The long rumored “Mermaid Kingdom” (official : Empires of the Deep) is said to have recently begun filming. The Huayi (?) co-production will feature Monica Belluci, Liu Ye, Hu Jun and Yu Na and tells the tale of a young man stumbling upon a kingdom under the sea. According to sohu, special effects creation for it begun three years ago.
This isn’t the only large-scale fantasy film to be made in 2010. Shengshi‘s adaptation of online novel “Xing Chen Bian/星辰变/Change of Fate” and an adaptation of Guo Jingming’s novel “Ice Fantasy “ are both major upcoming films that will require tons of special effects. The first is set in a videogame like world that involves fighting against hordes of magical animals, having a best friend bird that can eat up lightning, and going to a heavenlike place in an alternate universe. “Ice Fantasy” stars the prince of the Ice Kingdom. His wife is a mermaid, and members of his entourage include a Guzheng player who creates illusions by playing music.
It’s really exciting to see more Chinese films to venture into genres like sci-fi and fantasy. Part of this has to do with better special effects at home (for example, see Shanghai Tangren’s “Chinese Paladin 3” and Fantasy Zhu Xian commercial), and the other has to do with the increase of online literature that allowed for greater creativity and less restrictions. When I was checking Shanda’s online literature portal QiDian, I was surprised to find a new genre of literature in the list – xianxia, or fantasy heroes. The new genre is a mix of fantasy and wuxia, creating an uniquely Chinese subsection of fantasy literature.
While “Mermaid Kingdom” will probably use an American special effects company, I’m secretly hoping that the new Guo Jingming film will be produced by Shanghai Tangren, which has its own special effects division and is probably one of the best Chinese companies in the area.