In ancient China, the Jade Emperor is the ruler during the upcoming event where demons can rise into human form. He is concerned with the upcoming event because the demons have already attacked a small nearby village and they won’t stop there. If they are allowed to rise, they could kill everyone in the kingdom. Zhang Daoxian is an immortal who tells the emperor that he will steal a powerful relic called The Dark Crystal and stop this problem from escalating into more deaths. The emperor agrees and hopes that this can be stopped as soon as possible.
I did enjoy the movie and it plays out like a lot of the Asian cinema fantasy films out there. The camera work and shots are well framed and show a lot of the settings in each scene. However, there is one huge issue that stops any hope for immersion into the film: the CGI. With some of the advancements in the technology, the CGI made the movie look like it was from the mid to late 90’s. The first thing it brought to mind is the main demon, Malebolgia, from the live action US movie SPAWN. CGI was newer and very expensive back then but I feel like in this case, there were either budget issues or a timing thing. This unfortunately took away from the movie in a big way, enough that I had to make a point to mention it here.
The video is a clean 1080p AVC transfer for this beautiful looking movie. The details have crisp, distinct lines that allows the color to contrast nicely. Aside from the unnatural coloring that some of the demons and gods might have, the colors come across as very natural. The reds in the palace stand out and look great. The hues of the skin tones are natural and transfer precisely the way the filmmakers wanted from its digital source. There is some minor crushing/blocking in the darker scenes but not thing to take away from the viewing experience. Overall, the video is strong despite the bad CGI.
The mandarin DTS-HD MA 5.1 is an excellent mix. The sound effects are crucial in helping to tell this type of story and the mix is filled with them. The effects are clean and separate with very distinct sounds coming from their designated source. One of the scenes that uses the sound mix the best is during one of the fights between a god and a demon. There is sound coming from all around the home theater and it does a lot of sweeping from speaker to speaker. The bass is robust but never too much or over used. Also, the treble is high and clean with ice magic cracking against demons in various scenes. The voices are in sync with the speech on screen and they’re reproduced very well.
The Music Journey
1 Blu-ray Disc
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0
SNOW GIRL AND THE DARK CRYSTAL tells an interesting tale and the acting is good. It is one of the better Asian fantasy stories but, as I said earlier, the CGI is one big blemish. It takes away from the experience and makes it hard to get back into the movie. The Blu-ray itself is clean with great audio and video. My recommendation is to check it out and make your own opinion because you may not have the have experience that I did.