The Lost Tomb: Review

(image credit: as marked)

I finally made my way to watching this. LOL! In fact, I decided to kick some of the other series aside to focus on this one. Besides, it’s only twelve episodes, so why not?

Before I dive in and then after watching, I swear I was looking toward Season 2. Yet after hunting down to read some news, I just want to plain drop it and go for the novel. I’ll just imagine the cast in their roles (minus the extra characters, of course). It’s really sad. I didn’t know about so many senseless dramas going on behind the scenes while following the drama since I only grab pictures and read bits and pieces here and there so I didn’t realize so much had been going on. But after reading some more stories from this one site, I was really shocked. (Check out shimokuren‘s comments for all the details.) Seriously? How petty could some people get? But I guess A LOT. I have to confess (if it wasn’t obvious before), I want to watch this because of Ken Chang hence most of the updates before. I do know about the novels (after hunting around to do updates) and it’s on my ‘to read’ list. That was it. Now that I’d learned of all the mess, I don’t think I want to watch anymore. Besides, Ken Chang rarely appears anyway. Not to mention, I don’t know how much cutting is going to go on with future seasons. ‘Cause I thought because of my broken understanding, I didn’t get the story. But the reason why some scenes were so confusing or if details didn’t add up, it was because of the cuts.

Main Cast:

  • Li Yi Feng (李易峰) as Wu Xie (吳邪). I felt it was similar to his acting in Legend of the Ancient Sword, except he wasn’t possessed. But I think I understood why in the other one since his character was called ‘wooden-face’ many times and how he was so sheltered since little so it made sense. But this one, I couldn’t understand why there was inconsistency with him at times appearing to be lively and getting into schemes with High Shao and Fatty Wang yet at other times seemed clueless or passive.
  • Tiffany Tang Yan (唐嫣) as Ah Ning (阿寧). She didn’t appear much in here, but her character was intriguing enough. In a way, it was refreshing to watch her portraying a fierce character after all those recently ‘trying to be cute’ characters. (Which I swear I had to drop, sorry, but more because of the roles and not totally because of her.)
  • Yang Yang (杨洋) as Zhang Qi Ling (張起靈) aka Xiao Ge (小哥). At first, I didn’t recognize Yang Yang because I only watched him recently in The Four when I was catching up. Not to mention his face was covered for the majority of the time. The image was also different (of course) so it was harder to see the connection. But when they showed different angles, I realized it was indeed him. I was impressed with his acting in here (more than in The Four) because, in the other one, he only had to look good and smile most of the time. (Sure, he looked devastated enough when there were tragic scenes and I sympathized with him. But it was kind of repetitive at times.) In here, he had to act with his eyes a lot and how he didn’t exaggerate was a bonus. Then his mysterious aura plus the action scenes. Who in the world could resist, right? What made me feel kind of strange was how he was less involved later on. But then when I read about the cuts, it made a lot of sense why he wasn’t around anymore.
  • Liu Tian Zuo (劉天佐) as Wang Yue Ban (王月半) aka Fatty Wang (王胖子). Hilarious since the beginning. I think he was natural throughout and lighted up the scene whenever he appeared. Yet he sure jinxed them a lot. Since although he saved them at the beginning, his miscalculations had led them into even more trouble. Then his snarky remarks.
  • Ken Chang (張智堯) as Wu San Sheng (吳三省) aka Third Uncle (三叔). I’m a Ken fan so I will be biased, lol. I liked him as the strange Third Uncle. He cracked me up at times with his overly paranoia too. Yet he proved quite experienced. I was really excited to see him, but it didn’t seem enough.
  • Wei Wei (魏巍) as Pan Zi (潘子). Loyal and brave. I thought he would be some fierce, hostile character but he ended up being part of the comedy team too.
  • Yoki Sun (孫耀琦) as Chen Cheng Cheng (陳丞橙). A made-up character–or so I had read somewhere. I seriously was excited to see Yoki in here and thought she was hilarious at first and then soooo cunning later. As an active follower of her since Shen Yi Da Dao Gong, I felt she did a good job with her role. I will say that I do understand the frustration of novel fans when the writers had created such a character and distracted the audience from the original plot. I totally get it! NOT KIDDING, because I had some major frustrations in the past with trying to explain to some people why I was against some “scene-stealer” that ended up being a heroine in this one novel adaptation yet they dubbed me as a hater. SO yes, I get it, I’m not just saying it to get some people off my back, but I seriously get it. Anyway, even if I felt somehow her character was written well (like how one felt she was senseless yet it was a mask to deceive the characters from the start because she had a hidden agenda), I think they (the writers) shouldn’t have gone ahead with it. (Even if there was the whole thing with her management company backing up with the budget and all or whatever. I can’t stand people sacrificing arts because of some deals or senseless disagreements.) I think I will always go back to Shen Yi Da Dao Gong to enjoy her performance, not relying on this one. (Even if she didn’t turn out as a villain, I still like her because I guess I’m a fan of food so I found those scenes funny. Yet I do understand why some people are turned off by food, not just because her character was a made-up one.)
  • Leon Lee (李晨浩) as High Shao. Another made-up character, right? I think his character distracted us from paying attention to Wu Xie and other characters. Okay, I found him fun and random at times, but it so distracted us from the main plot. The episodes were already short, do we need episode filler scenes too? I’m sorry to pick on him and go easy on Yoki, but having one senseless character is one thing, but having too many is just too much. Either go with him or Yoki’s character. Not both. Because I think Fatty Wang was already a comedic relief for the drama so there was no need for even more. It’s over-killed.
  • Edward Chang (张晓晨) as Jie Yu Chen (解雨臣). Some of his scenes were cut too because he had some fight scenes with Yang Yang’s character. Yet I can’t wait to find out more about his character. So it was a shame how things turned out. I guess it’s a good thing to check out the novels.

