An empress commissions a painting of herself from a Fresh outsider in hopes of stirring her husband's interest in this lavish period piece. The Lady in the Portrait is a period yarn evoking... See full summary »
Gongsun Li is the granddaughter and disciple of military commander Gongsun Yu. When she was young, she met and rescued Ying Zheng, who then fell in love with her at first sight. When the ... See full summary »
Meng Fu Yao, a woman born from a divine lotus petal. She journeys towards the heavens in search of a secret order and to reveal a conspiracy originating from the heavens. In the process, she falls in love with the crown prince.
Let me start with what is good. The large budget can be seen in dazzling. colourful, costumes and sets. The slow pacing, in principle, allows the story to proceed unhurried and in detail. The acting is good, the actors seem committed to their characters. With this good foundation, you could be hopeful for a good presentation of the life of Wu Zeitan/ Wu Mei Niang. Unfortunately, it doesn't turn out that way.
The problem starts with the main character. Her life was interesting, dramatic, scandalous and unique as it was. There is little need to expand and fictionalize it. But that is what we get. Events are altered or simply invented which have her literally all over the place and in an overly sympathetic light. The life of characters around her are also twisted around to the point that history and pure fiction are ruthlessly mixed to an absurd point. Given the reliance on fiction, it is small wonder that the story becomes disjointed, almost incoherent at times.
They could have stayed closer to history, placing more time and emphasis on her later life and produced a far more satisfying and true story. As I said earlier. her real life is a great story. There is no need to mess around with it to get a marketable and dramatic story.
Credulity is further strained in the inevitable combat scenes. These are poorly done in terms of realism and contain the inevitable skilled-warrior-as-super-hero scenes that plague so many Chinese productions. Things get quite RIDICULOUS in this area and one is thankful when the combat scenes end and the intrigue starts up again. Insult is added to injury here when, despite the huge budget, the military costumes used cheap plastic. In comparison to the other, excellent costumes, the contrast is glaring. One would have hoped that with the large budget some credible looking armour, helmets, etc could have been used for the close-ups.
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