Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Industry and Business News .




TECH SPACE
'Monkey' to go West again as cinema power shifts East
By Mathew Scott
Hong Kong (AFP) May 24, 2012


Generations of Chinese grew up under the spell cast by Wu Cheng'en's "Journey to the West", the 16th Century adventure epic which is the subject of two major upcoming film adaptations.

Hopes are that the tale will continue to leave audiences spellbound, with shooting now wrapped on actor and director Stephen Chow's version of the tale and another starring "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star Chow Yun-fat.

Lauded as one of China's "Four Great Classical Novels," it has inspired operas, including one penned by acclaimed British rocker Damon Albarn, a string of cinema hits dating back to the 1940s and a popular online game.

"'Journey to the West' is a story full of imagination," Chow told AFP.

"The plot is beyond any other fantasy," added the Hong Kong-based star, who is one of China's biggest box office draws with films including "Shaolin Soccer" (2001) and "Kung Fu Hustle" (2004).

As China's rapidly expanding film industry continues to break new commercial ground, Chinese filmmakers are increasingly looking to literary adaptations for their inspiration -- with "Journey to the West" a time-honoured favourite.

Chow is putting final touches to his 110 million yuan ($17.3 million) adaptation, whose working title is "Journey to the West" and stars Chinese actors Wen Zhang and Shu Qi. It will be the third time he has used it as source material for a film.

It will come up against another version featuring heavyweights Chow Yun-fat and Donnie Yen in the Soi Cheang-directed 3D epic "The Monkey King", costing an estimated 400 million yuan and which is also in post-production.

Chow's fascination with the ancient text was first fuelled 30 years ago when he watched a grainy, black-and-white Cantonese film version of the tale in his local cinema house.

"I think the reason it is still relevant nowadays -- and people still find it attractive - is all down to its imagination. Until now I still don't see it being surpassed."

It is the sheer scale of the source material available in the original text that has Chow returning to those pages once again.

"The story is so creative. Yet it is so orderly arranged and structured. On the one hand the creative process is just as free as a bird but on the other hand the framework of the story is very well organized. This is very unique."

-- "Wizard of Oz" multiplied by a thousand --

The story is based on the legend of the monk Xuanzang's journey to India during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to retrieve sacred texts.

The monk is ordered on this quest towards spiritual enlightenment by Buddha and is placed under the protection of three disciples - Sun Wukong (the Monkey King), Zhu Bajie (the pig), and Sha Wujing (the water buffalo) - who are making up for past sins as well as a dragon prince who comes in the form of a horse.

The story first started to appear on the big screen in the 1940s and has since been used as the basis for such hits as "Monkey Goes West" (1966) and the Jet Li-starring "The Forbidden Kingdom" (2008) as well as Chow's own "A Chinese Odyssey" parts one and two (1994).

It has also been retold in a number of television productions - most notably the Japanese series "Saiyuki" from the 1970s, which was then dubbed and screened around the world.

More recently the tale was the basis of the acclaimed opera "Monkey: Journey to the West", put together by Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn and Chinese stage director Chen Shi-zheng.

It has also surfaced in the Nickelodeon multi-player game "Monkey Quest", which the company last month claimed was the "fastest-growing virtual world for kids" with 10 million registered users in its first year.

Kat Yeung, distribution executive at Filmko Films which is co-producing rival movie "The Monkey King" along with Mandarin Films, believes the lessons learned along the way by those characters still resonate centuries on.

She says her company is putting a very modern spin on how the tale is told. "3D technology can show the 'Journey to the West' like it has never been seen before," she said.

"We want to take this story international, not only to Chinese territories, and we think "The Monkey King" will be just the first episode. There are lots of chapters in the books with independent stories that can be told."

Both productions are underway at a time when China is cementing its status as a cinema powerhouse.

Box office takings surged 30 percent on-year in 2011, eclipsing those in North America. Beijing-based group Wanda is set to become the world's biggest cinema operator by sales with its $2.6 billion purchase of US firm AMC Entertainment.

With the government-enforced quota of just 20 international films allowed in for screening each year still in place, it's an industry in need of productions and ideas, with "Journey to the West" seen as rich source for inspiration.

Hong Kong-based film critic and historian Paul Fonoroff also believes its enduring success comes down to its universal themes.

"It's a tale that has something for everybody: fantasy, adventure, cartoonish characters for the kids, an allegorical subtext for the adults, underlying themes of Buddhist enlightenment for the more spiritually inclined, and plenty of sex or at least sexual innuendo, depending on how the filmmakers want to play it," he explains.

"The story's themes are timeless and have a resonance regardless of one's cultural background - think Wizard of Oz multiplied a thousand times. And with characters like a monkey, pig, a dragon, it's not only loads of fun but - equally important for 21st Century filmmakers - it's a synergistic marketing dream."

Both "Journey to the West" and "The Monkey King" are scheduled for release in 2013.

.


Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TECH SPACE
Google completes Motorola Mobility takeover
San Francisco (AFP) May 22, 2012
Google closed Tuesday its $12.5 billion deal for Motorola Mobility, a key manufacturer of smartphones and other devices that puts the Internet giant in head-to-head competition with Apple. "The acquisition will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing," the California-based Internet giant said in a statement. Chief executive Larr ... read more


TECH SPACE
Dish Network in US legal fight over ad-skipping

'Monkey' to go West again as cinema power shifts East

Yahoo! ditches digital newsstand for iPads

Laser scan at full speed

TECH SPACE
Researchers Improve Fast-Moving Mobile Networks

Second AEHF Military Communications Satellite Launched

Fourth Boeing-built WGS Satellite Accepted by USAF

Raytheon to Continue Supporting Coalition Forces' Information-Sharing Computer Network

TECH SPACE
SpaceX capsule has 'new car' smell, astronauts say

SpaceX makes final approach to space station

SpaceX's Dragon makes historic space station dock

SpaceX Launches NASA Demonstration Mission to ISS

TECH SPACE
Beidou navigation system installed on more Chinese fishing boats

Scientists design indoor navigation system for blind

Chinese navigation system to cover Asia-Pacific this year

Northrop Grumman Successfully Demonstrates New Target Location Module

TECH SPACE
Boeing to Modernize Flight Deck and Avionics for US and NATO AWACS Fleets

Northrop Grumman's Joint STARS Completes Flight Testing of JT-8D Engines

$2.5B jet deal with Saudis boosts BAE

Lovitt to supply parts for Super Hornets

TECH SPACE
New silicon memory chip developed

Return of the vacuum tube

Performance boost for microchips

Quantum computing: The light at the end of the tunnel may be a single photon

TECH SPACE
Nea Kameni volcano movement captured by Envisat

My American Landscape Contest: A Space Chronicle of Change

City's population is counted from space

Unparalleled Views of Earth's Coast With HREP-HICO

TECH SPACE
Ship's captain jailed over New Zealand oil spill

Germany, India in talks over treating Bhopal waste

Italy ditches plan for rubbish dump near Hadrian's villa

I. Coast toxic spill victims want compensation fund inquiry




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement