Generally speaking, a movie containing not one, but two scenes of urination would not receive a good review from this viewer. Some things are best left to the imagination. This film though somehow manages to make it work.
This is an animated version of the live action film of the same name. When I first heard that I was going to be watching a cartoon version of an already made regular movie, I have to admit there was some fair degree of cringing involved.
You should be rest assured though that this movie left its sandal-print on my doubting behind. Fast-paced, touching, an inventive use of both traditional and computer animation, and with copious amounts of pee, A Chinese Ghost Story, delivers the goods!
Ning is a young man in olden China who tells us that he used to work hard to impress this girl and now he works hard in order to forget her.
Since it seems that he never made enough money for her, we immediately know Ning is better off without this shallow cherry blossom, but admire how he maintains a goofily optimistic outlook nonetheless.
Ning also has a sidekick, a little green and white dog named Solid Gold and he sees Ning through all the trials and tribulations that are to follow. (I have always secretly believed that it is easier to keep your good humor if you are accompanied in your journeys by a faithful canine companion since dogs are usually doing something wacky like licking their balls.)
In an effort to forget his lost love, Ning has some kind of job collecting debts. This requires him to go the city, though he isn’t sure where that is. Along the way he encounters some ghostly activity.
Just when things seem to be dire for Ning, two professional exorcists named White Cloud and Ten Miles appear. They’re pretty cocky and they do manage to take care of the ghosts. but are shortly off because of the competition from fellow exorcist Redbeard.
Ning and Solid Gold survive their encounter with the spirits and the exorcists and resume their search for the city.
Ning wanders around and suddenly notices a big bright, shiny city that has mysteriously appeared behind him. He says, “wow, how did I almost miss that big bright, shiny city that has mysteriously appeared behind me?” Umm, because it was a ghost city?
Ning is pretty impressed with all the action in the city and with the fact that the guy he collects a debt from gives him a lot of gold. Since he’s a ghost, I guess this guy has lots of gold lying around, yet really doesn’t value it.
After collecting that debt, Ning and Solid Gold are simply famished and hit the ghost city equivalent of the Ponderosa. It doesn’t take them long to realize that it is a restaurant that serves ectoplasmic cuisine.
He and Solid Gold quickly go into disguise as dead people. This consists of them putting red stuff on their face and bugging their eyes out in order to look like recently deceased bloody people with bugged out eyes.
They order noodles, but are eventually found out. A female ghost called something like Siu San (the subtitles call her “Shine”) saves them.
Ning falls for her and while she is very nice to him, what she really wants to do is suck his soul out of him and feed it to her mistress to keep her young. She’s like most women in that respect.
Of course Ning loves her anyway. He’s like most men in that respect.
In fact, she continues to tell him that he should never trust a ghost and he continues to be all about being with her. He tells her that they can make it work even though she’s dead and intent on stealing his soul.
Redbeard appears and tries to destroy her, but Ning risks his life and is willing to perish in order to save her. Redbeard doesn’t understand why he would do that for a ghost, but he does give Ning some cool points for it and Redbeard sort of becomes an ally throughout the picture.
Solid Gold comes through around this time, interrupting a Redbeard rant by pissing on his leg!
Much of the rest of the movie is spent with Ning and Siu San as they cross the countryside. The problem with their relationship is that she is allergic to the sun and will burn up if exposed to it. This means Ning has to carry her all bunched up in a parasol.
Lest you get the wrong idea, this movie is pretty much nonstop action. You get battles with Redbeard and the other two exorcists, you get flying trains, a staircepede (don’t even ask), a battle with a mega ghost who looks like the Incredible Hulk with Fabio’s hair, and a tense situation at the point of reincarnation where our two lovers have to avoid a sky full of “void hammers” that stamp out memories of ghosts being reincarnated.
Plus, you never know when Solid Gold is going to get the urge to switch to his Solid Golden Shower secret identity!
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