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Ne Zha Film Review [哪吒之魔童降世] (2019) – China Pixar Blockbuster

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(This is Ne Zha film review, which is a 3D action mythical Chinese movie based on an ancient classic novel)

If you are familiar with many of the Chinese folklores, then this film will definitely pique your interest. For Ne Zha is using that same character and remold it to form a proper story that makes you appreciate the original take based on the classic folklore god child.

It is directorial debut of Jiaozi as well as the animation studio, Chengdu Coco Cartoon. What’s more impressive is that it also features lesser known voice actors such as Lu Yanting, Han Mo, Chen Hao and Lu Qi. Now, let’s get down real quick into the Ne Zha film review below!

 

Premise

When a Heavenly Pearl is broken into 2 pieces: Spirit & Demon Pearls, a certain conflict among the gods causes the Demon Pearl to be infused into a human son of a Warrior family. Ne Zha is born but with his hot-headedness and strong power, he is labelled as a monster. Will he able to live up to his parents expectation of him becoming a hero, instead of surrendering to fate to become a demon?

Ne Zha film review mob
Being hated…yet he still need to save them from monsters.

 

Ne Zha Film Review

Premise

The story loosely follows that of the classic novel, and is familiar enough to those that know of the folklore. Some parts are changed in how the gods are portrayed, as well as the appearance of new characters to fit the story.

I would say the story does a pretty good job of establishing the introduction to our god/demon boy Ne Zha. It shows how he grows up, and also lets us the world building itself, albeit in a more limited manner. The premise is not complex, and is easily understandable for kids, which is the main target audience.

Ne Zha film review parents
Being viewed with disappointments but also with love by his parents

 

Despite this being marketed for kids, there are plenty to be awed at as adults, as the moral of the story is a very relatable one about creating and deciding one’s own fate. It is also able to play out some clichés in a more creative ways that make this feel fresh.

All in all, I am very impressed at the quality of this Chinese-made animation that is almost at the level, but with some more headroom, of Pixar itself. Also, the comedic scenes are pretty funny and quite fresh too without turning to stereotypical jokes.

It is also able to play out some clichés in a more creative ways that make this feel fresh

Pacing/Visual

Pacing is pretty good, as we are served with plentiful of action, comedic and emotional scenes, making the ride smooth as well as entertaining enough with diverse scenes. In fact, the 2 hours showtime are handled pretty well that I don’t feel bored at any point at all.

Ne Zha film review fire
Great CGI mostly except for some parts

 

Visually, the animation quality takes a lot of inspiration from the Western offerings, especially Pixar. Even some of its jokes and scenes copy some from them. But still, the way they manage to convert them into Chinese-like is still impressive. The character animations are not really the best, neither is some of the special effect where you can tell they use stock footages.

The fight scenes and several others are also quite cool, with plenty of slow-mo and kungfu movements

The fight scenes and several others are also quite cool, with plenty of slow-mo and kungfu movements with some divine powers infused into them. It is one of the first time I have seen quality work coming out from the Land of the Dragon. Hope this will be the first step towards more quality offerings from them.

 

Characters

Ne Zha film review nezha and aubing
Demon and Hero, the different sides of the same coin

Characters are where this story shines in. There are myriad of characters with unique personality and quirks. In fact, some of them are pretty memorable in their own rights, and I’m referring to the minor characters.

Let’s talk about the titular character Ne Zha, his character design and the way he talks just stands out immediately. With that demonic child smile, as well as emo eyes and hair, he is so different from what we have seen so far in other adaptations, where he is usually more human child like with innocence. Here, Ne Zha is clearly a demon and human fusion, with his demonic character standing out pretty strongly.

Ne Zha film review nezha scared
The emo god/demon kid

 

His way of talking sounds like a combination of an emo punk child, which is the complete opposite to his more traditional parents. The father and mother of warriors that exorcise demons are a bit more cliché, but they are done in a good way that reflect the nature of politeness and honour of a warrior family.

His way of talking sounds like a combination of an emo punk child, which is the complete opposite to his more traditional parents

Meanwhile, the Gods and Dragon Son are equally memorable too. The Dragon Son stands out in complete contrast to Ne Zha, as he is more calm and do things elegantly, even in terms of speaking. His power of water and ice is the opposite to Ne Zha’s flame and speed.

I must say I feel for the characters with how fate has dealt a bad hand to both the main characters, as they have to fight through prejudices as well as fate itself. The whole character growth for Ne Zha is pretty good, though can be a bit rushed in some parts. And the friendship between the two halves of Heavenly Pearls are equally touching.

 

Soundtrack

The soundtrack is more of the traditional Chinese music mixed with some modern tracks. They are appropriate for the scenes, but not really memorable, just impactful at the parts where they are used to elevate the scenes.

 

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Ne Zha Film Review [哪吒之魔童降世] (2019) – China Pixar Blockbuster
Story
Pacing/Visual
Characters
Soundtrack
Reader Rating0 Votes0
What's good
Great action scenes
Memorable Characters with unique traits and quirks
Genuinely funny moments that are less cliché
Great characters growth
Creative World Building based on a classic folklore
Pretty decent pacing
What's bad
Character animations are not the best with some laggy parts
Some of the CGI visuals looking out of place
Some of the CGI like fires are clearly from Stock Footage
Non-memorable soundtrack
3.7
Pretty Good!
Ne Zha marks the first step of a quality Chinese animation film!
It boasts some great visuals with unique take on the tales of a classic folklore. Though its not perfect, it marks the first time a 3D animation from China could actually unexpectedly be this good!
[Ne Zha film review score table]
Author Details
An everyday guy who is the founder of Controller Companies. He started it when he was frustrated to find that the stuff he bought had no reviews available online. Thus, this website is created with the sole purpose of reviewing stuff that he has seen, bought, used or enjoyed! Now, he is probably doing another review while you are reading this.
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Anthony L Tjandra
An everyday guy who is the founder of Controller Companies. He started it when he was frustrated to find that the stuff he bought had no reviews available online. Thus, this website is created with the sole purpose of reviewing stuff that he has seen, bought, used or enjoyed! Now, he is probably doing another review while you are reading this.
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