I hate giving bad reviews but brace yourself because that’s exactly what I’m about to do. At least in part.
Let me start from the beginning. I came across this Chinese movie on Prime, titled Once Upon a Time. I watched the previews and it looked good. Besides, its major attraction was that it claimed to be the movie version of the fantastic c-drama series, Eternal Love (or Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms), featuring Mark Chao and Yang Mi in the star roles of Ye Hua and Bai Qian. I got excited because I absolutely loved the series and if I could own it (or something close to it) I’d be a happy woman.
The movie seemed promising with the beautiful Yang Yang and Liu Yifei playing Ye Hua and Bai Qian, so I shelled out the money and bought it. Unfortunately my glee at being able to revisit the gorgeous production that was Eternal Love soon fizzled away as I watched Once Upon a Time.
The two actors did a great job especially considering what they had to work with–which in one word was a mess. If I had not been acquainted with the story I would have been totally confused. Eternal Love is like a chaotic collage of pieces of the plot in no particular order with lots of weird flashbacks that don’t fit into the story line. But that’s not where the disaster stops.
The settings were so garish they almost hurt your eyes. In fact, at times it was as if I was watching a cartoon. Where the series had sumptuous and beautiful settings in its simplicity of colors and lines, the movie thrived on throwing every color of the rainbow in their brightest, neon-type shades into the screen. Setting, costumes, make-up were just plain awful. Or maybe it was the comparison with the beautiful, elegant charm of the series that made it look so bad.
When Su Su marries Ye Hua in the series, their marriage is modest, set in the woods before a makeshift altar and their wedding garb, in the traditional red, is beautifully simple. When the same characters dress for their wedding rehearsal in the movie, I don’t even have words to describe it (thus the picture. You judge.)
The love story between Crown Prince Ye Hua and Bai Qian (who is also the mortal Su Su) in the series is beautiful, romantic, and heart wrenching at times with many twists and turns. In the movie, their story gets lost amid the assault of colors and chopped-up scenes.
The only saving grace in the movie was their love scenes because they were both stripped of the flashy clothing and make up and wore simple white garments, no make up or fancy hair-dos. It was the only time in the movie I felt any connection with the characters at all.
The other saving grace was Ye Hua’s son, played by the cutest kid ever. He totally ruled the scenes that he was a part of with his chubby cheeks and playful voice. Something in common with the series after all.
So, in other words, skip the movie, watch the series (available on Netflix). Now I’m looking for the book 🙂