Others:

  • Ying Er (穎兒) as Huo Xiu Xiu (霍秀秀). I found her character intriguing. Will she return in Season 2 (if they don’t kill the whole production already because of their petty moves in the past) or will she be replaced? I wish there was more. But I also read that because of the senseless dramas behind the scenes, her scenes were cut too. So yeah…
  • Lu Xing Yu (卢星宇) as  (魯國公).
  • Su Qing (苏青) as Yao Guang (瑤光).
  • Cheng Pei Pei as Old Madame Huo (霍老太太). Fierce all right. I wonder what was her problem. Again, will have to check it all out in the novel.
  • Li Xin Liang (李昕亮) as Liu Tai (六太). Works with Ah Ning for some unknown boss (only seen on-screen to give commands but wasn’t named). Annoying since he was on the opposing side. But I guess it couldn’t be different since he worked for his boss after all.
  • Huang Ming (黄明) as King of Lu Shang (魯殤王).

What was good?

  • Actions scenes. I wish there were more. But I guess the cuts explained why there were so little.
  • The cast. I didn’t have a problem with them, but maybe more for their roles at times.
  • The chemistry between Li Yi Feng and Yang Yang. I thought I was the only one seeing there was something going on between the two of them! LOL! Not kidding. (I read some comments that others saw it too, lol.) I think those were the only times I felt Li Yi Feng’s acting wasn’t awkward. Somehow, they were a good team.

NOT COOL!

  • The cuts. YES, it messed up the story and I didn’t understand why some stuff happened anymore. Like how Xiao Ge was so involved in protecting Wu Xie and leading the way at first and then he wasn’t seen around much later. In fact, I felt it strange he wasn’t so involved in the plot and was seen spying on them at that one event they were trying to sneak into. Yet he did later appear to hold off the gang for them but wasn’t seen anymore. Now it made sense as to why. It probably got cut. Then who could forget the scene where he was suddenly without a shirt when they were still in the tomb. I thought I blinked for two seconds and missed it.

Final thoughts? So hunting down the novel to read. It would definitely explain some of the questions I have.

Oh yeah, almost forgot, recommended? Perhaps not to novel fans, but if you’re watching for your favorites, dig in. LOL! But the missing parts will drive you insane anyway. It’s only twelve episodes so if you have time to kill, yeah. If not, don’t sweat it.

The Lost Tomb: Surprise, Surprise!

One of the most popular search terms circulating on Weibo of recent is “Sun Yao Qi Villain.” That had caused quite a rile among fans and viewers alike. However, it could be explained that her character turned out to be a villain near the ending. Or so I heard.

*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.

