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The Tangential Thoughts of MiniOrchid #4

Shadow (Film Star Sun Li & Deng Chao, Director Yimou Zhang, Letv Youtube Engsub) 

The Shadow that becomes the Master. Commander over the King….Or the Wild Princess who takes back her honor from her betrothed. What is the tale of this journey?

With the internationally acclaimed House of Flying Dagger to Hero, Yimou’s art is never calls into question. Until, the Great Wall that is. Many netizens including myself wonder if the Director has lost his magic. In the past, Yimou’s colors will forever be engraved for those who watch his films. Not to say that the Great Wall lack color scheme, it was probably too colorful for the setting. Especially one has to question why the army color-coded specific skills for their soldiers to their enemies. Seriously…WTH?!? This put them on the same level of plot stupidity as Armageddon, where instead of teaching Astronauts to become Drillers, they decided to teach Drillers to become Astronauts. 

Let’s set the debate aside because of Yimou’s achievement. His first prominent film known to the Western world, Raise the Red Lantern, starred Gong Li was still memorable today. Colors had always been his focus, a meticulous selective technique which drew the viewers behind his lenses. Before one even realizes, we’re become lost within the color scheme of the vibrant world of which he created. 

My initial thought when I watched Shadow is that it reminds me of Suminagashi, a Japanese floating water ink marbling technique from the 12th Century. I remember the first time I tried to create such a canvas at the age of thirteen. A youth long forgotten, but the memory still remains. By manipulating the shades of expanding ink, the graceful swirl floated freely. Until, the moment the silk paper is placed over the surface of the water, imprinting the permanent art. However, to make one’s canvas memorable, we can never use too much of the bold dye. Within the shades of grey, the colors can only shine brilliantly with a trace of noticeable hue.

Fifty Shades of Grey has nothing on this Masterpiece. Shadow (Ying)….A canvas that comes to life. Every scene are picturesque like the Black and White cinematography before Dorothy reached Oz. With only the touch of color of the flesh, Yimou tells us that these characters are much like you and I. Human with blood and tears, forever bound by the duties that weigh us down.      

The King of Blaze (CDrama, 28 Episodes, Ongoing on Viki)  Without mythology, the writers could only turn all magical stories into sci-fi. The introduction humorously reminds us of Superman landing on earth, omit the fact that this is a grown Alien. The first episode is probably the most lackluster intro of the year. Unlike Ever Night, Untold Stories of Tang, Oriental Odyssey, and many other web series, Blazes didn’t even try to hold on to the viewers' interest. 

With a one dimensional crew, except for the Wolf Bandit, Hao Yue (Zhang Yi Jie), everyone are a bore. In fact, it was so boring I starts to pretend this is a bromance turns romance between Zhong Tian (Bolin Chen) and Hao Yue. At least they have better chemistry than the couple themselves. I admit having a little soft spot for Zhang Yi Jie, because of Not Easy Being King, Untouchable Lover, and Memory Lost. At the age of 19, his resume is quite impressive with a variety of roles under his belt. But since I could only last two episodes, I will not know if these two will run into the sunset together. 

Doushitemo Furetakunai (BL Manga and Live Action Film) Yoneda Kou, who previously started as a mangaka for Doujinshi (fanfiction for mangas), made her name for herself when Doushitemo Furetakunai (Not Touching at All, 2008) publishes a decade ago. It was a sleeper hit because unlike other mangaka who uses smut to draw the readers, her works have always been about character development — stories which are told through dialogues and subtle gestures, a signature Art of all her own. 

That’s why, when a live-action version is announced, there was much speculation if the actors could pull off the layers of her characters. Without the internal monologues, Yonehara Kousuke(Shima) and Taniguchi Kenji(Togawa) have to translate those emotional turmoils to the screen. As a fan and a skeptic of any live action from a masterpiece, the film did not disappoint. Not only did they kept most of the original dialogues, but even the atmosphere was also the same. Still, the intimacy was tone down, leaving the viewers to have no other choice but to reread the manga.  


Author's Note: I finally completed The Greed of Man. I must had watched Yammie's ending 20 plus times by now. A Hong Kong Classic where the majority of the cast died the most horrific ways. Why did I rewatched it? It's because all the actors did an outstanding job, leaving me scarred and broken....😭😭😭

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