Mystery of the Parchment

Probably the 2nd TVB series that I watched. And let’s say that this one is one of those I could chant along with it as it goes. It tells you how many times I’ve watched it already.

The likes:

  • Canti Lau. He was funny at first, serious later after going through some trials, and somehow goofy again near the end where it seemed after everything was over. Do I doubt his acting? No, he was convincing with his role–even if I doubt the plot at times, I do not doubt him.
  • Kitty Lai. It was one of those rare Kitty roles that I really liked in those days and possibly it was because it was the first role that I saw of her so I really liked it.
  • Canti and Kitty. I back-watched so this was actually the first of them. Must admit they were addicting to watch. It was so funny how they didn’t even get along at first–like those typical ones–YET they weren’t that off like she wouldn’t even cave in to him regardless. Too bad their relationship had become subtle later due to other subplots–AND possibly unnecessary.
  • Gallen Lo. At the first watch, it was normal to hate him. Come on now, the villain. Somehow, I found his character of the essentials later on. In fact, he was a bit pitiful. Well, slightly, since in the later parts, he was kind of one of those typical characters who chose the path of ‘throne’ rather than ‘friendship’. Can’t really blamed him since he was a royalty after all SO it was normal to re-gain his throne. BUT I felt he was only able to live peacefully IF he knew he did not have a chance. It was like he didn’t want to live such a boring life. He was so reluctant, SO when he realized he had a chance again, he just had to jump at it. I think it was a constant battle with his character since he was struggling with what his father and the others were molding him since young versus the whole idea of what that one monk said one time with how all of us would become nothing anyway, so why fight (i.e. kill each other to get what we want BUT can’t take with us)? In the end, the greed side won out AND it was also his ending when he betrayed his lover, going against his words. Maybe I should feel pity for him more than hate.
  • Gallen and Betty Mak as a couple. I don’t know. This was my first co-star of Gallen so it left some impression with their story, so tragic. They really cared for each other YET as I stated before, he just couldn’t put the whole royalty background down to live with her in a normal place. What was even sadder was when he ended up coaxing her and using her to benefit himself as well, causing the worst. AND for once, I didn’t feel it was an easy out for him when he went crazy and lost his memory (or what it seemed to be). ‘Cause it was like he had lost everything, even her since he had betrayed her trust–like she said. It wasn’t about face OR about Canti’s character that she forced Gallen’s character to keep his words, BUT it was for his sake AND how both sides could live peacefully, not fighting each other’s countries. YET he had used those ‘promises’ to lure her into telling him the information.
  • Betty Mak. I honestly pity her to the point that I couldn’t name anyone else on top of my head that I could pity more. ‘Cause she was used by everyone in here–her father, her lover, and her so-called friends. YES, all stated to have some legitimate reasons for their doings BUT it didn’t justify using her like that, pretending to care for her yet they just wanted to satisfy/fulfill their wishes. She was kind and nice and intelligent. Maybe because she was too intelligent that she became an asset for others. Perhaps the only person who actually cared for her–aside from her dead mother–was the crazy woman who her father kept in the cell for a period of time.
  • The ancient feelings of it. It was 1990 but they still managed to keep it ancient enough. The humor was truly hilarious AND it moved forward fast enough, except in the middle, which was a shame. The downhill parts was due to the whole triangles–partially AND then the scheming parts. Which was kind of essential. BUT I was overly frustrated with some lacking parts, which will be mentioned later on in the next section.
  • The comedy. As said above, you could actually laugh without feeling it was corny because Canti and the other supporting cast were so funny. The rest of the supporting cast DID NOT have to be big shot stars like in recent series. And being just some supporting actors, they were able to make us laugh. Their ability to do comedy was better than some people who take the leading roles. (Seriously.)
  • The supporting cast. This was the time where they didn’t slap a bunch of characters in front of your face with ‘star-cast’ OR so they like to do it. It’s already mentioned in the previous one but have to put it here to stress my point even more.
  • Wayne Lai as one of the beggars. Okay, this is one of those things with watching old series–AGAIN. You get to spot the most insignificant actors back then. But then the funniest thing is NO ONE cares about them the first time around YET now claims that they’re so good and no wonder they got promoted. (I would be like, “Yeah, really? Where were you when they were playing those really small roles?”)
  • Gordon Lam as one of the beggars. Same as Wayne Lai! LOl!
  • Wilson Tsui as one of the beggars. Awww…he was getting demoted? He was doing so good in the other roles in the ’80s.

Dislikes:

  • Donna Chu as the Beggar Clan leader’s daughter. She later became the leader of the Beggar Clan, of course. I couldn’t find myself liking her regardless of what she was going through in the later parts of the story. Maybe because she was 1st runner up of Miss HK ’89 that she got some meaty role? AND that Kitty’s screen time was cut? (It looked like that way to me.) I rather they focused more on the whole conflicts and fighting OR random humor than seeing her character appear so much later on, sacrificing Kitty’s role–as I said before.
  • The inconsistency of Canti’s character later on. Well, possibly it was because he had become the king SO he had changed? Like they all were in those days OR so we are often told? BUT it was super LAME seeing he would grab at a chance to stare at girls OR act like he didn’t care about Kitty’s character anymore. There was a distance between them, BUT it was like he who chose to ignore it–or something. It was more toward the ending since it showed that he cared for Kitty A LOT as the story was still developing.
  • The fact that Canti ended up with both girls. Well, it was hard NOT to since he was the king after all. BUT I just don’t like Donna Chu’s character as I said before so it kind of defeated the purpose of seeing that happen. It was too random. Sure, he liked her ’cause she was sort of fun to mess around with. BUT it was a joke letting him ending up with her as well. It made Canti and Kitty’s relationship a bigger joke.
  • The fact that they made Wong Wai the BIG BAD GUY. I meant I knew he was evil and hated his character throughout. YET some of the reasoning behind it did not make sense at all. ANY NORMAL guy would be offended IF his bride ran off to who knew where and abandoned him on their supposedly wedding day. Any guy would be pissed off. Though being greedy MIGHT NOT be as big of a crime to pay the price of being killed BUT in a way it made sense that he killed off her family and everyone else. I meant that dude was drove to insanity with false promise, losing face, etc. It would’ve been better IF the other lady just plain turn him down. Her father obviously knew she was with his 2nd disciple (aka 2nd senior to her) BUT still wanted to arrange the marriage because of the ‘heavy’ gift Wong Wai’s character gave him. AND in a sense, Wong Wai’s character still loved the other lady A LOT to even spare her life since he already learned all the martial arts from her family and even the secret one that she and the 2nd senior created (though he had no idea about the last part). If they (the script-writers) had come up with better reasons for his evilness–aside from how he wanted to take over the world (sort of since he wanted to be king), it would hold a better plot. It was too lame and typical. The only thing I felt he deserved of his fate was being greedy with his wanting to be king AND that he had deceived his disciple. It had in a way gone full circle since it was sending a message how IF you decide to deceive someone, you would meet your fate. It wasn’t exactly a great idea to deceive his wacko disciple.

It was good overall IF you didn’t have to think about it as much but just watch it as another typical ancient series with a lot of conflicts, etc. And not to mention, something you didn’t have to care about. But if analyzed further, it has a lot of holes. YET the only thing that I felt still hold true regarding it was still holding some elements of those traditional wuxia theme where the humor wasn’t overly cheesy yet. They still kept it about right. Just some inconsistency here and there.

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