Believe it or not, it has taken this long for me to actually get around to watching Once Upon A Time- the movie version of Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. Both the movie and the tv show are based on a popular novel that tells the epic love story between two gods that continued through three lifetimes.
I went into Once Upon A Time with a fairly low expectation mainly because I just don’t see how a short movie could possibly do the story justice. However, while there were certainly some things I wasn’t satisfied with the movie, I was surprised by the many things I did like about it. Let’s go over the “bad” first before we go over the good. The rest of this will contain SPOILERS for both the movie and the drama so only read on if you are okay with that.
Things I felt was “meh” or disliked:
- Compare to the tv version, the feel of the movie was a lot more glamorous and fantastical. From ornate costuming down to each scene set up, it was obvious the director took great pains to create their version of the fantasy world in the novel. For the most part, I actually liked the whimsical glamor feel but there were definitely some areas where the costume designers were perhaps given a tad bit too much “artistic” expression. Case in point: Zhe Yan’s “phoeix” look
2. This one was totally understandable because of the time constraint on a movie, but I am still going to mention it anyway. Unlike the TV drama where the secondary characters and love lines had plenty of time (sometimes too much) to develop, the movie had no such luxury which meant other than the two leads we really didn’t see any other memorable characters.3. I am not sure why in the heaven they would do this but the scriptwriter changed what I thought was one of the most thrilling parts of the story- the part where our heroine regains her memory and charged into the female villain’s palace to personally take back her eyes. I loved the scene when the evil villain found out much to her horror that the weak human “Su Su” our hero loved, the one she so easily tortured and killed was actually the very same great goddess standing in front of her. So, imagine my dismay after waiting for my favorite parts, the heroine didn’t get her triumphant return but was instead replaced by the evil villain digging out her own eyes to toss them back at the heroine… Sigh…4. The ending! (This one is tricky because it’s also one of my favorite part of the movie but I will explain that part later.) The ending was so rushed and confusing that I had to go read up about it to figure out what exactly the director was trying to convey.Things I liked:
1. Yang Yang’s costume and style in the movie hands down wins over Mark Chao’s depressing outfits in the drama. To be fair, I think the drama was trying to stay true to the novel’s description of what the hero wears…but I think the movie proved that it is possible to dress our hero in DARK clothes without making him utterly boring at the same time.
Even in the novel, despite his preference for dark clothing our hero is supposed to be a stunning specimen of a god. A side note: One line in the novel I thought was hilarious is that the heroine never thought it was too unusual for our hero to look identical to her master. In her reasoning, our heroine figures that extreme handsomeness must all ended up looking the same. Her master was as handsome as a man/god could be = our hero is also extremely handsome so it is only natural he would look like her master.
2. I thought Crystal Liu and Yang Yang did a great job portraying their characters’ heartache and pain. Yang Mi and Mark Chao’s portrayal of their characters in the drama were much more reserved so it was kinda refreshing to see a different interpretation. Crystal Liu’s Goddess Bai Qian was all passion and fire while Yang Mi’s was endearing and elegant. Mark Chao’s hero was all about repressed passion, while Yang Yang’s is a prince that will stop at nothing to get his girl back. To be honest, Yang Mi’s version was probably more correctly aligned with the heroine’s personality in the novel, but I still liked Crystal Liu’s Bai Qian anyway.3. There weren’t very many fighting scenes but the ones that we did have had great action sequences.
4. The ending!!! The drama version where our hero turned out to the heroine’s master’s brother is how the novel ended. However, in the movie, the heroine’s master and the hero is actually the same person. In the last two second of the movie we see the heroine’s master waking up and that’s how our hero was able to come back to life and return to our heroine. The die hard fans of the novel probably didn’t like the ending in the movie since it didn’t stay true to the novel. However, for me, I have always felt a twinge of sadness for the heroine’s master so I was completely overjoyed to see the movie had chosen to interpret the novel’s title “Three lifetimes” by counting the heroine’s story with her master as one of the two leads’ lifetime.
All in all, despite some minor complaints (most of them I already expected going in), I was pleasantly surprised by Once Upon A Time and walked away satisfied.
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