Hua Yi Spares No Expense for The Message

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The Message (Feng Sheng) movie continues to get the special treatment from Hua Yi, at this point clearly the most powerful entertainment company in China. Earlier, I mentioned that in a strange and rare move, Hua Yi had casted all of its biggest stars for Sound of Wind…Zhou Xun, Li Bingbing, Huang Xiaoming, and Zhang Hanyu, showing how important it was to them. Even Alec Su has been relegated to a supporting role. Now with pictures revealing the rich detail of the set, it’s shown that Hua Yi is sparing no expense for the production costs either, saying it was “without limits”. Zhou Xun marveled excitedly that it’s the most lavish set she’s ever been on, and both she and Li Bingbing says that this will be the new definitive work of their career.

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Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing lounging around in The Sound of Wind. Even though all the stills so far just show them just lounging around, I still can't help but be intrigued.

Though the settings shown so far are simple…just rooms and offices where clerical affairs take place, and Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing lounge around, the exquisite detail in the design comes through. It is not ostentatious but it is  clearly opulent, and lends itself to the dark ambience of the film. The movie, only partway through filming, has already released two teaser posters, and character posters.

Hua Yi’s ambitions clearly are sky high with this film, and the result will be what happens when a powerful company throws all of their power into one project. While I am not a fan of the genre that this movie falls under, a period espionage film, my interest was peaked right when the cast was announced, and Hua Yi has continued showing moviegoers why they need to pay attention. Hopefully the quality of the film will match the effort being put into it. Either way, this will be one of the biggest films of 2010.

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Despite the darkness of the film and the fact that I don't care for thrillers in general, there's no way I can't be interested in this film.

Stills of the four major players, and Hua Yi’s four biggest assets,  in this film: From Top left going clockwise: Li Bingbing,  Huang Xiaoming, Zhang Hanyu, and Zhou Xun. All except for Huang Xiaoming have won top acting awards.

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Character posters (sorry…I couldn’t find Huang Xiaoming’s)

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The chandelier in the background cost sixty thousand yuan

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14 thoughts on “Hua Yi Spares No Expense for The Message

  1. The sets may be lavishly spent upon, but they don’t look over-adorned, which is great. I like how at first glance, it looks like a perfect, mood-setting set, but once one’s eyes turn to detail, it’s rich and intricate – that’s how this sort of thing should be handled. The cinematography, especially looking at the third picture, is amazing. The low contrast, out-of-focus foreground with the girl in the background, clear and with a color blend that makes her blood bleed and blend into the the watercolors of her clothes, plus her tangled hair and the textures of the blood and ground beneath her – it’s like you get a tactile sensation just by looking at the shot… Plus, I love the feeling of an unsettling kind of languor in most of the pictures, though I hope that languor doesn’t imply that the movie moves slowly.

    Chinese flicks along this line haven’t usually met my tastes – the plot’s often a little excessively convoluted (or rather, executed in such a manner, especially with bad pacing) and sometimes a little hackneyed, but since I usually like cerebral movies and like the cast and cinematography, I’ll give it a look when it comes out.

  2. I think when this movie comes out, everyone will be checking it out, because it is meant to be BIG and very finely-crafted.

    No one paid attention to my first post on this movie, and no one is really paying attention now, but I guarantee you, when this movie comes out, it is going to get so, so much attention.

    Like I said, Hua Yi is the most powerful entertainment company in China, and their strength is movies. And they seem to be doing something that is very rare for one company, which is put all their talent, and money into one movie. They can’t afford for this to go wrong in anyway, and with their all their experience in making hits, I don’t think they’d be stupid enough to let this go wrong.

    Every single piece of furniture was extremely expensive, and chosen with care, and since both Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing are already saying it’s going to be their best performance yet, I think it’s almost safe to have the high expectations for this film that I do.

    It’s not going to be just another Chinese espionage film. It will be THE Chinese espionage film. It will be a breakthrough in Chinese film history. And this is coming from someone who hates this genre, and hates raising false hopes.

