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Thread: Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and The Dark Crystal

  1. #1
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    Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and The Dark Crystal

    I've always thought Zhong Kui was a rich mythic character worthy of cinematic plundering. And with Li Bingbing as a snow demon, I'm all in for this one.
    3-D fantasy Zhong Kui starts China shoot
    By Kevin Ma
    Sun, 16 February 2014, 09:00 AM (HKT)
    Production News



    Production starts today in China's Zhejiang province on 3-D fantasy adventure Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal 鍾馗伏魔 雪妖魔靈.

    The RMB200 million (US$33.0 million) film is based on the mythological figure Zhong Kui, a ghost assigned with capturing wayward spirits and keeping order in the afterlife. It is directed by ZHAO Tianyu 趙天宇, who made thriller Deadly Delicious 雙食記 (2007) and romance omnibus The Law of Attraction 萬有引力 (2011).

    CHEN Kun 陳坤 (pictured left) will play the titular character, with LI Bingbing 李冰冰 (pictured centre) co-starring as a snow demon. The film co-stars Winston CHAO 趙文瑄, Baobeier 包貝爾 and Voice of China contestant JIKE "Summer" Juanyi 吉克雋逸.

    The film will be executive produced by Ann AN 安曉芬 and Peter PAU 鮑德熹 (pictured right). Cinematographer Pau, who worked on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 臥虎藏龍 (2000), is also serving as special effects supervisor and director of photography.

    The film is set for theatrical release in China on 19 Feb 2015, the first day of the Lunar New Year.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
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    Might get a U.S. release on FEB 19

    This is being handled through Wanda's Wuzhou Film Distribution Co Ltd which also handled Running Man (which gets a limited U.S. release this Friday).

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #3
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    U.S release! IN 3D! YES!!!

    Snow Girl And The Dark Crystal


    Directed by Academy Award Winner, Peter Pau, Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal is a big budget (30M US) romantic fantasy adventure about the legendary hero Zhong Kui, a fabled warrior with mysterious powers who is forced to conquer the realms of Heaven and Hell to save his people and the woman he loves.
    Director: Peter Pau, Zhao Tianyu
    Cast: Li Bingbing, Winston Chao, Yang Zishan, Bao Beier
    Producer: Ann An, Peter Pau
    Genre: Foreign, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
    Sub Genre: Martial Arts
    Run Time: 118 mins.

    Theatrical Date:
    Feb 27, 2015
    Original Language: Mandarin
    Dubbed Language: N/A
    Subtitle: English

    USA
    Feb 27, 2015
    NEW YORK CITY
    AMC Empire 25
    234 West 42nd Street
    New York, NY 10036

    LOS ANGELES / SAN DIEGO
    AMC Atlantic Time Square
    450 N Atlantic Blvd
    Monterey Park, CA 91754

    AMC Santa Anita
    400 South Baldwin Avenue
    Arcadia, CA 91007

    AMC La Jolla Village 12
    8657 Villa La Jolla Dr
    La Jolla, CA 92037

    AMC Tustin 14
    2457 Park Ave
    Tustin, CA 92782

    Cinemark Ann Arbor 20
    4100 Carpenter Rd
    Ypsilanti, MI 48197

    CHICAGO
    AMC River East
    322 E Illinois St
    Chicago, IL 60611

    SAN FRANCISCO / BAY AREA
    Century 20 Daly City
    1901 Junipero Serra Blvd
    Daly City, CA 94015

    Cinemark 20 Great Mall
    1010 Great Mall Dr
    Milpitas, CA 95035

    AMC Metreon 16
    135 4th St #3000
    San Francisco, CA 94103

    HOUSTON
    AMC Studio 30
    2949 Dunvale
    Houston, TX 77063

    DALLAS
    Cinemark Legacy
    7201 North Central Expressway
    Plano, TX 75025

    BOSTON
    AMC Boston Common
    175 Tremont St
    Boston, MA 02111

    SEATTLE
    AMC Pacific Place
    600 Pine St #400
    Seattle, WA 98101

    Canada
    Feb 27, 2015
    TORONTO
    Yonge and Dundas
    10 Dundas Street East
    Toronto, ON M5B 2G9

    Cineplex First Markham Place
    Fairburn Dr
    Markham, ON L3R 3P9

    VANCOUVER
    Silvercity Riverport
    14211 Entertainment Way
    Richmond, BC V6W 1K4
    Milpitas is the next city over from our office. I'm so there.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
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    Variety review

    I'm planning to see this opening day. Gotta support it. You know how much I rant about getting Chinese 3D flicks shown in the U.S.

