The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity is too obsessed with ambience and the BL undertones of its Japanese source material.
The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity (阴阳师: 晴雅集) Synopsis
To thwart the rebirth of a demonic serpent, four sorcerers and warriors are summoned to the Imperial Capital, one of which is Yin-Yang Master Qing Ming. Before they even settle in, though, the oldest sorcerer is mysteriously killed. Qing Ming’s investigations then reveal that someone among them is hell-bent on returning the evil serpent to life.
The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity is a movie of extremes. One that’s substantially tough to give a fair rating to.
Visually, it’s as splendid as modern Chinese Xianxia movies get. Practically every moment is an atmospheric painting. The CGI magical action, while questionably matted at times, is also overall eye-catching.
The story is quite another business, though. While there is a poignant plot beneath it all, truly wooden dialogue and delivery render the bulk of the movie a baffling journey. Making it worse is how everything only sensibly chains together in the final moments.
Note, final moments. Several confounding developments are only explained in the last few minutes of the show i.e. after all bashing is done. After you have all but lost interest in knowing.
In reviewing this movie, one also cannot ignores the huge controversy choking it. A controversy that allegedly resulted in the movie being pulled from PRC cinemas overnight.
I’d put it this way. Qing Ming’s teleportation spells do immediately remind me of Doctor Strange’s. Director Guo Jingming could argue that Qing Ming i.e. Abe no Seimei’s pentagram existed centuries before Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme. But with colours and even firey flares down to the same designs, well, one cannot avoid suspicions of copycatting
The overt boy-love elements additionally perturb. Now, I have the VCDs for the 2001 and 2003 Japanese adaptations of the source material, and so I do know that is part of the story’s charm. (Ahem) Still, with even shikigami gleefully ripping off their tops in the final fight, the entire show gained a certain … I hesitate to say it.
The gist of it: here’s a visually superior production, but debatable and disagreeable everywhere else.
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