LEGEND OF THE SACRED STONE
Directed & Written by Huang Chung-Hwa
and Huang Wen-Cheh
Cast: Mo Kuei, Su Huan-jen, Jian Ru-bing, Lord Jian, Ching Yang-zi & Ao-hsiao Hong-zhen
2000/99 mins/Color/5.1 DD
1.85:1 anamorphic/Chinese/Taiwan/NTSC Region 0
Four hundred years ago, Su Huan-jen fought and won against the evil Mo Kuei who wanted to stir the rivers and the lakes. Su Huan-jen now wants to find the Heaven Stone to keep the world at peace. He soon meets the "lovely" Jian Ru-bing. She is the daughter of the disfigured Lord Jian who used to be a respected master before he was attacked by Demons. The Lord Jian is filled with rage and hatred and now plots to move against his enemies and have his revenge. He has an evil plan to regain his former self and power but first he must find the Heaven Stone and then have his daughter make the wish of him to be a human again... the only catch is that the person who wishes something has to die. Su Huan-jen's friends Ching Yang-zi and Ao-hsiao Hong-zhen also fall for Jian Ru-bing... making everything all the more complicated. Will the evil Lord Jian has his way, will the demons get their filthy hands first on the Heaven Stone or will Su Huan-jen and his friends save the world?
The Huang brothers have created one of the most amazingly stunning film in years! Combining the classic Taiwanese puppet theatre tradition with todays special effects technology brought LEGEND OF THE SACRED STONE above anything else. Like they used to do, all the voices of the puppets characters, including the one of Jian Ru-bing(!), are done by one person, Huang Wen-Cheh. The puppets used in this film were approximately 2 feet high. New techniques were made to create more realistic life-like movements. Real human hair were used for the puppets and different stunts were used for fighting and speaking scenes. The 3 years in the making LEGEND OF THE SACRED STONE is the biggest budgeted film in Taiwan history!
Technically and visually superb, LEGEND OF THE SACRED STONE isn't really a film for kids, as it features torture scenes, violence towards women, decapitation, lotta blood and dismemberment! With some great choreography and editing, the fights and sworplay looks outstanding on screen.
The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and it is enhanced for 16x9 television. The image looks great with rich and vibrant colors. There is no complains I can do here, this is almost a perfect transfer. In the audio department we get the original 5.1 Dolby Digital Chinese track along with a dubbed 5.1 Dolby Digital Japanese track. Both sound great with very good uses of the 5.1 directional capabilities and pounding bass but the Chinese one sounds a little warmer and is funnier because of the fact that it is only one person doing all the voices! There is also a very good 2.0 Dolby Surround track. There is optional easy to read English and Chinese subtitles for us to understand what is actually happening.
In the extra department, we get 3 theatrical trailers and a very good 30 minutes Audio Visual Press Kit taking a look at the story, the characters, the creators of the film, interviews with the Huang brothers, the whole phenomenon around the film, the fx, the voices and the tradition around the Taiwanese puppet theatre. This very cool feature is subtitled in English. The film is separated in only 6 chapters, comes in a white keep case with no booklet or inlay card. The menus are static and ordinary looking.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©