    Film Review: ‘Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal’



    FEBRUARY 24, 2015 | 01:33AM PT
    CGI excess often overwhelms the romantic spark in this Chinese fantasy-actioner.

    Maggie Lee
    @maggiesama

    A 3D fantasy adventure about a demon slayer who becomes smitten with, erm, a demon, “Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal” comes up with a splashy, game-influenced visual look new to this popular Chinese genre. However, the decision to binge on CGI action setpieces overwhelms the romantic spark of the central characters, played by impossibly beautiful leads Lee Bingbing and Aloys Chen Kun, while the film’s themes of class division, human desire and hypocrisy find darker, more riveting expression only toward the end. Co-helmed by Hong Kong lenser Peter Pau and mainland director Zhao Tianyu, the film came in third among eight domestic films released for Chinese New Year, grossing $10.8 million in two days. With the clout of its overseas co-producers Village Roadshow Asia and Warner Bros., it could generate reasonably more international buzz than other Asian genre fare; a North American 3D release kicks off Friday.

    For a high-profile international co-production that also brought China’s major film companies such as Wanda Media and Beijing Enlight Pictures onboard, it seems a gamble for Desen Intl. Media, which produced and released the film, to bank on a Hong Kong helmer who’s more recognized as an ace d.p. and an untested mainland helmer whose only feature film credits are a flimsy drama anthology (“The Law of Attraction”) and a low-budget culinary thriller (“Deadly Delicious”). Their bet has only partly paid off.

    Pau, the 64-year-old son of distinguished thesp Pau Fang and brother of actress Nina Paw, is best known for lensing “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “The Forbidden Kingdom,” but has only directed three undistinguished films in 20 years. Billed as helmer, producer and visual-effects supervisor, he has coherently streamlined 3D cinematography and ambitious visual effects into a mythological story set during the Tang dynasty. Yet, with $8 million of the $33 million budget poured into the VFX (with 20 or so houses employed), it’s no surprise that reportedly 77% of the production is CGI, resulting in a cold, metallic look that sometimes jars with the story’s human elements and whimsical fantasy.

    While Pau has certainly achieved a lot on the technical front, what the production needs is a topnotch production designer like William Chang or Tim Yip to give its aesthetic a touch of class. As for Zhao, his contributions include helming the “drama” scenes and serving as one of six writers, though the resulting screenplay is a bit deficient in structure and dramatic flair.

    Starting with the same premise as just about every other Chinese supernatural fantasy, “Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal” is set in a universe where deities, demons and mortals uneasily coexist. Once every millennium, demons get the chance to reincarnate as humans, or even upgrade to celestial status. As the date draws near, Jade Emperor (Pau) worries that all hell will literally break loose. True enough, Hu City, a fringe town on the Silk Road, has already been raided by demons who have sucked dry the souls of many inhabitants.

    Deity Zhang Daoxian (Winston Chao) volunteers to save the city, and sends his protege Zhong Kui (Chen) to hell to steal the Dark Crystal, a receptacle for the captured souls that also serves as a database of every demon’s merits and demerits. Zhong, who believes he’s been singled out by heaven to vanquish evil and injustice, stoically endures corporal pain and spiritual torment to master demon-slaying techniques. His relationship with Zhang takes on Faustian undertones as the mentor helps him unleash his raging alter ego. Meanwhile, the Demon King defrosts the snow spirit Xueqing (Lee, “Transformers 4″) and dispatches her to Hu City to reclaim the crystal. Arriving with a caravan of demons disguised as a Persian erotic dance troupe, she mesmerizes Zhong, who believes she is his lost love, Little Snow.

