by the magical torture crown that's he is forced to wear on his head. In this interpretation, he's not completely good or evil. Huang Bo does not play it too over-the-top by enhancing the animalistic sensibilities. Instead, what really stuck with me was how he convincingly played the desperate pain of being trapped under a mountain for five centuries.

The film's gags are executed with much discipline. The gags are zany but not random. They are all building character and moving the story forward each step of the way to it's final conclusion. It's masterful how Chow is able to use comedic moments to build towards moments of sadness and loss.

The thought of no more Stephen Chow roles anymore aches me a bit but his presence is felt here. He has delivered a well-made film. Fortunately the film is done well enough to help me get over my aching and accept him now as only a film director. I look forward to seeing him continually improve as a storyteller and to the next installment in this series.

For more reviews, please visit my blog @ http://hkauteur.wordpress.com


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