First: This film looked visually stunning with fine
CGI en masse, but .... unfortunately it was just a bit boring to watch
too, after a while.
But maybe it's only me as i'm not a big fan of fantasy movies. However
i'm very interested in history and not least chinese history then
and i think it's interesting to see how the CGI artists created the
capital city of the Tang dynasty Ch'ang-an about 850 AD.
The film is based on japanese sci-fi writer Yumemakura Baku's novel
series "Shamon Kuukai To nou Kuni nite Oni to Utage-su".
A slow crime mystery and fantasy when japanese detective monk Kukai
(Shota Sometani) travels to Tang period China and the
then capital Ch'ang-an to solve the mystery surrounding the death of
a beautiful concubine and the strange appearances of a black
demon cat. He meets Bai Juyi, the scribe at court, later to become a
famous Tang poet.
But it starts with Kukai called over to do an exorcism
on the old emperor who is possessed and dies, maybe from fright.
He teams up with the court scribe, Bai (skrivare på svenska) played
by Huang Xuan, and both of them know that the death was anything
but normal. Kukai soon finds fur and paw marks from a cat. The court
appoints Kukai to take on the demon cat and the curse on the
royal family, and he together with scribe and poet Bai finds out that
the curse has to do with the death of the famous concubine Lady
Yang 30 years earlier. Also we have the imperial guard Chen Yunqiao
(Qin Hao) whose father also was an imperial guard and played by
japanese veteran actor Hiroshi Abe. Chen is harassed by the demon cat
and it has something to do with his father and lady Yang.
The History of Lady Yang or Yang Kuei-Fei (the
most beautiful concubine in Chinese history)
SORRY!! I'm a history nerd and just have to delve a
little more into this. Stop reading now if you're bored. Sleep warning!
Concubine Yang is a famous historic person and she was
26 years old when she met the 61 year old Tang emperor Hsüan-Tsung
Xuan Zong) or Ming-Huang - The Golden Emperor. He was a wise leader
and Tang era was at it's peak, not least for the poetry who had a
golden period. The capital of Ch'ang-an looked the most luxurious, rich
and beautiful with amazing palaces and parks.
The emperor fell madly in love with the beautiful dancer and singer
Yang Kuei-Fei and she became his favourite concubine, even though
she may have been the second wife of his 18th son (facts from swedish
historian Alf Henriksson, Kinesisk historia 1967).
However ... if the film takes place in 850 AD, as the
DVD cover says, and imperial guard Chen Yunqiao's father fell in love
with Lady Yang
30 years earlier something is wrong !? Because emperor Hsüan-Tsung
ruled between 712-756 AD and Lady Yang was executed 100 years
earlier than 850 AD - exactly, in 756 AD. Or, maybe i've missed something
when falling asleep in front of the TV?
Why was she executed? Some officers lynched the prime minister Yang,
who was her cousin, because of treason and demanded that she
had to be punished too. Unwillingly the emperor handed her over for
execution by an eunuch. There are famous poems from the Tang era
and later about the emperors sadness and grief after her death, the
one from poet Po Chü-i maybe the most cherished.
The famous poem Song of Everlasting Sorrow was written by Po Chü-i
or Bai Juyi in the film, and he was born in 772 AD, so this film must
take place around 800 AD - problem solved.
The Blu-ray is presented in widescreen and with a mandarin
audio (and with some japanese spoken) Dolby Atmos true HD or 5.1 Dolby
HD and with english subtitles. Only a trailer and a teaser as extras.
This Blu-ray is a REGION A blu-ray