    Compared with other similar period fantasies that play it safe for family audiences, such as “The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom,” the love scenes have a racy frivolity, enhanced by fine chemistry between Lee and Chen. Nevertheless, their characters’ relationship is largely recounted through disjointed flashbacks (not improved by David Wu’s mechanical editing), unfolding in a piecemeal fashion that lacks any grand emotional sweep. Nor is there enough of the wit and character complexity that lent dramatic heft to the likes of “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” (also starring Chen).

    More compelling is the screenplay’s nuanced insight into human foibles, and how the three realms mirror existing social hierarchies. Zhong Kui was a demigod in Chinese mythology whose bearded, plug-ugly countenance was scary even to ghouls; taking liberties with the myth, the film’s hero is a handsome scholar whose noble ideals come into conflict with worldly corruption and the temptations of the flesh. Though he vows to be celibate so he can devote himself to serving his country, it doesn’t take long for him to end up in a hot tub with Little Snow, especially with her purring,”I have low body temperature.”

    The yarn is almost at an end before it emerges that some of the narrative obscurities are in fact building up to a neat revelation. Zhong’s origins, which most Chinese know, are reconfigured into a self-searching saga, setting in motion an epic showdown with a human resonance beyond the sheer eye-popping mayhem.

    Scenes of Chen becoming unhinged are so hysterical that they border on camp; doubling as the cross-dressing Demon King, he delivers a kitschy homage to “Swordsman II.” As Xueqing, Lee is like a sexualized Elsa with a subtly insinuating Maleficent streak. But despite her ability to enliven even schmaltz like “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,” Lee is hamstrung by having to play two separate yet practically identical roles without any depth.

    The strongest performance actually comes from the commanding Chao, who infuses an ostensibly meritorious role with subtle layers. During a crucial dramatic turn, he takes hold of the scene with just the faintest shift in expression, vividly conveying the mindset of a petty official sent by the central government to meddle in county affairs. As Zhong’s sister Ling and her fiancee Du Ping, respectively, Yang Zishan and Bao Beier buzz in and out, providing barely noticeable comic relief. Jike Summer exudes mystery in the role of Xueqin’s quasi-Sapphic sidekick.

    Tech credits are visibly superior to those of recent big-budget Chinese costume fantasies, though the 3D effects don’t look as sharp or vibrant as they ought to at the mainland screening caught. The shadow of the “Ring” franchise hangs heavily over the early inferno visions, but production designers Kenneth Mak and Lam Wei-kin gradually evolve their own visual style, fusing futuristic cyber-elements with classical Chinese aesthetics. Jacky Yeung’s robust and wide-ranging action sequences consciously break away from traditional martial-arts choreography, while Shirley Chan’s magnificent costumes, enhancing Lee’s voluptuousness, will take couturiers to fabric heaven.

