A Chinese Odyssey
|A Chinese Odyssey|
Hong Kong Blu-ray disc box set
|Directed by||Jeffrey Lau|
|Produced by||Yeung Kwok-fai|
|Written by||Jeffrey Lau|
|Music by||Zhao Jiping
|Editing by||Hai Kit-wai|
|Studio||Xi'an Film Studio
Choi Sing Film Company
|Distributed by||San Bo
|Running time||Part 1: 87 minutes
Part 2: 95 minutes
|Box office||Part 1: HK$25,093,380
Part 2: HK$20,872,117
|A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora's Box|
|A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella|
A Chinese Odyssey is a two-part 1995 Hong Kong fantasy comedy film directed and written by Jeffrey Lau, starring Stephen Chow, Ng Man-tat, Yammie Lam, Karen Mok and others. The first part is titled A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora's Box while the second one is called A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella. The film is very loosely based on the novel Journey to the West. It also incorporates elements of slapstick comedy and wuxia revolving around the central theme of a love story.
500 years ago, during their journey to the west to fetch the Buddhist scriptures, Monkey got annoyed with the constant nagging of his master, Longevity Monk, and decided to betray the latter. He was intercepted and subdued by Guanyin, who decided to give him a second chance after the Monk pleaded for leniency.
In the present, Monkey has been reincarnated as Joker, the chief of a group of outlaws. Joker and his gang are attacked by two demonesses, Spider Woman and Pak Jing-jing, who threaten and force them to do their bidding. Joker's second-in-command (later revealed to be a reincarnation of Pigsy) secretly overhears the demons' plan to capture the Longevity Monk and feast on his flesh to gain immortality. On the other hand, Joker falls in love with Pak Jing-jing. Grandpa Buddha shows up in disguise as a bunch of grapes, informs Joker about the danger he is in, and gives him a magic mirror which can reveal a being's true form.
The group are later attacked by Bull King, who is also after the Monk. Joker and Pigsy flee with Pak Jing-jing and Spider Woman to Waterfall Cave, where the two demonesses start fighting over Joker. Pak Jing-jing and Joker eventually flee from the cave while Spider Woman becomes pregnant with Pigsy's child by accident. As Pak Jing-jing had been poisoned by Spider Woman, Joker goes back to the cave to ask for the antidote, but Spider Woman imprisons him instead. In the meantime, outside the cave, Pak Jing-jing is captured by Bull King, who cures her of the poison.
Inside the cave, Joker finds Pandora's Box, which can open up a time portal when moonlight shines on it and "Prajñāpāramitā" is chanted. He also overhears Guanyin's voice, telling him that he was actually the Monkey King in his past life and is destined to continue his quest to escort his master on the journey to the west. Meanwhile, Bull King and Pak Jing-jing enter the cave and start fighting with Spider Woman. Pak Jing-jing commits suicide after mistakenly believing that Joker has betrayed her love and fathered a child with Spider Woman.
Joker finds Pak Jing-jing and tries to save her by travelling back in time with the aid of Pandora's Box, but each time he arrives a few seconds too late to stop her from committing suicide. On his last attempt, however, he ends up going back in time to 500 years ago. Outside the cave, he encounters a fairy named Zixia, who confiscates Pandora's Box and sears three dots on the sole of his foot to mark him as her servant. He then looks in the magic mirror given to him by Grandpa Buddha earlier and is shocked to see a reflection of him as Monkey.
After travelling back in time, Joker discovers more about his past life and reunites with his master, Longevity Monk, and his fellows Pigsy and Sandy. However, he does not want to accept his fate as Monkey, because he just wants to get back Pandora's Box and return to 500 years later to save Pak Jing-jing. The fairy Zixia falls in love with him after he pulls out her sword from its scabbard because she once made a promise to love the person who can unsheathe her sword.
Zixia and Longevity Monk are captured by Bull King, who wants to take Zixia as his concubine and feast on the Monk's flesh to become immortal. Pigsy and Sandy try to rescue their master but the Monk refuses to leave unless Joker promises to fulfil his destiny. Joker goes off in search of Zixia, rescues her, and they flee from Bull King. In an ensuing fight between Joker and his companions against Bull King, Joker falls off a cliff and finds himself back in Waterfall Cave, where he meets Grandpa Buddha and Pak Jing-jing. Pak Jing-jing agrees to marry Joker initially, but she leaves later and tells him to save Zixia because she knows the one he truly loves is Zixia. Shortly after, Spider Woman comes to Waterfall Cave and kills everyone there, including Joker.
Joker, as a ghost, hears Guanyin's voice inside the cave again, reminding him about his destiny. He decides to accept his fate and puts on the golden headband, transforming into Monkey. He returns to the world and rushes off to Bull King's city to save his master and stop Bull King's wedding ceremony with Zixia. As he is now Monkey, he must relinquish all his human desires, including love, so he tells Zixia that he is not Joker and pretends to scorn her.
Monkey and Bull King engage in battle. When Bull King realises that he is losing, he uses Princess Iron Fan's magic fan to churn up strong winds that will blow the entire city towards the Sun. Monkey succeeds in stopping Bull King and saving everyone, but Zixia sacrifices herself to save him. As she dies, Monkey feels that he still loves her and his headband starts to tighten, giving him a headache. In anger, he beats up Bull King severely before escaping together with his master, Pigsy and Sandy, by using the Pandora's Box.
Monkey wakes up later and finds himself in a cave, but with his master and fellows this time. Outside the cave, in a busy city, Monkey sees the incarnations of Joker and Zixia in a standoff on top of a wall. He uses his powers to possess Joker's body and make Joker give Zixia a long and passionate kiss before leaving Joker's body. Joker recovers and is surprised to see himself locked in an embrace with Zixia, but accepts and continues the romance with her. They notice Monkey walking away in the crowd below. He does not turn back and continues on the journey to the west with his companions.
- Stephen Chow as Monkey / Joker
- Ng Man-tat as Pigsy / Joker's second-in-command
- Law Kar-ying as Longevity Monk
- Yammie Lam as Spider Woman
- Karen Mok as Pak Jing-jing
- Athena Chu as Zixia
- Jeffrey Lau as Grandpa Buddha / The Grapes
- Lu Shuming as Bull King
- Ada Choi as Princess Iron Fan
- Johnnie Kong as Sandy / Blindy
- 15th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards:
- Nomination – Best Screenplay (Jeffrey Lau)
- 2nd Annual Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards:
- Best Actor (Stephen Chow)
- Best Screenplay (Kei On aka Jeffrey Lau)
- Recommended Film
- Ranked #19 of the Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures during the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards.
- Just Another Pandora's Box, a 2010 parody film which spoofs A Chinese Odyssey and other movies.
- Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, a 2013 action comedy film loosely based on Journey to the West, directed by Stephen Chow.
- List of media adaptations of Journey to the West
- "A Chinese Odyssey". imdb.com. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
- "A Chinese Odyssey". chinesemov.com. Archived from the original on 3 June 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
- A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora's Box at the Internet Movie Database
- A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella at the Internet Movie Database
- A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora's Box at the Hong Kong Movie DataBase
- A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella at the Hong Kong Movie DataBase