6.8 C
New York
Saturday, December 5, 2020
Advertisement

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons Blu-ray Review

journey-to-the-west-bluray-coverU.S. Release

– –

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Journey-to-the-West-BD_01

Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) directs this supernatural adventure based on a classic Chinese novel. The story of a comely demon huntress (the irrepressibly gorgeous Shu Qi) and a young aspiring Buddhist monk (Wen Zhang) battle numerous mythical supernatural creatures together, including a water demon, pig demon, and the infamous Monkey King. Over the course of their clashes together, a romance starts up.

Like much of Chow’s previous works, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is a film saturated with CGI work and slapstick comedy, but he does try to tackle a wider array of themes here, to varying degrees of success. Mostly, Journey to the West is a series of set pieces that disregard fluidity in favor of pure entertainment value of its scenes.

We begin in a small fishing village where the young monk Zang Xuan and the demon huntress first meet in the process of killing a water demon (rendered in a wonky-looking CGI effect from a decade or two ago). It sets the tone for the film, with its slapstick martial arts, campy acting, and over-the-top characters. The film then quickly skips to a new setting with a pig demon, and we are somewhat lost for a while. Journey continues on like that, skipping from one piece to another, tied together only by the appealing comedic performance from Wen Zhang and Shu Qi, somewhat out of character as a bit of an unhinged huntress and desperate man chaser.

When it reaches its denouement, Journey takes yet another turn and begins to ruminate on higher philosophical Buddhist ideals, but even this is not left on its own devices. We are given a hyperactive performance as the Monkey King by Huang Bo, which will certainly be one of the most memorable ones of this legendary character on screen.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Journey-to-the-West-BD_02

Journey to the West is a digital production shot on the Arri Alexa with Cooke S4 and Angenieux Optimo lenses. Magnolia brings it to Blu-ray Disc in a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encodement. Although it is HD-sourced, this transfer has some deficits in the area of contrast and detail that keep it from reaching the upper echelons of titles on Blu-ray. The image often looks soft and faded, and there is some obvious video noise, not to mention that the various CGI effects don’t always come across as the most realistic.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Journey-to-the-West-BD_03

The audio offered up is bit better, if a little tweaked on the highs. The Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is aggressive in capturing the action with its discrete panning of sound effects and extended, but not too boomy, bass.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Journey-to-the-West-BD_04

  • Behind the Scenes Featurettes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:12)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:08)
  • Magnolia Trailers
  • BD-Live

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Journey-to-the-West-BD_05

Stephen Chow has grown as a director, but without starring in his own film, he still needs to learn how to construct a film that is more continuous in nature. Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is an effort to expand his palette, but it is patched together. That said, it is still great fun that holds your attention and is a good time waster.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00IUF1AEW[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B00IIPL1JS[/amazon-product]

Journey-to-the-West-BD_06

Journey-to-the-West-BD_07

Journey-to-the-West-BD_08

Journey-to-the-West-BD_09

Journey-to-the-West-BD_10

Journey-to-the-West-BD_11

Journey-to-the-West-BD_12

Journey-to-the-West-BD_13

Journey-to-the-West-BD_14

Journey-to-the-West-BD_15

Journey-to-the-West-BD_16

Journey-to-the-West-BD_17

Journey-to-the-West-BD_18

Journey-to-the-West-BD_19

Journey-to-the-West-BD_20

Journey-to-the-West-BD_21

Journey-to-the-West-BD_22

Journey-to-the-West-BD_23

Journey-to-the-West-BD_24

[amazon-product]B00IUF1AEW[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B00IIPL1JS[/amazon-product]

Advertisement

Related Articles

Netflix Original: Hillbilly Elegy (Movie Review)

A young man's cross-generational journey from poor to successful lawyer in a world that his grandparents and parents had never known is successfully realized by a strong cast and deft direction.

Blade (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

Vampire actioner with Wesley Snipes in his prime as a day-walking half-vampire/half-human self-appointed protector of humanity gets a stunning 4K Ultra HD release from Warner Bros.

HBO Original: The Undoing (TV Series Review)

David E. Kelley gives us an open-and-shut murder case that will be unlikely to fool most of its viewers with The Undoing.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

300FansLike
0FollowersFollow
723FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

Netflix Original: Hillbilly Elegy (Movie Review)

A young man's cross-generational journey from poor to successful lawyer in a world that his grandparents and parents had never known is successfully realized by a strong cast and deft direction.

Blade (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

Vampire actioner with Wesley Snipes in his prime as a day-walking half-vampire/half-human self-appointed protector of humanity gets a stunning 4K Ultra HD release from Warner Bros.

HBO Original: The Undoing (TV Series Review)

David E. Kelley gives us an open-and-shut murder case that will be unlikely to fool most of its viewers with The Undoing.

FX Original Black Narcissus (TV Series Review)

A buttoned-up remake of the classic 'Black Narcissus' in the form of a 3-episode series that portrays the physical and emotional struggle of English nuns to establish a school in a remote palace in the Himalayas.

Perry Mason: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)

A complex neo-noir origin story for the famous criminal defense attorney gets a gorgeous Blu-ray release from Warner Bros.
%d bloggers like this: