Dalawa ang puwedeng atake dito sa pelikulang ito. Puwede siyang i-view as a serious screen adaptation na wuxia ng well-known at well-loved Chinese legend called Journey to the West (JTTW). Puwede ring as a family fantasy/superhero blockbuster tulad ng sandamakmak na movie franchises tulad na lang ng Marvel & DC Universes, Star Wars, Transformers, Harry Potter, Twilight at mga live action adaptations ng mga gawa ni Tolkien.
If susuriin siya as the first one, medyo flop siya. No, I’m being too considerate. Fail talaga siya. Inilibing nila ang franchise, hindi niresurrect. masyadong ambisyoso pero kulang sa sustansya. And with this kind of feedback coming from probably one of its biggest Filipino fans – it’s not too hard to imagine how it was, right? Hindi ko na ieeksplika kung bakit at paano naging ganon ang opinyon ko, pero do take me at my word when I say na alam na alam ko ang kuwentong ito. Kaya kung kapwa kita na purista din, either skip it o be prepared to be really let down sa istorya.
Fortunately though, kaya pa ring isalba ang fail ng movie na ito. It is bursting with colors and attention-grabbing (but very very bad) CGI, has good background music, has quite the outstanding martial arts sequences (most especially from a very made up Donnie Yen) and of course, has this menagerie of characters that can hold the attention of even very young children. So if you want a much needed cinematic break from the monotony of superheroes from the west (pero gusto mo pa rin isama sa experience ang kids), why not try the mystical heroes from the ancient middle kingdom, for a change? At least yung history behind this story is way richer (as in a thousand or so years richer than even your *o, hindi!* 1930s-era-Superman), so that’s already a big plus for a history buff like me.
MARTIAL ARTS – Let’s face it guys. Kung onscreen martial arts lang talaga ang labanan, walang tatalo sa HK/China. Kahit ‘di kapanipaniwalang magagawa sa tunay na buhay, nakakaelibs pa rin ang mga pinaggagagawa nina Donnie Yen, Chow Yun Fat, Jet Li, Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan at (syempre) Bruce Lee sa pinilakang tabing. Kind of sucks lang na nagmukhang supot yung sequences dito sa Monkey King (na si Donnie Yen mismo ang gumawa/nagdirect, FYI) dahil sa very very distracting CGI na strewn about the screen the whole time kapag action scenes.
HORRIBLE CGI – Nasabi ko na ba ito? Sorry, pero this one is worth mentioning and reiterating over and over. Do not watch this movie if you want BOOMPANES-level CGI. Don’t let yourself down. Mas emotionally fulfilling pa, VFX-wise, yung original episodes 4-6 (as in 70s-80s screenings) ng Star Wars. Alam nyo yung sinasabing, “Quality over quantity”? Mukhang hindi pa na-encounter ng mga gumawa ng Monkey King (or ng CGI nito, to be fair) yung quip na yun. Hindi sila informed. 😀
FINAL VERDICT – Ayun. It’s a definite pass for JTTW purists. Also a pass for very discerning and/or intellectual viewers. Could be a pass for the average Hollywood movie glutton. Pero good siya for a family treat. Just make sure you can read/understand the subs, kasi although your kids will be fine even without getting into the story, I’m guessing you won’t be. 🙂