The Mermaid (美人鱼/美人魚)

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Newcomer Lin Yun, middle, plays the mermaid

This enchanting modern fairy tale about a beautiful mermaid Shan (Lin Yun) sent to seduce and assassinate an filthy-rich businessman Liu Xuan (Deng Chao) will make you laugh. Worth every minute!


Movie Details…

  • Chinese title: 美人鱼/美人魚, Mei ren yu
  • Director: Stephen Chow
  • Cast: Deng Chao, Lin Yun, Show Luo, Zhang Yuqi, Kris Wu
  • Language: Mandarin
  • Genre: Sci- fi, romantic comedy
  • Release date: 8 February 2016
  • Running Time: 94 minutes
  • Box Office: US$553.8 million

Did You Know…

  • The Mermaid  is the highest-grossing film in China.
  • Stephen Chow is a fairy-tale addict.
  • The inspiration behind this movie is based on his childhood experience.
  • The filming and production was kept secret.
  • The main actress, Lin Yun, was chosen out of 120,000 participants because of her calm and demure personality.
  • Most scenes were filmed more than 50 times to meet the directors standards.

… and lastly, my thoughts…

This is the first Chinese movie I’ve watched and honestly after watching it, I would watch it again and recommend everyone to watch it too. You’re probably thinking, “ok so this movie involves a mermaid,”. Yes, it does but it’s much more than that. Why you ask? Well, it’s completely different and unique in its own way. It has screwball comedy, slapstick, fantasy, romance, and much more of which I will be discussing shortly.

The Mermaid is a Chinese – Hong Kong sci-fi romantic comedy directed, co-written, and co-produced by Stephen Chow, who is a popular Chinese actor, film director, producer and writer. He is known by his unique action comedy on screen that his movies are ones to anticipate.

This movie made a huge wave in China. After its release on February 8th of this year, it had the biggest opening day and became the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time.

So a little about the movie. The film is about a billionaire playboy who purchases a wildlife reserve called the Green Gulf and uses a sonar that can cause to get kill marine life and threatens the livelihood of the merpeople. Unknown to him that merpeople live in an abandoned shipwreck in the gulf, or even exist, the sonar has caused some of them to fall ill or die. So, the survivors send a beautiful mermaid, who is trained to walk on her fins by wearing of course shoes, to assassinate him but only to end up falling in love with him. Out of his love for the mermaid, the business tycoon tries to stop the project and the organization sent to hunt the merpeople before it’s too late.

The movie opens with a newsreel montage of pollution, marine animals being slaughtered and oil being pumped into the ocean. As the movie goes on, you will notice that the director is trying to tell the viewers that the world is nothing without some clean water and fresh air.

Chow’s imagination runs wild in this movie. With colorful settings and fake GCI that’s so laughable I’m not sure that it was intentional to look that bad or noticeable, the mermaids’ antics are super hilarious. They’re filled with cartoonishly violent slapstick comedy and the situations are sometimes so silly, you can’t help but enjoy it.

For example, when Octopus poses as a sushi chef in a private room with both the lead actors sitting in front him. To Octopus’s surprise, two other chefs show up and end up chopping, grilling and slicing his tentacles, while octopus tries to handle the pain. This scene lsted about 2- 3 minutes and it was hilarious. Chow is trying to take his viewers further, making us laugh at how much the octopus is in pain.

Speaking of Octupus, I’m not sure why there was half man and half octupus in a community filled with merpeople, but maybe that’s just Chow’s imagination. I think the director not only wants us to enjoy the movie but to also dig deeper in some scenes.

Another scenes was When the merpeople were practicing the plot to kill the businessman and the Octopus accidently gets hit by a poisonous arrow. What I wasn’t prepared for was the cure of the poison, which turned out to be alcohol. Alcohol! Who would of thought! I would’ve imagined some sort of ancient medicine only merpeople hid secretly from humanity.

What made me laugh was when the innocent mermaid was trying to kill the businessman using some poisonous tools she had while she was hiding secretly in his room. She was a complete klutz with the weaponry. Her attempts were a symphony of self-destruction. I think this is the point of the movie where she sees more to him than his sleezy image.

It’s actually a funny and entertaining movie mixed with vibrant special effects. It’s not a clichéd movie where the human falls in love with the mermaid. It’s more than that. It’s also looks at the devastation of the country’s environment.

Chow wanted to make a modern interpretation of the original fairytale, The Little Mermaid. He stated in an interview that he’s actually a big fairy-tale addict. Another inspiration of the movie came from his childhood. He used to live by the sea and was always curious about what was hidden underneath and was then fascinated by the mermaid story.

Despite the absurdities and fake GCI, The Mermaid is distinctive and strange movie and is worth watching.

Do watch this movie and let me know what you think by adding your comments below.

–  Samar x

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