Ten years after the live-action A Chinese Ghost Story was a hit on the international art-house circuit in 1987, producer Tsui Hark creates an animated version of his tale. The wildly imaginative film of a human who falls ... more »for an enchanting ghost contains many of the ingredients of most anime films: an odd, sometimes incomprehensible story, bizarre creatures, and great action sequences. Giant monsters follow our pair of lovers from hell to earth to heaven, with assorted samurai warriors helping along the way. While the content demands the comprehension of those at least 8 and up, this film fills an important section of anime for kids who have outgrown Pokémon but are still too young for the sometimes brutal world of adult anime. A film this creative deserves an audience. --Doug Thomas« less
"This Hong Kong production is an interesting change of pace from Japanese anime.The plot is bizzare view of ghosts, ghost busters and life paths. A clue to understanding this film is identifying the "standard" life path and how the ghosts are opting out.The animation style consists of 2-D characters on a 3-D computer generated background. I found it impressively surreal, but exhibiting an element of harshness. It was less ethereal than the reference standard Princess Mononoke (2-D characters on nature paintings background) Those who prefer English dub should switch the audio to Cantonese for the songs, you'll notice the meter flows better. (I listen in Mandarin with subtitles and switch to Cantonese for the songs)This isn't really "anime" by otaku definition. I give it a good score for its unique Chinese flavor not found in other animated films. Not quite a masterpiece, but worth seeing."
A little odd, but definitely worth peeking at!
Avery | Springfield, VA | 03/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this quirky little gem at a local video store that specializes in foreign, independent, and classic films. Having exhausted much of the anime and Far East categories, I decided to give this one a chance, even though I had looked over it dozens of times before.
I'm a huge fan of animation in all its forms, so when this piece began, I was bombarded by awkward, bulky CGI images playing as a background to the traditional 2-D approach to animation. Normally, I'd find that sort of thing appalling (hey, if the styles clash, they clash) but at the same time, the odd mixture seemed to work in a very surreal sense and heightened my dedication to the story, which, as it turns out, was about China, ghosts, and a bunch of mystical weirdness that really seemed to draw strength from its bizarre visual scizophrenia.
And then there was the story. Firstly, you've got your underdog who is dense as a rock, but ultimately a good guy, his love interest, who is kind of a retread of that old "bar girl with a heart of gold" character you'd see in old Western movies, three bumbling enemies who start out trying to destroy the underdog's ghost girlfriend but end up mainly fighting each other, and, of course, the vain villainess whose only goal in life (death?) is to hang on to her youth. What kid's flick would have been complete without her, after all? Apparently, kid vehicles in China work much as they do here, in that there was also a cute, anthropomorphic dog sidekick that would drop over or growl or bat his eyelashes comically whenever the situation demanded it. Despite the formula, I found his antics charming, and only ended up liking his character more after I learned that director Tsui Hark provided all his grunts, snarls, and whimpers!
There's definitely something about the idea of a living man and a dead woman being in love--it's that darned Romeo & Juliet star-crossed lovers thing, again!--that stirs the romantic in me, so I found myself really rooting for Ning and SiuSeen's cause when they decided that the best way for them to be together was for them to be reincarnated and try to find one another on earth after their births.
So basically what it comes down to is that it looks weird, feels weird, sounds weird, and that the weirdness is wonderful to experience. I could safely liken it to some of Tim Burton's films, if you really need an American equivalent to get a better idea of what you're in for. But it's still kind of a loose comparison; just check it out for yourself, and I'm sure you'll have more fun with it than you're expecting."
Not for everyone
Todd Rennells | Mesa, AZ United States | 11/13/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I liked this movie quite a bit, but the friend I watched it with didn't. The story is very strange, almost incomprehensible at times. I generally don't like it when computer animation in mixed in, but here it actually worked pretty well. If you like computer animation and don't mind your anime being pretty weird I would recommend this tape. Also, keep in mind that some of the other reviews posted for this animated movie were actually referring to the live-action film produced by the same director."
Not a kids film but a great film
nalong_h | NY, NY | 08/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit that i have never seen the original live action movies of "A Chinese Ghost Story". Therefore, I am basing this review on the movie itself. I stumbled on this film at work, took it home and watched it. I was amazed with the innovation of this movie. The animated characters fit nicely with the cgi background. There have been other movies that have done the same thing like "What Dreams May Come". There will be other shows, and movie that have and will follow suit. The story itself is very tender, sometimes melacholy, but these emotions lent themselves to the overall atmosphere of the movie. The relationships between the two main characters, was wonderfully done. This movie was about finding something and holding on, and love. Overall this movie was very sweet and tender"
A Ghostly Love Story filled with fun & humor
reukie | New Jersey | 01/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any fan of anime (or animation) shouldn't miss this wonderful film about the boundless love between a mortal and a ghost. The main characters are like Romeo & Juliet - unable to live without eachother, but circumstances (the fact that one is alive & one isn't)make their being together an impossibility. Yet they manage to be together whenever possible and in whatever manner they can until they can be reborn together. The animation in this movie is remarkable - especially the scenes featuring the ghost city which is as amazing as its other-worldly inhabitants. Another element of beautiful fantasy is the reincarnation train! All the characters, even the most dispicable baddies, are wonderful - especially the adorable dog, Solid Gold, who goes through every imaginable adventure to be with his owner and his "spirited" girlfriend. This movie is a true treasure that I enjoyed as much as my children!"