The Lost Tomb: A Legend

I was sort of paying attention to this. Some fans of Ken were updating about it on Facebook so I was just waiting to see what else was up. Then finally, I feel like blogging about it so here it is, lol.

Anyway, this production is an adaptation from a novel of the same name.

Li Yi Feng will be portraying Wu Xie (吳邪).

Yang Yang is Zhang Qi Ling (張起靈).

Liu Tian Zuo (劉天佐) is Wang Pang Zi (王胖子), lol.

Ken Chang is Wu San Sheng (吳三省), better known as San Shu (三叔) aka Third Uncle.

Wei Wei (魏巍) as Pan Zi (潘子).

Tiffany Tang Yan as Ah Ning (阿寧).

Cheng Pei Pei as Old Madame Huo (霍老太太).

Ying Er (穎兒) as Huo Xiu Xiu (霍秀秀).

Li Xin Liang (李昕亮) as Liu Tai (六太).

Yoki Sun as Chen Cheng Cheng (陳丞橙).

Leon Lee (李晨浩) as High.

The production had already wrapped up last November. However, anticipation is quite high. This drama is the reunion between Ken and Li Yi Feng since Legend of the Ancient Sword. (Or so I thought.) This astray from the recent trends of soapy era and bringing us into an action-adventure type of feeling. Obviously, since they had to retain the mystery from the novel after all. Hopefully, it won’t disappoint.

*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.

Chinese Paladin I

WARNING: NOT my usual positively cheerful post SO READ at your own risk. IF you disagree, it’s okay. But I DO NOT hope to strike any arguments with anyone. Take it as differences in opinions and that was just my take on it. I DID NOT aim to be right OR had a purpose in pulling anyone down. It was just my own opinion and my interpretation of the characters and/or plot.

What I enjoyed about it were:

  • The brilliant characters created in here, like Xiao Yao, Yue Ru, Tang Yu, Ah Nu, and other minor characters.
  • The fantasy concept. Although some parts were quite twisted, it was all right since they could call it in the name of creativity or whatever.
  • The chemistry between Xiao Yao and Yue Ru–from friends to lovers. They matched for wit and humor. Both of their actings were so awesome that they made it more real, more convincing. I loved their interactions throughout and their tacit understanding of each other. Although they weren’t from the same background (only the same that they both lost their mothers when young), they became good friends/ companions throughout, fighting many evils as well as learning the many things of life together. A great duo as a team and as lovers. Hu Ge proved his acting as the portrayal of a very carefree and mischievous Xiao Yao to a very considerate and honest Xiao Yao later on. Same with Ady An. She was so brilliant and convincing as the spoiled girl to a very considerate and sacrificing Yue Ru.
  • Tang Yu and Ah Nu. Yes, I ran across quite a few people that hated Ah Nu, etc. But I loved the fact that she was so innocent at the beginning and then turned out to be more mature and considerate toward the end (although through such tragic incidents). At her age, what would she think of but pure fun and food? (Yes, others would be more, but not her.) She had a pure and innocent heart, not wanting to hurt others, only wanting to be friends, etc. But I also liked the fact that Tang Yu was very understanding of her and always forgave her each time she hurt him. That was what real understanding was and not blaming her versus what happened in other stories. Because he chose to love her on his own, so he never blamed her. Their chemistry was quite cute at the beginning and quite touching toward the ending scenes. People often praised Xiao Yao and Ling Er as the ultimate couple and all those sacrifice stuff, but I honestly thought that Tang Yu and Ah Nu was actually the couple who was truthful throughout. Despite Ah Nu’s innocent nature and Tang Yu’s sense of responsibility toward his country and his godfather, they both stayed true to each other throughout. (It was thought somewhere here and there that she liked Xiao Yao, but it was just an innocent crush.) Nothing could separate them and they did overcome all obstacles, not doubting each other at all. Tang Yu was disappointed with Ah Nu at times, but he then regained his faith and would think to himself of only bringing happiness toward Ah Nu instead of sulking over the fact that he might not get anything in return. Ah Nu–although innocent and might not grasp the concept of love as strong as others–would always trust Tang Yu to be there for her and to protect her against all harm. Their trust and care toward each other were what drove the relationship throughout. After watching this, I realized that Eddie was a great actor of his time and was glad he was becoming more and more popular nowadays. Because he was quite convincing as the honest Tang Yu and also his sly role as Ren Sen Tian in Honey & Clover. As for Esther Liu, I was impressed since she pulled through despite her terrible performance in Westside Story. However, it was her very first role in the other one so could not really blame her. She was really cute and charming in this one, making her character convincing. This had made me change my opinions toward her and her capability in portraying cute roles also. (Click here for Tang Yu and Ah Nu’s own post and a little more breakdown of their characters.)
  • The many friends who would never betray each other no matter what, especially Yue Ru’s cousin portrayed by Bryan Wang. Jin Yuan was always so nice and kind. Although it was because he wanted to protect his friends that his parents died, in the end, he was never astray, even putting himself in the lion’s lair to help his friends gain access to other info and/or try to defeat the evil cult leader himself–if possible. Also, his touching story with the butterfly girl. She was so selfless and sacrificed herself for him since he had saved her, but she also went to the extent of giving up immortality. Great character also.
  • Tse Kwan Ho as Ah Nu’s father and Xiao Yao’s master. Although he might not have reached the enlightening point like his senior, his sense of righteousness and his care for humanity, in general, were very powerful and the drive to change things. He was very stubborn at times, but I liked the fact that he knew he couldn’t change things but would go and try instead of like his senior who would just sit around and wait. His death was quite brief and tragic, but he was known to try once. I loved his relationship with his daughter. They were quite a pair of father and daughter. They were very alike and I especially loved the parts where they went and got drunk together, then slept on the street-side after they got kicked out of the inn. His relationship with Xiao Yao as master and student was quite memorable as well. The part where Xiao Yao remembered back to what he was taught was quite touching too. A great man overall. Tse Kwan Ho’s performance was quite impressive and was one of the main highlights of the show.
  • The cameo or guest appearances of Achel Chang and Joanne Tseng were kind of cute and funny at the same time.
  • Last, but not least, the soundtrack. The songs were quite suitable and good for the whole theme of the series. Although I loved some songs over the others, it was pretty good overall. Hu Ge was not only good at acting but also at singing since he managed to bring his emotion to the songs also, making them more lively.

