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Well,I must say, this is my first Vietnamese film viewing that has nothing to lớn dowith the action there during the 1960s and early ‘70s. This is more the sweepingepic kind of period story one would expect from either Japan, or especiallyChina; Crouching Tiger, Hidden dragon (2000)comes lớn mind.

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Asiahas a history of taking Western stories & Easternizingthem, such as Macbeth (Throne of Blood, 1957) & King Lear (Ran, 1985). Then again, the West has taken the Eastern stories aswell, and either transplanted them (TheMagnificent Seven, 1960; A Fistful ofDollars, 1964;, more recently TheRing, 2002), or merely placed themselves in the story in Asia (Shogun, 1980 and The Great Wall, 2016, for example).
Forthis release, it is in part a reimagining of the Cinderella story, mix in themagical past of Mainland Southeast Asia. We see sweeping vistas and mountain castles asthe camera swoops & flies in both the real & digital realm, và it’s allbeautiful và lush (and easy to distinguish between the two, but that’salright).
Ha Vi & Isaac

Evenbefore the credits, the handsome prince with Spock-like eyebrows, hoàng thái tử (translatedas “Prince”; Isaac), is all bedecked in gold armor while racing khổng lồ see hisdying father. He & his posse almostruns over trọng tâm (“Center”; Ha Vi), & it is love at first sight. But, as thestory goes, he takes off without finding out who she is, which he will laterregret.

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Whilepretty accurate to lớn the Grimm’s Fairy Tale, there is also a lot of minor tweakingalong the way. For example, along with the evil step-mother dì ghẻ (“StepMother”; director Veronica Ngo), there is only one nasty step-sibling, Cảm (“Cold”;Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc), who is a horribly spoiled brat. Also, rather than a fairygodmother, there is a fairy godfather, But (“Shoes”; scene stealer Loc Thanh),who is obviously based on the Robin Williams’ Genie character from the animatedAladdin (1992). He has a nasty senseof humor và also mentions things that have no place in the story or time, suchas the Energizer Bunny. Dressed like the white Wizard phase of Gandalf (sans hoodie), with eyebrows that go downto his chin, he is quite hysterical.
TheCinderella part is actually quite abbreviated, even if it gets the most credit,with the entire story taking only the first 30 minutes. For example, the whole“fit the foot to lớn the shoe” bit takes place at the initial ball when chổ chính giữa firstwalks in dressed in her fine outfit.
Peoplemay not remember this, but fairy tales were often quite dark, such as in theoriginal Cinderella story, one of the step-sisters cuts off part of her foot totry and make the shoe fit. Here, while nothing this gruesome visually occurs,there ae some sad and surprising moments with death, the threat of murder, andwar never far away. You may certainly begin lớn wonder about the “Happily EverAfter” part.
Huu Chau

Thereare many layers of fantasy here, including ghost stories, reincarnation, and abit of another Fairy Tale, “Beauty and the Beast.” I’m not necessarily up on myTales since I haven’t read them (or had them read to me) since I was a small kinder, but there is much in the way of intrigue,betrayal và resurrection. And like many Tales, this is a bit over the top;honestly, though, this is the kind of production that is built for it. When Iwas in Xi’an, China, a few years ago, I saw an opera/ballet called A tuy vậy of Everlasting Sorrow, about thefirst Emperor of china and his Concubine; there are some similarities here, aswell. This also is a story of love that goes beyond death, treachery andfriendship.
Asfor the betrayals, some come as a surprise (as they should be in the true definitionof the word), but the obvious one is the main villain, a Fu Manchu-ish, Saruman-likeMagistrate, quá Tướng (“Prime Minister”; Huu Chau). He is more cartoonish in aMing the Merciless way, though the main difference is that he is actually is played by an Asian actor (unlikeanyone in the West who has played Mr. Merciless).
Ngoc Trai

Alongwith the character But, my favorite is Nguyên Lực (“Resources”; Ngoc Trai): whois a friend khổng lồ the prince, và also an outstanding comic relief. Trai is neverridiculous to lớn the point of losing credibility, sort of in the way that Donald O’Connorwould play lớn the likes of gen Kelly.
Ofcourse, there must be sweeping battle scenes, và there are a few, which arevery well composed và shot. Yeah, they fly through the air with the greatestof ease, though not always getting the outcome you might expect. Once again,there is a strong mix between real, harnesses, and digital. The kết thúc andinevitable battle between good and evil is nearly all Digi, and it looks a bitsilly và great at the same time.
Thestory is, well, a Fairy Tale, và I wonder how much of it is based onVietnamese folklore that I haven’t a clue about. I mean, while someone in theWest may wonder, what?!, I’m betting there’sprobably somebody saying the same thing there about a story of someone who isnailed to a piece of wood và comes back lớn life three days later. It’s all perceptionand culture.

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Thelovely director Ngo, who can also be seen in the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), does a splendid job with hersecond directed film in bringing this all together, and I’m looking forward toseeing more of her output.
Posted byRobert Barry Francosat2:01 AM

Labels:Asian Cinema,Cinderella,Cleopatra Entertainment,Fairy Tale,Indie Horror Films,MVD Visual,Ngo Thanh Van,Richard Gary,Tam Cam The Untold Story;Tam Cam Chuyen Chura Ke,Veronica Ngo,Vietnam Cinema
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