Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons [Blu-Ray]
Director: Stephen Chow, Chi-kin Kwok (as Derek Kwok)
Cast: Zhang Wen, Qi Shu, Bo Huang
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
A story centered on Tang Sanzang, a Buddhist trying to protect a village from three demons, his emerging feelings for Miss Duan, the demon hunter who helps him repeatedly, and Sanzang’s transformative encounter with the Monkey King.
‘Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons’ is the latest film from acclaimed Stephen Chow whom many may already be familiar with, if not by name then at least by two of his more recognized films ‘Shaolin Soccer’ and ‘Kung Fu Hustle.’ ‘Journey to the West’ tells the tale of a demon hunter who while learning the ways of the hunt and how to properly handle battling these demons, comes into contact with a beautiful female demon hunter who soon falls head over heels in love with him and is determined to make him her husband. Along the journey bonds will be formed, demons will be fought and loyalties will be tested, but there will also be a lot of fun and laughs along the way, at least for us viewers following these heroes on their journey.
Stephen Chow has definitely succeeded in bringing yet another impressive, well constructed blockbuster our way, once again maintaining a perfect balance between breathtaking fight sequences and an impressive quantity of laughs. I loved every minute of this film and I can’t even begin to count just how many times it had me laughing hysterically, often so hard that I had to force myself to stop in order to keep my concentration on the movie’s progression. While Stephen Chow does not appear in the film himself this time as he did in Soccer & Hustle, he certainly does an impressive job of handling the roles of director, writer and producer quite flawlessly and the cast still does a fantastic job all around.
Fans of Chow’s previous films will absolutely want to check this one out, and would probably even be safe with a blind buy on this one. While I’m not huge into the martial arts film genre in general, I usually find myself enjoying the one’s I do check out, and ever since catching ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ at my local theatre nearly a decade ago I have been a fan of Chow’s work and really love how well he balances the martial arts and comedy aspects, always delivering impressive fight sequences in addition to tons of laughs.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty solid overall and no real issues could be found within on my end. All of the colors, costumes and amazing attention to detail are beautifully displayed in this high definition video presentation. Everything looks sharp, detailed and flawless in almost every regard and I believe fans will be quite satisfied.
The Blu-Ray release features both a Mandarin lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in addition to an English Dubbed lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. As I always prefer to watch film’s in their native language, I of course chose to view the film with the original Mandarin soundtrack and English Subtitles. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds pretty fantastic and is consistently throwing music, noises and all kinds of effects around you throughout all five of the channels without ever detracting from the audibility of the dialogue. It’s unfortunate that a 7.1 DTS-HD soundtrack wasn’t implemented for this one as the film’s soundtrack was initially mastered for the Dolby Atmos sound technology, therefore the additional channels would certainly be available and would have definitely made this one even more impressive. Yet regardless of the choice to go with the 5.1 lossless multichannel soundtrack, it still sounds pretty spectacular and is sure to leave the fellow audiophiles with a smile on their face, just as it left on mine.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons’ also includes a number of bonus features, namely a number of short behind the scenes featurette’s titled: ‘Stunts & Special Effects’ ‘Cast & Characters’ ‘Director Stephen Chow’ ‘The Laughs’ ‘Production Design’ and ‘Choreography’. Though this may appear to be a lot and they do indeed give some interesting insight into the creation of the film, all of the featurette’s combined clock in at maybe 12 minutes or so. Also included is the theatrical trailer for the film.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.