    Film Review: 'Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal'
    Reviewed at UA KK Mall, Shenzhen, China, Feb. 21, 2015. Running time: 117 MIN. (Original title: "Zhong Kui fu mo: Xueyao moling")
    Production
    (China-Australia-U.S.) A Desen Intl. Media (Beijing) Co., Beijing Enlight Pictures, Wuzhou Film Distribution Co., Huaxia Film Distribution Co. (in China)/Well Go Entertainment USA (in U.S.) release of a Desen Intl. Media (Beijing) Co., Desen Intl. Media (Beijing) Group Co. presentation of a International Media Group Co. production in association with Beijing Enlight Pictures Co., Wanda Media Co., Village Roadshow Pictures Asia, Warner Bros. (F.E.), K Pictures (Beijing) Co., Shenzhen Wus Entertainment Co., Shenzhen Tencent Video Culture Communications Co., Beijing Tianhua Xiuxing Media Co., China Film Co-Prod. (International sales: Arclight, Sydney; Village Roadshow Pictures Asia, Beijing; Warner Bros.) Produced by Ann An, Peter Pau. Executive producer, An. Co-producers, Wang Ding, Chen Lizhi. Co-executive producers, Wang Changtian, Jerry Ye, Ellen Eliasoph, Pan Xiaoxiao, Aloys Chen Kun, Bruce Wu, Sun Zhonghuai, Greg Basser.
    Crew
    Directed by Peter Pau, Zhao Tianyu. Screenplay, Zhao, Qin Zhen, Shen Shiqi, Li Jie, Raymond Lei Jin, Eric Zhang. Camera (color, widescreen, HD, 3D), Peter Pau; editor, David Wu; music, Javier Navarrete; production designers, Kenneth Mak, Lam Wai-kin; set decorator, Zheng Miantian, Wu Zhiqing; costume designer, Shirley Chan; sound (Dolby Atmos)/re-recording mixer, Zhu Yanfeng; stenographer, Vincent E Toto; visual effects supervisors, Peter Pau, Kim Jong-pill, Bernard O. Ceguerra; visual effects, Weta Workshop, Studio MG, Macrograph, Magnon Studio, Dixom, Pixomondo, Digital Idea, W2 Studios, Mofac, Illumina, Realade, Madman Post Production, D4CUS, Pretzeal, Gianststep, Digitron, Jepet, Anitemy; action director, Jacky Yeung; associate producers, Patrick Ho, Serena Wang, Derek Huang, Xiu Yani; assistant director, Zi Xi.
    With
    Aloys Chen Kun, Lee Bingbing, Winston Chao, Yang Zishan, Bao Beier, Jike Summer. (Mandarin dialogue)
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #5
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    first forum review

    Well, the 3D was really robust, but I had a lot of issues with it personally. Zhong Kui, the titular mythological character, is one of my personal favs from Chinese and Japanese myth (Shoki is the Japanese version). In the Chinese myth, he always wears a red robe, a Putuo hat (a Tang dynasty scholar hat akin to a graduation mortarboard cap, but with floppy ears). He usually carries a jian or a fan and is accompanied by a mischievous bat. And he's ugly, so ugly that after achieving the highest honors on the imperial exams, he gets blackballed. In the film, Zhong Kui is played by the smolderingly handsome Chen Kun, who's only bit of ugliness is that he's a dreadlock. The attire was all wrong. And there was no bat. At least he had a fan.

    I was also disappointed that Chinese Hell was depicted like a big lava pit and the King of Hell was just a Balrog with medusa-hair sprouting from his back. Most of the demons were just mini-Balrogs. The Chinese King of Hell has a very specific look and mythology as do the demons of Hell. Like Cerberus, there are hell gate guardians in Chinese myth, specifically horse head and ox head. I would have loved to see them depicted.

    I went with some Kung Fu sibs who weren't as familiar with the myths so they weren't as put out. They did comment that they felt the film went all Hobbit. SG&tDC definitely had its moments of total eye candy, but like 47 Ronin and part 2 of the Hobbit, I just couldn't get past the deviation from the awesome original source material. There was this device where Zhong Kui would 'hulk-out' into this CGI demon, which made me imagine that for those unfamiliar with the myth, this might be akin to Chinese watching The Avengers - minimal context, just crazy eye candy.

    I don't think it would be nearly as enjoyable in 2D.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #6

    related: Zong Q webcomic

    Ah Ya! What is there to do when the dead come back each night? Run, Fight, Flee! Unless you're Zong Q then this is your chance to get things right by send back each ghost, zombie or vampire he can find.
    Name:  ZQCVR.jpg
Views: 30
Size:  99.8 KBName:  ZQ_1021b2020.jpg
Views: 30
Size:  101.5 KB

  7. #7

    Post Download your ZONG Q comic FREE!

    Hey Ya'll, I'm just popping in to offer you all a free download of my Zong Q comic.
    It's up on Gumroad.com and lists as PAY WHAT YOU LIKE; which for me is F R E E .
    Name:  ZQCVR.jpg
Views: 7
Size:  101.6 KB

  8. #8

    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Design Sifu View Post
    Hey Ya'll, I'm just popping in to offer you all a free download of my Zong Q comic.
    I can too easily imagine what that sword sounds like! Wonder where he got that?

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