  3. Actually, Ive been keeping up with this film since they announced that they would be making it. I was interested in the fact that it was an espionage/thriller film….definitely not something you see often in Chinese-language cinema. Im a fan of thriller/espionage films so im pretty excited. Even if your not a fan of the thriller/espionage genre, you can sitll respect the fact that they are making a big budget Chinese language film that isnt a martial arts film. Honestly, Chinese language cinema is lacking in variety of genres and more movies of different genres can only help. Most big budget films are action/martial arts which is great and all but wouldnt it be nice to see some other genres get the star treatment? Such as this one. The last one I can remember is Peter Chan’s big budget musical Perhaps Love. Now, that was fabulous. Hopeully the Message can broaden and expose Chinese film audiences to a wider range of genres. I do feel that this film is going to be really quite good. Is Huayi investing heavily in any other big films lately?

  4. I’m unfortunately reserving judgment on this one. I like the actresses, but I’m not really taken with the story. Mai Jia’s novella collection An Suan was excellent, as was the TV adaptation. But Feng Sheng seemed to me to be a shameless attempt at capturing in novel form what the TV show brought to his original work – reading it, I kept hearing Liu Yunlong and Wang Kuirong’s voices in my head.

    It’ll be nice to see it on the big screen with actors who have a big-screen presence rather than TV people, but I don’t expect it to be much more than a remake of the third part of An Suan.

  5. @Billy
    I guess when you put it that way, there really haven’t been too many espionage films, but like zhwj alluded to, some of the biggest recent hits in Chinese television have been espionage themed and to me it seemed that there were enough espionage productions already.

    Wuxia pics being the only big-budgeted ones so far was really due to the fact that during those “lost years” of Chinese cinema, when everyone talented was scrambling to make wuxia, they depended on the foreign market a lot. I think China is transitioning to a stage however, where they won’t need to depend on foreign markets at all to make big-budgeted films, and so I think more of those of different genres will arrive in the future.

    Even though I thought Perhaps Love wasn’t much of a musical, it was a great production. And since Zhou Xun starred in that, and still can get so excited over this movie, this one should be pretty decent in that regard.

    I’m sure Hua Yi is investing in other movies, perhaps as collabs with other companies, but not the way they are with this one and I haven’t seen many companies do this before. This seems to be their personal pet project after a great, great year.

    @zhwj
    I never read anything that Mai Jia wrote, but I had those same reservations when I first heard about this. It seemed to be trying to cash in on something that’s had it’s run. But since there’s so much effort being put into this, more than most productions, and Hua Yi has a great record, it’s hard not to look forward to the result. Of course, like Liu Yunlong’s second tv drama, sometimes when you try too hard, the result ironically isn’t too good.

  6. Huayi has taken this project to Cannes for international distribution, with an elaborate press kit (resembling a period “dossier”), and reporters were invited to one of the film’s sets to film and interview cast members. Tons of stories in the China entertainment press in the past few weeks! No official web site yet, at least that I have found…..

  7. I wouldn’t say shutdown…more like temporarily closed.

    That happens with a lot of productions. Zhang Jizhong’s dramas, New Dream of the Red Mansion, etc.

  8. not shut down nor is it temporarily closed

    it’s just tactic to gain publicity.

    they are just re-emphasizing how much money they’ve invested into the project, which is going to be in theaters this year end for sure, no later than december.

    as a side note, for those blog-readers who read Chinese, can check this forum for news articles and bits of discussion related to The Message.

    also, has anybody seen the poster yet? any thought on the line “When humanity is at test, legends are being made”? some of my friends and I find it Chinglish…

    anyway, this is the url of the forum I was talking about

    http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kw=%B7%E7%C9%F9

  9. Now that I think about it, I don’t recall “at test” being used.

    On the other hand, that line sounds better than the other suggestions made. Note how in “When humanity is at test, legends are being made,” both the first phrase and the second phrase has exactly eight syllables. This produces a sense of rhythm that the later two phrases especially lacks.

    Thus, I would still pick that one, as it’s the only one with the catchiness to be a catch phrase.

    I don’t really know the exact financial situation of Huayi, so I can’t really pass judgement on that.

  10. I think the slogan is a bit cheesy, but not really Engrish. It doesn’t really flow that well however.

    I think Hua Yi is fine. I think it’s pretty much something they had to do, to let Huang Xiaoming go act in Summer of Bubbles, Zhou Xun to Confucius, and Li Bingbing to Di Ren Jie. And then, like Ingrid said, they just said some stuff to remind everywhere of all the money going into this.

  11. Pingback: Tracing Shadow Trailer « Cfensi

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