Thursday, February 26, 2015

Movie Review: Panda and the Magic Serpent

The Story: A young man with a pet panda finds his life shaken up by a strange and beautiful woman. She was previously a mystical snake, but a magical storm turned her into a woman. Their romance and happy lives together are soon threatened by an arrogant sorcerer who views the woman as evil and will do anything to part the lovers.

My Thoughts: This obscure animated movie, the first color anime film ever made, is alternately bizarre and brilliant. The animation is heavily influenced by traditional Asian art, and this gives the film a unique and beautiful look overall. The story is more than a bit odd, and though I suspect this is partly due to my lack of knowledge of Asian mythology, I also wonder if some things were lost in translation. And some of it may be every bit as odd as it appears.

Many unanswered questions arise while watching, including: Why does a dragon statue randomly come to life and drag several characters along for a wild ride? How come the cute little panda character turns out to be nearly invincible? Clearly, this movie is not for everyone, but as a fan of animated films, fantasy, and animal tales, I found it worth watching for its historical significance, and the weirdness was amusing rather than off-putting.

Content Overview: Some minor violence. Various pagan beliefs and magical elements come up in the story.

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