How come I never mentioned Ling Er/ Liu Yu Fei throughout? Honestly, if it wasn’t for other people’s excellent acting and the story’s many touching events, it wouldn’t work at all with her alone. There were many subplots trying to tie back to Ling Er and get people to accept her, etc. But I felt like if it wasn’t for other contributions, I wouldn’t have finished watching it IF it was only for her. Because the majority of the story was about:

  • Saving Ling Er
  • Finding Ling Er
  • Rescuing Ling Er
  • Protecting Ling Er
  • Helping Ling Er

and so on…

Yes, they tried to make her character a significant part of the story, but I found it quite annoying since the more they tried to make it big and shove it in your face, you will become annoyed. I meant–yes–I understand why she must do this or that or sacrifice for her country. It was almost as going to take her mom’s place and fulfill her duty, but I loved her mom’s character more although the majority was the same. She was always so petty and NOT to mention childish at times although she did mature later. But honestly, she always decided everything for Xiao Yao and others. It was always her who was right and it was supposed to be for the better, but so what? She never respected them enough to tell them. Yes, she cared for them and didn’t want to burden them, but didn’t they get the right to decide? After all, she said that they were friends, so why NOT at least tell them? It was her country’s business, but they were her friends and they were willing. Turning them down was being polite and considerate but doing it once too many times was just fake. There were also many layers of her character that I might like better, because I started out really liking her for her innocence and cuteness (almost like Ah Nu but I was preparing myself to dislike Ah Nu because of Esther and how she couldn’t act cute in Westside Story) BUT I was so annoyed with the character of Ling Er later that I couldn’t stand it anymore. The opposite and surprising thing was I ended up liking Ah Nu/ Esther more than Ling Er/ LYF. Near the ending, after Yue Ru’s death, if it wasn’t for Hu Ge’s excellent portrayal as Xiao Yao, I wouldn’t have made it to the end. Not to mention Tang Yu and Ah Nu’s story, plus her parents, etc.

