Friday, November 18, 2005


According to online gossip rag Popbitch, a new version of Journey to the West (Saiyuuki, or Xiyou Ji) is being filmed in Australia starring SMAP member Katori Shingo as the Monkey King. It will supposedly air on Fuji TV in Japan starting in February.

I've never actually seen the version that's best known (to gaijin, at least)--Monkey Magic, though I have seen the low-rent Chinese version that is apparently played a lot in China during holidays, as well as a few cartoon versions. There's also a Hong Kong film starring Stephen Chow of Kung Fu Hustle fame, in which Monkey falls in love.

The latest cinematic version of the story to come out of the Chinese-speaking world is the Taiwanese animated film Fire Ball. It's the story of Monkey fighting Red Boy (translated as "Fire Ball" in promo materials for the film). Sinorama, the Taiwanese magazine I do some work for, has a story on the film here.

As a music fan I can hardly stomach SMAP, but I am looking forward to seeing the new Japanese version.


Azuma said...

I saw that movie when I visited Taiwan this summer! I remember finding it odd that a lot of the Chinese was Beijing-accented, with the er's and all. It was OK, I guess. It's nice to know that kid's don't mind to anachronism of occasional English phrases in an adaptation of a medieval Chinese allagroy. Maybe.

amida said...

I think it must be because it is a "classic" Chinese story--people would have thought it was odd if they spoke Taiwanese-accented Mandarin. It would sound too casual or something, like how Americans want British accents in gladiator movies. (Look at how so many Chinese speakers disliked Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon because the actors' Cantonese-inflected Mandarin.)

Were it a truly Taiwanese story--like the puppet shows--they'd probably want it to be in Taiwanese rather than Mandarin. There was a movie like that a few years ago, with a theme song by Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai.

Interesting there was English in it, too! That's so Taiwan. Fantastic.