Some might think I’m favoring Yue Ru/ Ady An right now. But at the beginning, I kind of disliked Yue Ru and usually don’t like loud characters so I was favoring Ling Er/ LYF more since coming into this series, I only know LYF and Esther and was mostly watching because I thought it was kind of funny and LYF was cute. I DID NOT know Ady An at all at that time. But her acting and portrayal and Yue Ru’s character transitions made me like Ady An better. In the future, I don’t know if LYF can pull it off, but Ady An had really built my confidence toward her with her convincing acting and not to mention, the ability to portray different characters because I hunted down The Outsiders, White Robe of Love, and Love Multiplication afterward (not consecutively of course) to watch. I do not want to judge LYF later since I will wait to see her in different types of roles to say something else and if she can portray different types of roles besides the somewhat similar ones being given right now.

And maybe a bad idea, but since it’s like a habit to be comparing Ling Er and Yue Ru, I’ll take a stab too. I’m siding with Yue Ru, mostly blindly throughout but after analyzing it more and as I’m getting toward the ending with the parents’ generation and its many past unfolding, I realized something. If it wasn’t for the scriptwriters making it that way and tying down Xiao Yao to Ling Er, her character would amount to nothing. Examples?

  • Xiao Yao and Ling Er were married like at the beginning of the story–which I thought was kind of fake because I honestly don’t believe in love at first sight and the fact that she had a childish crush on him since young was somewhat irrelevant for getting married.
  • Most of the tragic stories between humans and a non-human/demon usually involved a third party or his inability to accept her as a demon, etc. It somewhat tied it back and pointed out so strongly that Xiao Yao was at fault and how Yue Rue was a third party to make Ling Er a better person. I swear Xiao Yao lost his memory and can’t be at fault for abandoning her, BUT the irony of it was he was always searching for her and she was the one running away (one minute deciding they have to be together and the next taking off). Making Yue Ru feel guilty was lame since she didn’t know they were married either AND after she knew, she did give up although Xiao Yao finally accepted her.
  • Ling Er was essential and can be used to destroy the world. Okay, come on, talking about trying to make her character bigger than other characters so she could shine.
  • Her death scene was ten minutes or more. Okay, I exaggerated but I realized that many other death scenes throughout–there were lots near the end, but none were as long as hers. They made it tragic and dramatic to make an impression on us but it was even more draggy than all the death scenes combined. If it wasn’t for Hu Ge’s awesome acting, I would have given up or tried to fast forward to see what would happen after that.

Those are just my take of it after watching, so it’s all right IF others disagree but I find the pattern too repetitive so gotta share.

Posted: September 14, 2008

Re-posted: Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Tian Xia Tai Ping

It was an average series overall. It could be said to be a longer version of Chinese Odyssey starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Faye Wong, and Vicki Zhao, but more draggy/ stretched-out. There were good points of it, however. Since they added a lot of stuff in between with royal takeover and such. Robbers and thieves were actually the real good people who helped citizens while royal people and magistrate helped rich people harass the poor, etc.

Eric Suen and Shirley Dai had great chemistry together in this series. However, their story and the triangle stretched out quite a long time and it got super repetitive regarding the whole princess having to marry off to someone else or find a better suitor made it unbearable at some points. However, Princess Bei Bei’s relationship with her mother was very touching and was a great story.

The comedy was minimal and funny at first but it got repetitive and corny later on. As the series dragged on, I rather watch Eddie Kwan and the girl who played Xiao Xiao more. They were very funny and cute together although their relationship should have been focused and developed more towards the end and how they met, etc. There were hints, but still not enough scenes of them together.

Overall, it was an all right series. I must admit this was WAYYYY better than Long Fei Xiang Gong (Flying Dragon) with Eric Suen and Eddie Kwan because although the other story with the fairy was interesting, there were too many repetitive scenes and it was super slow. This one had some development and new stuff to drive the plot better. It seemed more reasonable at places to focus on certain parts more than others.

I must say I was surprised to really like Huang Hai Bing in here and his acting was great since he was super evil in Smart Kid and in this one, he was super righteous and funny at the same time. His scenes with Ellen Chan were way too funny but shouldn’t be taken seriously since this one was mostly comedy after all.

Last but not least, love the sub-theme of the series “A Lifetime Without Regrets” sang by Liu Quan Sheng and Ellen Chan.

Posted (on Xanga): October 18, 2008

Re-posted: Monday, April 12th, 2010